- Why do the natives celebrate New Year’s Day in the desert around Tuscon?
- What amazes Taylor about the desert?
- Mattie says “all things that looked dead were just dormant. As soon as the rains came they would sprout leaves and grow.” Whom might this be true of?
- How do Taylor and her friends react to the rains?
- What is the rattler a reminder of?
- What tells Taylor that something is terribly wrong with Turtle?
- Who saves Turtle and how?
- What is the physical damage to Turtle? What may be the psychological damage?
- With what words does Lou Ann try to comfort Taylor?
- Why does Taylor avoid Turtle the evening of the assault?
- Why has Taylor stopped eating?
- Why does Taylor start crying?
- Why is Taylor so depressed?
- the detective
- the social worker
- the medical examiner
Cultural and Historical Allusions
- Christopher Reeve
- Quickdraw McGraw
- Snow White
- Lone Ranger
Medical, Natural, and Geographic Allusions
- Tucson Valley
- Greasewood bushes
- pink and red clouds
- owl hoots
- sheep baas
- spadefoot toad
- song sparrow
- sexual molestation
- “The three of us had no idea where we were headed, or why, but the air had sparks in it. I felt as though I had a blind date with destiny, and someone heard a rumor that destiny looked like Christopher Reeve.” (160)
- “The sloped desert plain that lay between us and the city was like a palm stretched out for a fortuneteller to read, with its mounds and hillocks, its life lines and heart lines of dry stream beds.” (161)
- “As the storm moved closer it broke into hundreds of pieces so the rain fell here and there from the high clouds in long, curving gray plumes.” (162)
- “I’d skipped dinner; I wasn’t eating much these days. When I was young and growing a lot, and Mama couldn’t feed me enough, she used to say I had a hollow leg. Now I felt like I had a hollow everything. Nothing in the world could have filled that space.” (170)