Discussion Questions For Gift From The Sea

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Questions by LitLovers

1. Perhaps the best place to start is to discuss some of your favorite passages in Gift (you did underline, star or highlight as you read, didn’t you?) and what they mean…or mean to you. Here’s one for starters:

I want…to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible…. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.

2. Is this strictly a woman’s book? Why…or why not? What wisdom, if any, might a man find in its pages? If you are a woman, would you urge a man to read it? If you are a man, were you hesitant to read the book? What did you experience as you read it?

3. Is this a book for our times, 35-40 years into the woman’s movement? Does it speak to modern life—less or more so than when it was first written?

4. What does Anne mean when she speaks of the dangers of a “life of multiplicity”?

5. Discuss these two (separate) passages:

I find I don’t bustle about with unnecessary sweeping and cleaning here. I have shed my Puritan conscience about absolute tidiness and cleanliness. Is it possible that, too, is a material burden?

Neither is the answer in dissipating our time and energy in more purposeless occupations, more accumulations which supposedly simplify life but actually burden it, more possessions which we have not time to use or appreciate, more diversions to fill up the void.

The subject in both passages is simplicity. How is simplicity a pre-requisite for a spiritual life? Even more important, how can any of us achieve simplicity in our own crowded, 21st-century lives? Can you?

6. How is life like the sea shell in Anne’s hands—what lessons does she draw from it? Or, put another way, what is the symbolic significance of the book’s title?

7. Anne says that marriage is a “web” as much as it is a “bond.” What does she mean? How does a marriage change through time?

8. Discuss this quotation she uses by Saint Exupery—”Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.” What does it mean?

9. Do you agree with this statement from the book: “woman’s normal occupations are counter to creative life, or contempla-tive life, or saintly life”? If you’ve read Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, in what ways is that book similar to Lindbergh’s?

10. Does Anne’s message have personal meaning for you? What have you taken away from her book that might apply to your own life?

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