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These Where the Crawdads Sing book club questions can help you determine major themes in the book. Use these Where the Crawdads Sing book club questions to discuss the book, or as a guide to help you consider important themes and ideas as you read.
Finding Meaning in Kya’s Story: Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions
Although the circumstances of Kya’s journey are particular and uncommon, the themes resonating from her story are more universal. Think about experiences and feelings you relate to using these Where the Crawdads Sing book club questions.
1. What are your main thematic takeaways from the story of Kya’s life and struggles?
Barkley Cove was not spared from gentrification over the years. Jumpin’s wharf became an upscale marina, and the little shops on Main Street became boutiques. Grits became polenta, and every establishment was desegregated. Tate worked at the lab for the rest of his career, and Kya published seven more books, all of which won awards. She was given an honorary doctoral degree from UNC but never accepted invitations to speak.
Kya and Tate were inseparable. They’d tried to conceive a child, but it never happened. As her relationship grew on solid ground, so did Kya’s understanding of connection. She saw that human love was more than just mating rituals, but she didn’t regret growing up in a world dictated by the laws of nature. She was connected to the land in a way no one else could understand. The land had raised her, and it was as much a fabric of her life as anything humans could provide.
These Where the Crawdads Sing book club questions about Kya’s life can help you put her experience in perspective and consider how it may or may not be similar to your own experiences.
2. In what ways did you Kya’s journey remind you of your own life?
This another one of the Where the Crawdads Sing book club questions that discusses Kya’s life. Think about the people in her life who affected her.
With Jumpin’ and Mabel’s help, Kya was able to survive her childhood alone in the marsh. She grew into a natural navigator and expert of marsh life, collecting various specimens, such as feathers, bones, nests, and shells. She used an old guidebook to identify the species of each and placed each item next to paintings she made. She didn’t know their names, however, because she still couldn’t read.
When Kya was fourteen, she found a feather stuck in a stump. She suspected it had come from a boy she’d seen running by a few moments before. The feather was rare, and the next day there was another. A game proceeded, with each leaving feathers for the other, until one day, Kya finally met the boy. His name was Tate, and he’d been an old friend of Jodie’s.
Tate and Kya grew close quickly. He taught her to read, count, and connect with someone without fear. He was the first person since her family left that Kya let into her heart, and they fell in love. Tate visited her marsh whenever he could, and their bond grew deeper. A year later, Kya was crushed when Tate left for college. He promised to come back for her, but he never did. Once again, she’d been abandoned by someone she loved, and loneliness swallowed her up.
Note: The blue heron and the feather are symbols. Think about this symbol and others to develop more book club questions for Where the Crawdads Sing.
3. Can you relate to Kya’s views on love? In what ways?
There are also book club questions for Where the Crawdads Sing about relationships and love. Think about Kya’s limited experiences with romance and love.
Kya wandered down to the beach the night before her picnic with Chase. Under the stars and rhythmic chirping and croaking of crickets and frogs, she waltzed across the sand, dreaming of all the ways she wanted Chase to touch her. The way he’d stared at her at Jumpin’s had increased her desire. It was a confident look of wanting.
When she met Chase the next morning, her desire shriveled and gave way to anxiety. Chase pulled his boat next to hers along the shore down from the marsh and reached out to help her aboard. If she took his hand, it would be the first skin-to-skin contact she’d had in years. After a moment of hesitation, she finally took it and climbed into his boat.
Chase took her to a beach farther down the shore, far from town and her shack. They walked along the sand, not talking and not holding hands, but every few feet, their fingers brushed between them. Kya worried that Chase was only hanging out with her out of curiosity, rather than real interest, but she reasoned it didn’t matter. All she wanted from Chase was a reprieve from loneliness. Her heart would never be involved enough to get hurt.
4. How did the book’s ending affect your personal ethics? What would you have done differently in Kya’s shoes?
Tate leaned down and moved the wood aside until he saw a cutout in the floorboards. He lifted the boards and revealed a hidden compartment encompassing a dusty cardboard box. Inside the box were several manilla envelopes, all labeled “A.H.” and a smaller box. The poems of Amanda Hamilton lay inside each envelope written in Kya’s hand. Tate couldn’t believe it. His wife was the poet and had secretly reached out to the world, sharing her most private feelings, and no one had ever known.
There was another envelope that housed only one poem called “The Firefly.” The words described something unmistakable. Kya’s poem was about watching a lover fall into another world, taking his life and their love with them. Tate gasped. He made sure no one was outside before he reached for the smaller box. He didn’t need to open it to know it held Chase’s shell necklace.
Tate sat at the table that night going over what must have happened the morning of October 30. He saw her disguised on the buses, riding the riptide and avoiding the moon based on her keen knowledge, luring Chase toward her, her hands on his chest as she moved him closer to the open grate. She knew how to cover her tracks and vanish without a trace.
Tate made a fire and burned the poems and piece of rawhide the shell had hung from. He replaced the boards and wood. He took the shell to the beach and placed it on the sand, where it became just another shell among so many others. The tide came in and washed the shells back to sea, taking Kya’s secret with them. This is one of the more intriguing books club questions for Where the Crawdads Sing. You may find that your answers are much different than others in your book club!
These book club questions for Where the Crawdads Sing are just a few ideas that you can use in your discussions. Feel free to use them as a jumping off point to write your own Where the Crawdads Sing book club questions.
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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Delia Owens's "Where the Crawdads Sing" at Shortform .
Here's what you'll find in our full Where the Crawdads Sing summary :
- How Kya Clark's abandonment as a child affected her through her entire life
- How Kya discovered love despite steep obstacles
- The murder trial that embroiled Kya's town, and the ultimate truth behind the murder