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    Discussion Questions for Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

    1.  How did the girl’s school help maintain stereotypes of women during that time? Why do you think Prudence longs for “a job that’s meaningful

    2.  What does Mary’s reaction to Mr. Soper and Prudence’s visit tell you about the stereotype of the Irish immigrants in America?

    3.  Why do you think it was so easy to spread diseases in the early 1900s?
    4.  Why do Prudence and her mother want to think of themselves only as American and nothing else? Was this true of most immigrants at this time in history? Explain your answer.
    5.  Prudence is leaving the girls’ school to work full-time with Mr. Soper. Do you think this was a good idea or not? Explain your position.
    6.  What conflict does Prudence struggle with as Mr. Soper tries to find Mary and get her to cooperate?
    7.  What is your opinion of the way the Mary Mallon case was handled by the health department? Do you think they did the right thing in capturing Mary like they did?  Explain your answers by using supporting details. What would you have done differently?

    8.  Read the newspaper account on pages 246–248. Whose side does the newspaper seem to be taking? What facts does it contain? What name have they given Mary?
    9.  Why are other servants and Mary’s employers so uncooperative with Mr. Soper about stopping Mary Mallon from continuing her work?

    10.  Why is Prudence keeping the news of her father to herself? Do you agree with her decision? Explain.
    11.  The judge says: “It’s not a question of innocence or guilt, but a matter of circumstance.” How is this different from most trials? Do you think this was any consolation to Mary or her followers?

More Books From This Author

The wet earth smells of mushroom and loam. I race through the trees. Branches reach for my eyes and tangle my hair. My kirtle rips, but I still run, faster through the woodland, escaping the murderous men who chase behind me with vicious, barking dogs. The men are my enemies and the woodland is my friend. I climb a tree to its tip, to where the branches thin, and I see the dead bird there. Only its mouth is open and it is singing with the voice of my father. I touch the bird, and it flies...

About the Author

Julie Chibbaro
Photograph courtesy of the author

Julie Chibbaro

Julie Chibbaro grew up in New York City wondering how so many people could live together without infecting each other with mortal diseases.  After attending Performing Arts High School for theater, she ran away to Mexico, where she survived an earthquake and a motorcycle crash and learned a little something about death.  Returning to New York, she decided to create her own fictional characters instead of playing one.  Julie Chibbaro is the author of Redemption, which won the 2005 American Book Award.  Julie teaches fiction and creative writing in New York.  You can also visit her at