Here are my discussion questions on Tell the Wolves I’m Home:
The first six questions help to trace what the wolf symbolizes in the book.
1. On page 92, June says that “‘not all wolves are bad’” just “‘Hungry and selfish.’” What do the wolves symbolize to June in this conversation?
2. On page 168, June described the subway: “I thought those tunnels were the kind of places wolves might live. I thought they were like the vessels of the human heart.” What do the wolves symbolize here?
3. June dreams about the wolves on pg. 125 & 250, and can understand what they are saying in her dreams. What do the wolves symbolize in these dreams?
4. Finn’s coat is wolfish. When Toby isn’t wearing it on page 275, he looks like a skinned animal. And when the coat come back wet with Greta on pg. 314, it’s dead. What does the coat as a wolf tell us about Finn?
5. Towards the end, June describes the truth as “dressed in wolf’s clothing” on pg. 327. Why is truth described this way? Shortly afterwards, she talks of the “wolves that lived in the dark forest of my heart” on the same page. Is she using the wolf metaphor in the same way on this page? What do the wolves symbolize here at the end?
6. Why did Finn title the painting “Tell the Wolves I’m Home” and add the wolf outline between the girls? On page 190, the wolf is “hiding in the shadow of the negative space.” Why did he work so hard to hide the outline of the wolf in the painting? Does the symbolism change throughout the book or stay the same?
On page 90, June says: “I didn’t feel like me. It was like I was in a show about someone almost exactly like myself but not quite.” June often struggles with not feeling like herself. Why does she find it so hard? What gets in the way? What can influence who a person is and who they aren’t?
On page 101, June thinks: “Proof that there are worlds and worlds and worlds on top of worlds, if you want them to be there.” What does she mean here? What does it have to do with having just met Toby?
For June, there’s a realization that bad things can lead to good things (one example is on page 233, another pg. 278). Why is this an important lesson for her? Does this knowledge change anything for her?
Both June and Greta like to spy on people. Greta likes to know secrets, and June likes to watch people’s faces. What about being young girls encourages them to spy? What does this do to their personality? How does it affect them and the people around them?
What’s the connection between Bloody Mary and Greta? What does it show us about Greta that she plays her?
How does being the care-giver versus the care-receiver change people? Why does June struggle so much with this?
What’s the difference between greed and love in the book? Can there be love without greed?
Why are the buttons on her shirt in the painting important? Why did Toby add that detail? At the very end, they are “small eclipsed moons, floating over my heart.” What does that mean? What does it say about June?