Discussion Questions for Nightfall

by Bonnie Ferrante

(Only to be read after the novel. Contains many spoilers.)

1.       Reread the prologue. Why do you think Nicole links the cormorant with her dreams of the dark man? What does it symbolize?

2.       Nicole is betrayed in the worst way by her fiancÚ. How does this affect her self-esteem and sense of trust? Have you ever been betrayed by someone you trusted? How did it change you?

3.       Viola in Twelfth Night said "such as we are made of, such we be". Why do you think Morrel chooses this line?

4.       Nicole regrets her decision to return to the pond and meet with the dark man. Why does she change her mind? Why do people make decisions that get them into frightening situations?

5.       Why doesn't the dark man kill the three bandits? What does this show us about his values?

6.       When Nicole says she wants to be rich, Morrel asks Nicole "rich in what?" Are there riches worth more than money?

7.       Even in dire situations, Nicole uses humor to defuse her fears? Is this a good strategy? Have you tried to use humor to overcome a difficult situation? Did it help?

8.       Why do you think Nicole and her father have grown apart? Does grief affect everyone the same way?

9.       Larina is a big personality is a small body. She does not allow her size to determine her behavior. Is this unusual? Do you know of anyone like this? Is this a wise decision? Why or why not?

10.   Why did Nicole change her mind and decide to help Dawn's End? Was it the right decision?

11.   What was Aubin trying to do when he danced for Nicole? Why did he risk entering the outworld? What was behind his arrogance?

12.   The Alaric clan gave up their individual humanity in order to save all Dawn's End humanity. What do you think of that decision?

13.   The villagers tell stories through dance. What is your favorite story told through dance? Why?

14.   Was it right for Morrel to leave his grandfather to die?

15.   Why does the Hoarder return Nicole's hair to Morrel? What change in him does this signify?

16.   Should Morrel have taken the time to rescue Aubin from the outworld? Why or why not? Does Aubin repay this debt?

17.   Without Nicole's guidance, the group would have been ill prepared for the ravages of winter weather? Have you ever been poorly prepared for extreme weather?

18.   Was Larina's death meaningful?

19.   What was the significance of the symbol Nicole and Morrel assembled? How did it reflect them and their situation? If you were going to create a symbol for yourself, what would it contain?

20.   Why was the third piece in the place they least expected?

21.   Should Nicole have stayed in Dawn's End or returned to the outworld?

22.   There is an old adage: the best way to find happiness is to make others happy. How does Nicole use this philosophy when she returns to the outworld? Does it work?