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Reader Resources for The Apple House

  1. As children our attitudes are shaped, sometimes unwittingly, by our families. We are also more open to outside influences during childhood than we are at any other time in our lives. The drive to explore the world around us is healthy, and yet a child’s limited experience often leads him or her to misinterpret events. How do Imogene’s childhood adventures at the Apple House influence her later in life? As a mature adult, why would she avoid Madame Chaput?
  2. Petey is a strong force in the Jackson family: they dearly love him but because of his limited intelligence he is also a source of great worry. Imogene tells us, “He’s a decent, kindly human being and his moral sense is more highly developed than most. It’s just common sense he lacks.” Does the story bear this out?
  3. Swen is the village bad boy. Why is his delinquent behaviour tolerated by the Laviolettes and by many of the villagers as well? What was his motive for moving into the Apple House and hiring Petey?
  4. Imogene and Swen intensely dislike each other but they both love Thomas. Do you think Imogene should have made more of an effort to get along with Swen? What difference might it have made?
  5. Dr. Campeau tells Imogene that language is not important: “Allophone, francophone, anglophone, these categories are all nonsense.” What separates people and what brings them together? Is it possible to blend into another culture without losing one’s own identity? Is it possible to keep a foot in both? Is it desirable to do so? Is it only her inability to speak French that drives Imogene from the village?
  6. The story is told in the first person but shifts to third in a series of childhood flashbacks. What effect does this have on the narrative?
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