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April1999
Storming Heaven
by Denise Giardina
Discussion/Study Questions

  • Why do you think the story is told from multiple points of view, with different characters each giving a different perspective on the events?

  • Which seem to be the strongest and most interesting characters in the novel?

  • At an early stage, Rondal leaves home—he is almost rejected by the mother—and goes to live with C.J. Marcum. Does this make him seem an outcast from the start?

  • Carrie is keen on romance and marriage from an early stage of the novel. Examine her courtship with Rondal. Did he abuse her trust? Why do you think she goes back to him after Albion dies?

  • Why does Carrie go with Albion? What does he contribute to the story?

  • What attitude toward community and union organization does the novel take?

  • The novel seems to be pro-union on the whole; but does it see anything wrong with union organization? How about what it does to families? Are families and communities stronger as a result of the battle with the mine owners?

  • Study the speech on page 80, beginning with “Union means brotherhood....” What does union membership mean for its members?

  • What do you think of the novel’s ending, in which Carrie and Randal live together, but he is disabled and then dies?

  • Explain the meaning of the afterword by the son of Rondal and Carrie (pp. 292-3). What effect does it have on your reading of the story?

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