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Redhead by the Side of the Road Reader’s Guide

By Anne Tyler

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

READERS GUIDE

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Discuss the significance of the title. What does this “delusion” of a redhead represent in Micah’s life?

2. Examine the opening scene of the novel. What do we learn about Micah from this description of his daily routine? How did you interpret this behavior?

3. Micah’s family is described as a “circus.” What is Micah’s role within his family? How does he differ from his siblings? 

4. What do we learn about Micah based on his interactions with his neighbors and his customers? How would you describe his communication style?

5. A running commentary from “Traffic God” is peppered throughout Redhead by the Side of the Road. Discuss the impact of this. What does Traffic God’s commentary reveal about Micah? 

6. What are Micah’s initial impressions of Brink? Why do you think he allows Brink to stay with him? How does his impression of Brink change over time, if at all?

7. On page 38, Micah reflects: The thing about old girlfriends is that each one subtracts something from you. Discuss Micah’s romantic history. Is there any common ground among these relationships? What do you think his overall view is toward love and romance? 

8. Micah’s business is in the tech field. Do you think he enjoys his work? How would you describe his approach to his career?

9. Consider how Micah describes his relationship with Cass. What does he find most attractive about her? Given his initial ambivalence toward their break-up, why do you think he decides to seek her out at the end of the novel?

10. Throughout the novel, we see Micah as a very routine-oriented person. What is the most surprising aspect of his personality? How does the arrival of Brink destabilize his day-to-day?

11. How are gender roles treated within Redhead by the Side of the Road? Would you say that Micah is a traditionalist? Consider this line on page 97: Not even a teenager yet, not even fully aware of sex, he had already longed to have a girl of his very own. How did you interpret this statement?

12. Discuss Micah’s encounter with Rosalie. How does her character impact the novel?

13. Consider Micah’s emotional evolution over the course of the novel. How do the circumstances of the narrative contribute to a reckoning of his life? Would you say that he is happy?

 
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