The book contains a more complete set of questions for book-club discussion. SPOILER ALERT: Please be aware that the following questions contain spoilers.

1/ Do you think Eliza was justified in leaving John and taking his canoe to do it? Did your opinion about that change over the course of the book?

2/ Do you think Obadiah treated Eliza well or poorly? Did your opinion about that change over the course of the book?

3/ In Chapter Four, Eliza thinks: I know where we’re headed—I think I’ve known ever since I was in Obadiah’s stateroom and told him I’d take his help. I don’t know how to think about it except I do need help and far as I can figure I’ve got only one thing to give in return and that’s as clear to Obadiah as it is to me. Do you understand why she would think that way? Do you agree with her?

4/ What do you think of Eliza’s decision to become a prostitute?

5/ As Eliza embarks on life as a prostitute, she thinks this: Perhaps I can find a way to close some part of myself off, as if it is some other woman doing what I must and I myself, the true part of me, is watching only. I don’t want to be coldhearted and unfeeling—then it is my mother I become—but I must pick and choose my times to feel. I must remember my aim: to have my own money, to have the money to be free. Do you think it is possible for a woman to do that?

6/ What do you think about Eliza’s “burning desire” to pile up money?

7/ Do you think Eliza takes enough, too little, or too much responsibility for her sister Sarah’s behavior?

8/ When Charity sees the portrait of Eliza, she remarks: “And to think, Eliza. You are the one who doesn’t believe in love.” Do you think Charity is correct, that Eliza doesn’t believe in love?

9/ Why do you think Eliza was so generous to the downtrodden?

10/ Are you surprised that thousands of people filled the streets to pay their respects to Eliza after her death, given that she was a prostitute and madam?

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