Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When the Rainbow Goddess Wept -Discussions

DISCUSSION OF WHEN THE RAINBOW GODDESS WEPT (by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, University of Michigan Press)

Thursday, February 17
7:30 to 9:00pm
Skokie Public Library Book Discussion Room
Registration is required

Thursday, February 24
12:30 to 1:30pm
District 219 Administrative Office
7700 Gross Point Road, Skokie

Thursday, February 24
1:00 to 2:00pm
Oakton Community College Skokie Campus, Room C111

Wednesday, March 2
12:00noon to 1:00pm
Oakton Community College Des Plaines Campus, Library (Lower Level)

Thursday, March 10
7:15 to 8:00am
Niles West High School IRC

Tuesday, March 15
3:45 to 5:00pm
Niles North High School IRC

Summary of When the Rainbow Goddess Wept:When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard.
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor Michigan: 1999

"We had all experienced a story
that needed to be told, that needed
never to be forgotten." (216)

When the Rainbow Goddess Wept is this story - the story of not only Yvonne
Macaraig and her family during WWII; but also the larger story of the
Filipino people and their wartime bravery - all seen through the young eyes
of Yvonne. Before the war, Yvonne's life was ideal. Her cousin Esperanza
was also her best friend; the family cook, Laydan, told her the most amazing
stories about Filipino warrior women, and she adored her father, an engineering
professor. This ideal life is soon torn asunder when the Japanese
invade the Philippines and Yvonne and her family flee to the relative safety
of the countryside. Yvonne is devastated when her whole family does not
stay together, as her aunt, cousin, and grandfather stay behind in Ubec.
Yvonne and her family retreat further and further into the countryside as
they try desperately to stay at least one step ahead of the Japanese. Yvonne,
in order to deal with the wartime horrors that surround her, clings to Laydan
and those stories she tells from Filipino folklore about the warrior women.
These stories give Yvonne the courage she needs to face the losses that war
brings to her family and to her country. Yvonne, like the Philippines itself,
emerges stronger for her trials in this unique coming of age story.

Discussion Questions:When the Rainbow Goddess Wept
1. What is the effect of the story being told from the perspective of a
child? How would it be different if an adult served as the narrator?
2. Why do the traditional legends and stories mean so much to
3. What is the role of women in Filipino society at this time? How do
the main female characters fulfill and defy societal expectations?
4. What parts do religion, superstitions and faith play in the lives of
the Filipinos in the story?
5. How would you describe the various characters’ attitudes toward
America and Americans? Do these opinions change as the war
6. In what ways were Yvonne’s and her family’s wartime experience
similar to what others in different countries experienced during
WWII? In what ways was the Filipinos’ experience during the war
7. How are Yvonne and her family changed by the war? How is the
8. Does the book leave the reader with a sense of hope, despite all the
hardships that the characters had to endure?
9. Why did the author choose the myth of the Rainbow Goddess for
the title of her book?
10. Why is it important for a culture to preserve its legends and
traditional stories?

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