BKMT READING GUIDES
The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson: A Novel
by Nancy Peacock
Hardcover : 0 pages
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For fans of Cold Mountain and The Invention of Wings comes “a tour de force of historical fiction” (Henry Wiencek, author of Master of the Mountain) that follows the epic journey of a slave-turned-Comanche warrior who travels from the brutality of a New Orleans sugar cane plantation to the indomitable frontier of an untamed Texas, searching not only for the woman he loves but so too for his own identity.
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ExcerptWe were marched through the streets and then locked into a yard surrounded by walls twice my height, and stinking of sweat and human waste. On the other side of the walls we could hear conversations, shouts, and the whistles of steamboats along the river. ... view entire excerpt...
Discussion Questions1) While on Sweetmore Plantation, Chloe begs Persy to help her escape, yet he is hesitant. Do you think his reluctance is realistic or cowardly?
2) What do you think the likelihood of their escape being successful would have been?
3) Besides Master Wilson and Holmes with their whips and possibly dogs, what were the binds that held them in slavery?
4) Chloe is always presented through Persy’s eyes, or as he believes other men see her. In this way she is never allowed to represent herself. Do you think Persy’s portrait of Chloe is accurate?
5) At the Double H Ranch Persy witnesses Mo Tilly killing Miss Doreen. It is Miss Doreen’s death that finally sets Sedge free. Do you think this was cold ruthlessness on Mo Tilly’s part, or is it a kindness extended toward Sedge?
6) Throughout the book, Persy moves from victim to a man of violence. Does he remain a sympathetic character to you through this evolution?
7) When Persy is captured by the Comanche, they treat him badly, yet later he is accepted into the tribe. How is it that Persy was able to forgive the Comanche their treatment of him, yet never able to forgive Master Wilson?
8) Persy moves from the culture of slavery to the culture of being in the U.S. Military to the culture of being a freedman to the culture of the Comanche. How do you think his behavior was influenced by each of these cultures? Do you think the behaviors of Master Wilson and Holmes were influenced by the culture in which they lived? What parts of Persy’s character remain constant regardless of the culture he lives in?
9) The tribe Persy lives with is surprised in two different attacks by the U.S. Military. These battles are historically accurate. Did you find it difficult to believe that the Comanche would be surprised in such a way? If so, where do you think this belief came from?
10) If Persy had never found Chloe, do you think he would have escaped Palo Duro Canyon during the final raid? And what do you think became of those that did escape? How were their lives changed?
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