THE FAMILY AT SERPIENTE
First in The Serpent Trilogy
1. In the preface, what did the author mean when he states, “This is a cautionary tale of evil in serpents and humans, exploring the premise that good and evil are subjective concepts?”
2. In the preface, why did the author include personal experiences while growing up in New Mexico?
3. In the preface, why does the author make the point concerning female attitudes toward science and math education? Why do you think young girls might be socially directed away from science and math?
4. On the greyhound bus, why did the author introduce an elderly lady dressed in funerary attire? Who do you think she was?
5. Why were the main characters revealed in Penny’s premonition?
6. Why had Penny done so poorly in school as a small child? If you were Penny’s teacher how would you have improved Penny’s early education?
7. In many American communities football scores are far more important than academic scores. Is this a true statement? Can you provide examples?
8. Why did the author develop the character of Turner as the antagonist who was the hired farm hand? Where did he acquire the attitude he displayed? Have you experienced young men with the same attitude?
9. Why did Aunt June suggest that Penny return the artifact she found?
10. What was it like to live as an ancient person in Aztlan? Do you think that modern people could exist if placed in the same situation?
11. There have been several theories expressed by archeologists about why the Ancestral Puebloans lived in cliff houses. What is the current, most accepted theory expressed by the author?
12. How did Penny arrive at using the scientific method in solving the problem with the serpents?
13. What is a phantasmagorical experience? Have you heard of others who have experienced such events?
14. Contrary to Penny’s earlier attitudes towards boys and marriage, why do you think Penny was so convinced that she must immediately marry Corey while in Tennessee? Why did her mother and Jeb encourage them to wait?
15. Why do you think that the author included Cherokee history in this story? How was Andrew Jackson depicted?
16. It is said that humans always covet what others have. Is this true now in the modern world? Are humans by nature invasive creatures? Are invasions still occurring around the world based upon this premise?
17. Why do you think the author made a point of defining what names of Native American tribes mean as explained in Hidalgo’s conversation with Penny’s grandmother?
18. Was William Owl an actual person or a shaman? Why do you think so?
19. While driving from Albuquerque to Espanola, why did Dr. Douglas request Hidalgo’s point of view in regards to the history of the Pueblo Revolt?
20. It is said that “One cannot judge a book by its cover.” Why did the historical detectives and Dr. Douglas think that they were being pursued by three Cholos? What do you think a Cholo is?
21. Why did Penny, Corey and Hidalgo talk about astronomical events so much while they were in White Rock Canyon?
22. Why did Hidalgo tease Penny about his meeting with a bilaganna?
23. What was the main reason the team did not particularly enjoy their trip down the Animas River before its confluence with the San Juan?
24. Why did the author describe the summer time camp site at Sand Island a circus?
25. What is the relationship between the apparition observed in the sky and the resulting tumult that occurred at Chinle Wash?
26. Why did the serpent appear as a chupacabra in a pictograph?
27. What is sphexishness, how is the concept used by detectives?
28. Were the serpents determined to bedevil the team as they floated down the San Juan River or were they just testing them?
29. Why did June decide to visit Zuni?
30. Why did locals not want to help outsiders such as Hidalgo or Don and Leslie Nelson to have access to the cave on the Sanchez farm?
31. Why was the Estancia banker so uncooperative with Hidalgo?
32. Why did Hidalgo become so involved when he realized fighting tournaments were being conducted in Albuquerque?
33. Why did the men hate going to the Black Tie affair at the University of New Mexico ballroom despite the fact that they were honored guest and receiving awards?
34. Upon June’s return to Zuni, why did she and Corey discover only ruins when they expected to find a living shaman and a small boy there?
35. Why did they decide to research Robert McKnight’s journey into New Mexico?
36. Why did June decide to take Penny and Corey with her on her field work in Chihuahua, Mexico?
37. Why are American drug users pursued and prosecuted so strongly in Mexico?
38. Why did the history detectives decide to run the Canadian River? Did they need to actually run the river in canoes in order to support their research?
39.Why was a correlation drawn between the experiences of Robert McKnight and Corey’s experiences in a Mexican jail? How does this story relate to modern problems on the border between Mexico and the United States?