Questions for Jumping the Nail

1. Discuss the importance of the setting as it is initially described on page one of the book. For example, why does Bunting do you suppose bring up that "[s]ometimes June mornings in California are chilly . . ."?

2. Discuss the pattern which is established early in the novel regarding the polarity between the surf and glass walls. What do they signify? Make sure that you examine as many complexities as you can here.


3. Analyze the subplot of Dru's mom's young adult experience.

4. Look carefully at the narrative tone and style on page 7. "The Deep"? Who are "they"? Skeletons?

5. List and discuss at least five typical YA responses of Dru toward her mother.

6. Why is watching so important? Gathering?

7. Is "[s]haring danger with a loved one" a way of bonding only for YAs? Explain.

8. Our first glimpse of Elisa's hair is important. Look carefully at the passage on page 23.

9. What is Dru's sense of the danger involved? How about the others?

10. Look at the image patterns of seaweed, glass walls, flowing hair, wild surf, and foggy nights.

11. Comment on the statement, "Nobody forces Elisa to jump that first time."

12. Explore the similarities between Dru's decision regarding college and Mike and jumping the Nail.

13. Look carefully at the images of Elisa as mermaid (106-07, 167 etc).

14. "When Scooter and Elisa had jumped, birds had flown, screeching, off the rocky ledges. But now it was as if some unknown hand had turned off sound and action. The twins fell silent and unseen" (123). Discuss and analyze.

15. The images of wildflowers. Discuss the symbolism.