Pavilion of Women

By Pearl S. Buck
Genre: Adventure
Buy Now This book is on reading list for April 2013

Discussion Questions

1. What do you make of Madam Wu? Describe her as a character. Over the years, she has cultivated perfection— would you consider her impeccability a strength or a flaw? In what ways does she differ from her daughters-in-law?

2. What prompts her, on her 40th birthday, to insist that her husband take a concubine?

3. What about the rights and feelings of Ch’iumping (Autumn Brightness) who takes Madame Wu’s place in her husband’s bed. All actions have consequences, as does this one. What responsibility does Madame have toward the young woman?

4. Describe Brother Andre and his relationship with Madame Wu. What does he offer her—or represent to her? In what ways are his religious views unorthodox.

5. Do you find Brother Andre convincing as a character…or is he more a mouthpiece for Buck’s ideas?

6. The book’s conflict lies in the tension between personal freedom and larger responsibility to the group. How is that conflict resolved at the end?

7. What does Madame Wu come to learn about herself, her soul and freedom?

8. Does this book deliver? Is it a compelling read? Are the characters engaging, the ideas significant? Are you satisfied with how the novel ended?

(Questions adapted from those posted by LitLovers.)

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