Too Big a Storm
By Marsha Qualey
Great readers keep themselves involved in the story while they’re reading by making predictions about what they think may happen next. They look for clues to help them make these guesses. Often though the author deliberately tries to surprise the reader (which is half the fun of reading, don’t you think?) with extra details that may not turn out to be critical. As you read To Big a Storm answer these questions AS YOU GO and don’t worry whether your answers are right or not. Also, create at least one prediction or question by the end of each chapter with one of these phrases, “I wonder whether…” “I think that Brady will probably…”
“I think the next obstacle may be…”
- What will happen at the party?
- What do you think will happen to Will in Vietnam?
- Will Sally be an important character? What makes you think so?
- Do you think Sally and Brady could become friends? Why?
- Will Brady and Sally return to the bog someday? When?
- Will Paul make amends with Brady? How?
- Will they be contacted by Will? What might he say?
- What could her mother be remembering?
- What will they find out next?
- What will people from their neighborhood say?
- Do you think Will is AWOL or a POW? What clues give you your answer?
- Will Brady see Mark Walker again? In what situation?
- Will Brady ever really learn the source of her mother’s anger at the church?
- What will Sally say to that last sentence?
- Who is right? Why do you think so?
- Why did Sally stay at the mission?
- Will Brady prefer Paul or Mark?
- Will Brady investigate the disappearance of her brother? What will she learn?
- Will Mark and Paul get along? What makes you think that?
- What will Mark tell Brady?
- Whose theories are correct about Will? How will they find out?
- What will happen at the rock concert?
- What will happen between Brady and Mark in his room?
- Will her mother care that Mark slept over?
- What will Sally’s father do? Will he find her?
- What will they learn next about Will?
- Will Brady be attacked? Who will help her?
- Will she ever trust Paul again? Why or why not?
- What will Mark say to her proposal?
- Why did Brady say, “You’ve been warned?”
- Will Sally like living at Purple House? Do you think it has really changed? How?
- What will Sally do to distance herself from their family money?
- What will Sally do since she’s not going to attend college?
- Where is Mark? What will be the next news of Will?
- Will Brady become a doctor?
- Will Sally get caught? What makes you think so or not?
- How will her family survive the news?
- What has Sally gotten involved with? What might happen because of her involvement?
- Does Brady know either victim?
- How could Brady betray Sally? Will she?
- Will they find Sally? Where?
- What will Brady love to study? What makes you think this?
- What does Sky at Sunrise mean?
- Is Sally really saying goodbye forever? Where do you think she’s gone?
- What could that be?
- Will Mark write the reviews? What makes you think so?
- What is Brady looking for there? Will she find it?
- Will Brady’s mom like Jed Webster? What will happen between them?
- How did she know it was Sally?
- Will Sally be caught? When? Where? By Whom?
- What will happen between Brady and Mark next?
- Will Brady go back to work at the center? Why do you think so?
- Will Mark be able to heal his wounds from the war? Why or why not?
- Will Sally turn herself in?
- What does deep underground mean for Sally’s life? Where could that be?
- Will the private investigator find Sally before she disappears?
- Why did Father Tom get transferred? To where? Will they see him again?
- Will she get the job at the museum? Will she go to Europe? Will Brady make things happen for herself?
- Is Sally a nun? Will they find her? Is this a betrayal or not?
- What will happen after the close of the book?
- What would you say are the major events in the story? Why would you pick these over others?
- Compare Brady Callahan to her friend Sally Cooper.
- Compare Paul Cooper to Mark Walker.
- Explain how Sally got involved with the tragic events on campus.
- Describe the revelations about Brady’s brother Will and what the final outcome of his story was.
- Discuss Brady’s friendship with Sally. How does it change throughout the novel? How do they change each other’s lives? If you had to choose one of them to be your friend, who would you choose? Why?
- Discuss the historical setting of the novel. How do the political events push the plot forward? How would the novel be different if set in contemporary times?
- What is Brady like in the beginning of the novel? How does she change by the end? What do you think contributes most to her transformation?
- Paul and Mark seem to compete for Brady’s affections. Why do you think she chose one over the other? Do you think she chose the right person? Why?
- Brady thinks that Will couldn’t have written the articles in the Deserter Times. How can writing reveal so much about a person? What would your writing reveal about you?
- Discuss Brady’s conflict with working at St. Bernard’s. What do they expect from her? Do you agree with her decision to leave? Why? Do you think she’s wise to go back in any capacity? Why?
- What do you think the author means by the title? How is Brady’s life a storm?
- Describe Brady’s relationship with her mother. Why do you think it is so atypical? Would you like to have a similar relationship with your own mother? Why or why not.
- Many of the characters are concerned with peace and justice as it relates to the Vietnam War, poverty, and freedom yet each acted in disparate ways. Whose actions did you most agree with and why?
- Discuss where you think the main characters in the story will be in five years. What careers will they have? Will they remain involved in each other’s lives? Why or why not? How have the events of this summer remained with them?
Across the Curriculum Projects:
Write at least five letters from Brady to Will describing her life and what she would want him to know about what she’s learned. Be sure to include all major events in the story and reflect on both her internal and external conflicts.
Create a timeline of major events from the Vietnam War. Include events from both home and abroad and anything that would have impacted the life of Brady and her family.
Research the combat art created by Jim Pollock during the Vietnam War
and compare it to the irreverent freeform art posters that were commissioned by Bill Graham (Fillmore East and West) for the peace movement back home. Then, inspired by either one, create your own poster for the movie version of Too Big a Storm.