Suggested discussion questions for book clubs reading Butterfly Stitching.

1. What was your first initial response to the book? What could you relate to? Can you make connections to other texts you have read? Think of the plot, setting, conflicts, characters, and themes.

 

2. How did you experience the book and its various perspectives and formats? Did you find the shifts in character perspective, timeline, and format effective? Why do you think the author does this? Consider the following: Part I is written from Sahar’s perspective and Part II from Samira’s perspective, but both parts are written in the third-person close, not the first person. Part III, the author switches to a screenplay format.

 

3. Is the plot engaging—does the story interest you? Were you surprised by the plot's complications?

 

4. Describe the main characters—personality traits, motivations, inner qualities. Are their actions justified? How and why do the characters change? Which features reveal complexity within characters?

 

5. What are the main and minor conflicts? What causes them? Consider both external and internal conflicts. How are these conflicts resolved?

 

6. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? In what way is this theme developed? E.g. human nature, the nature of society, human freedom, moral conflicts, etc.

 

7. Examine the symbols within the story. Most importantly, what does the headscarf and butterfly stitching represent? Are there archetypal characters (characters who represent a type or group who hold similar characteristics)? Are places or settings used symbolically?

 

8. Consider style and figurative language. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? What dialogue do you think is poignant or that encapsulates a character? Is there a particular comment that states the book's thematic concerns?

 

9. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it? If you could ask the author a question, what would it be?

 

10. Has this novel changed you—broadened your perspective? Have you learned something new or been exposed to different ideas about Iran, Iranian people and culture? Have you learned something new about Islam?

© 2014 Water Bird Press