Eaton is a man whose reputation has been destroyed and whose wife has left him. Yet he still dreams. What does his dream of bringing water to LA county tell you about him?
Gabriel’s family has also fallen on hard times. How does their background help them, and in what way does it hinder them?
Discuss General Otis and his role in society. How do people like Otis get and maintain power?
What would make a young boy slither through pipes as Gabriel does?
What propels Eaton’s determination to get and remain sober? What have been catalysts to positive change in your life?
Draw parallels to the politics faced by Eaton and the politics of today.
Earning money made Gabriel feel like a man. Discuss why earning money is equated by many to manhood and whether this is a positive or negative. How and why did this equation develop?
Discuss the primary reason for Eaton wants his water scheme to succeed.
When Oscar functionally trades Linda for Luz, what does it do to Linda? Why is this so difficult for Luz?
Why would Linda throw the orange? Discuss a time you acted out and why you did so.
What does it tell you about Miguel when he comes to Linda’s rescue?
Discuss what Job Harriman really gives to Linda.
Discuss Fred Eaton’s strengths and his weaknesses. Would you consider him a good man? Why?
Luis did little for his children. He worked them from the time they were small. He emotionally neglected them. And yet they mourn him. How would you explain their feelings for their father?
What is the meaning of an Irish memory? Discuss an instance in which you indulged in one?
Miguel needs to hear from Linda that she is proud of him. Why do we need the approbation of others and what does this need do to us?
When under duress, some people hold their ground while others give up. Eaton held his ground. What kind of person are you – and are you the same all the time?
Describe the caste system in Eaton’s LA. Discuss where caste systems exist in our everyday lives.
In the world of this novel, those we would consider children do adult labor. Huge responsibility is taken on by young people. Do we coddle our children too much? What impact does how we treat them have on kids? Does it give them more time to mature, or does it inhibit maturity?
In 1905, farmers worked together to tame Mother Nature. What did we learn from this? In what ways do we still try to tame her today? And will our efforts ever be successful?
The politicians and engineers dealing with the river have tremendous hubris. In what ways does the hubris of today’s politicians impact us?
When Linda is first injured, she is impotent to do anything about it, and her life is turned upside down. But in working for Harriman, she loses the shame the injury caused her. Discuss where her initial shame came from, and then discuss why she was able to leave it behind – and the lesson to take away from this.
What does it take for frustration to turn to hate? And what does it do to the person to whom this occurs?
Does a free press really exist? Support your opinion.
Discuss political extremes and the damage buying into them can cause?
In the end, what saves Fred Eaton?