A Winter's Tale: Questions to Discuss

  1. What elements of traditional fairy tale and folklore has Sobat explored in her narrative?
  1. How does Morton Winter gain control over his city and the people of Hinterlund? What is his most successful tactic?

  2. Although this is a fantasy, several of the characters and the conflicts parallel those in our current (and past) century.
    a. Draw comparisons between characters in the novel and those in recent and current history.
    b. Draw comparisons between treatment of individuals/ groups in the fiction with historical realities.

  3. Why does Morton Winter metamorphosize from thin and bony at the novel’s beginning to morbidly obese at the end?

  4. Throughout the novel, the characters resort to various means to elude and deceive the tyrant and his minions.
    a. What sorts of ruses do the rebels devise and use?
    b. Why and when does Ingamald resort to magic?

  5. Ingamald’s great moral quandary occurs when she gazes on the sleeping form of Morton Winter. Why does she not destroy him then and there?

  6. What is on the other side of the ‘device’?

School Appeal

Topics and Themes English:

… Mythology and folklore
… The heroine’s quest
… Coming of age narrative
… Literature of the fantastic (speculative fiction)
… Power and corruption

Topics and Themes Social Studies:

… Oppression and absolute rulers
… Medieval torture
… Medieval feudal systems
… European witch hunts and witchcraft
… Spanish Inquisition
… Genocide (especially of North American Native Peoples)
… Carnival/ Mardi Gras traditions

The book is suitable for grades 7 through 12, and there are applications for the study of either English or Social Studies/ History.