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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Mosaic: A Chronicle of Five Generations

1. It has been said that there is no history, only biography. Does Mosaic bear this out?

2. One of the themes of Mosaic is survival. What conclusion did you come to about this?

3. Choose one of the survivors, and assess what part chance, instinct, or resourcefulness played in their survival.

4. Family relationships and the 'dance of the generations' are other themes throughout the story. How are the patterns of the past repeated in later generations? How does the relationship between the author and her father mirror her father's relationship with his own father? Does your own life experience reflect this recurring pattern?

5. Do you think Wanda's statement (p. 443-444) that "Life isn't fair. The pleasures that parents give children are brushed away like crumbs, but the pains are absorbed into the psyche like inkblots" is true? Is it true for some of the characters in the book? How so?

6. What role does tradition and heritage play in the lives of the Baldinger children? In the author's life?

7. How does the author prepare us in Part I for what is to follow in Part II?

8. What do you consider to be the climax of the story? How does the author build up to it? br>
9. In Chapter 40, the author and her daughter visit Poland and the Ukraine in order to trace their roots and visit people and places of importance to their family's history. Do you think they found what they were looking for? Why or why not?

10. How did you feel about some of the modern opinions expressed about the treatment of Jews in Poland during WWII? For example, their guide Jacek's comment that, "They say people living around the ghetto walls didn't help. How could they help when the walls were so high? Anyway, helping Jews was dangerous." (p. 518)

11. What motivated Father Soszynski to help save the author's family? The townspeople of Piszczac? Is there a difference between the two? If yes, is this difference important?

Mosaic: A Chronicle of Five Generations
by Diane Armstrong

  • Publication Date: August 27, 2001
  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 0312274556
  • ISBN-13: 9780312274559