Death Where the Bad Rocks Live

Reading Guide: Death Where the Bad Rocks Live

A reference for selected themes featured in Death Where the Bad Rocks Live.

Discussion Questions

1- Compare and contrast the aspects of Judge High Elk’s mother that seem typical of the older generation of traditional Lakota women, and the aspects that seem uncharacteristic. In what ways is she different from contemporary traditional Lakota women?

2- How does Willie’s working partnership with Lumpy’s niece, Janet, affect the way he conducts his investigation? How does that affect his behavior outside of work, especially in his relationship with Doreen?

3- Discuss the changes developing in the relationship between Willie and Doreen, and the relationship between Manny and Clara.

4- How does Willie’s depression alter the relationship between him and Manny?

5- How is Manny’s reluctant acceptance of his Lakota spirituality connected to his relationship with his brother Reuben?

6- How do the painted visions of Moses Ten Bear frame the overall atmosphere of the story?

7- How are the history, location, and terrain of the Badlands used to portray that setting as if it were a character?

8- How does Moses Ten Bears tie in the knowledge the Old Ones possessed about where the bad rocks live and the information people in the present time discover about what is happening there?

9- Discuss the potential benefit and the potential harm of allowing mining in the Badlands.

10- Compare Judge High Elk’s prospects to serve as an advocate for the Lakota people if he became a Supreme Court Justice or if he remained an appellate court jurist?