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The Pirate’s Daughter Reader’s Guide

By Margaret Cezair-Thompson

The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson

READERS GUIDE

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Why does Oni, Ida’s grandmother, always ask Ida if she’s a mongoose or a girl? What is she? What does Oni mean when she says “Sometimes bird hafe learn how fe swim”? How does this saying apply to Ida? To May?

2. What kind of father is Eli Joseph? How does he support Ida? How does he fail her?

3. Why does Ida defy her mother and traditional Jamaica? What does Errol Flynn represent for her?

4. On page 200, Ida wonders if her only choices were “to be a sorry unwed mother or the well-cared-for wife of a man whom she admired but didn’t love.” Do you think she’s right? What were Esme’s choices?

5. What makes May feel like a stranger in her own community and country?

6. How is the racism Ida sees in New York different from that in Jamaica? What accounts for these differences?

7. Why does May resist when Ida tries to tell her about her father, Errol Flynn?

8. How does May’s single meeting with Errol Flynn affect her? How does it affect him? During this meeting, Flynn thinks of all the things he wanted to tell her. Later, when he waits for Ida at the wrong hotel bar, he wishes he could tell Ida several things. What do you think he wants to tell his daughter and her mother?

9. Though Errol Flynn is May’s biological father, many other men are more fatherly towards May. What characters in The Pirate’s Daughter help May come of age?

10. How can May love the land of Jamaica, but not the nation, as she asserts in her letter to Nigel on page 205? How does the landscape of Jamaica energize and empower her? How does the nation affect her?

11. What went wrong with Ian? Why is he with the gunmen when they attack Navy Island? Do you agree with May that their parents’ generation is to blame for the problems of the younger generation? Why or why not?

12. Why does Karl hide Errol’s treasure map from May? And on page 372, why does Karl emphasize that he stole what should have been May’s? What does he think he stole, other than a monetary inheritance?

13. How does Jamaica manifest as more than a setting? How does Cezair-Thompson present Jamaica as a character?

14. How does May’s Treasure Cove tell the story of her family and her country? What are the implications of the untitled manuscript she sends to Nigel?

 
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