One Thousand White Women
The Journals of May Dodd
by Jim Fergus
St. Martin's Griffin
One Thousand White Women begins with May Dodd's journey west into the unknown. A government program, in which women are brought west as brides for the Cheyenne, is her vehicle. What follows is the story of May's adventures: her marriage to Little Wolf, chief of the Cheyenne nation, and her conflict of being caught between two worlds, loving two men, living two lives. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.
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1. One Thousand White Women was written by a man, but in a woman's point of view. Did you find this convincing?
2. In 1875, rebellious or unorthodox women were sometimes considered "hysterical" or insane. Is this still true in some circumstances today?
3. Does May Dodd remind you of a modern-day woman?
4. What would be today's equivalent of traveling west to an unknown part of the country with a group of strangers?
5. Did you feel the Native Americans were accurately portrayed in the novel?
6. If the "Brides for Indians" program were actually put into effect in 1875, do you feel it would have been effective?
7. What circumstances would prompt you to undergo a journey like the one May Dodd took?
8. Do you consider One Thousand White Women a tragic story? If so, why? If not, why not?
9. Of the supporting female characters, who did you find the most likeable?
10. Were any of May Dodd's actions unsympathetic? Would you find it difficult to leave your children behind in order to escape a horrendous situation?
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"Jim Fergus so skillfully envelopes us in the heart and mind and skin oh his main character…that we weep when she mourns…and our hearts pound when she is in danger."
Colorado Springs Gazette
"An impressive historical, terse, convincing, and affecting."
"Fergus is gifted in his ability to portray the perceptions and emotions of women. He writes with tremendous insight and sensitivity…This book is artistically rendered with meticulous attention to details that bring to life the daily concerns of a group of hardly souls at a pivotal time in U.S. history."
"A rich, imaginative harvest of historical detail."
San Antonio Express News