Free Public Library
A Gracious Plenty
March 30, 2015
Badly burned in a household accident when she was a child, Finch Nobles grows
into a courageous and feisty loner who eschews the pity of her hometown and
discovers that she can hear the voices of the people buried in her father's
cemetery. Finally, when she speaks to them, they answer, telling their stories
in a remarkable chorus of regrets, explanations, and insights.
What significance do the names of the characters have in the novel?
What scars does each character in the story have? Are they as damaging as
Is Finch herself guilty of judging people by appearances and superficial
behavior, as Lucy suggests on page 56?
How does the incident with the teenagers in the cemetery mark a change in
Finch's attitudes toward the living?
When Finch and Leonard investigate William Blott's property, does their
image in the mirror reveal a different reality to Finch about herself?
Why is Finch excluded from the activities of the Dead when she brings Lucy
flowers, and why does William's music make her feel further estranged? How
does the evening signal a change in Finch's understanding of her
relationship with the Dead?
Why does Reba Baker declare Finch her next project?
Is it important for Lois to admit that Lucy killed herself or will it
destroy Lois's sanity?
Why is Finch so reluctant to leave the cemetery when warned to go by her
father and the Mediator?
Do Finch’s isolation and her often provocative behavior belie her constant
declarations that she fully accepts her disfigurement?
What lessons does Finch learn from Lucy's stories about her wayward life and
from Lois's secret admiration for it?
How does William Blott's life as a cross-dresser and Reba's scrubbing
graffiti off his grave influence the decisions Finch faces at the end of the
Did the vision of life after death presented in the novel disturb you? Can
you reconcile Reynolds's description with more traditional religious views?
A Gracious Plenty has
been compared to Steinbeck and Faulkner, Spoon River Anthology and Our Town. What
comparisons can you make?