discussion guide: shine by candy gourlay

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A DISCUSSION GUIDE BY THE AUTHOR SHINE BY CANDY GOURLAY

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A D I S C U S S I O N G U I D E B Y T H E A U T H O R

SHINE BY CANDY GOURLAY

Characters

Rosa

Rosa suffers from the Calm.

She lives on an island where people like her must hide away.

She can leave the island but she doesn’t want to …

… because she wants to see her mother’s ghost again.

Rosa is lonely and isolated but she doesn’t want to change her life. Why?

Think

How does Rosa cope with her isolation? Would you be able to cope with being isolated like Rosa if you had the Internet?

Think

Rosa’s desire to see her mother’s ghost is so powerful she is willing to give up her freedom. Why?

Think

Is there something you want so much that you would be willing to give up a lot to get it?

Think

Ansel95

Ansel95 is Rosa’s secret online friend.

He takes beautiful pictures and because of him, Rosa’s hidden life becomes bearable.

But he’s figured out where she lives … and now he wants to meet.

But now he wants to meet up ...

But he’s figured out where she lives … and now he wants to meet.

Rosa does not want to meet her only friend face to face. What is she afraid of?

Think

But he’s figured out where she lives … and now he wants to meet.

Rosa and Ansel95 develop false versions of themselves online. Why? How different are they from their online personas?

Think

But he’s figured out where she lives … and now he wants to meet. Discuss how people portray

themselves online. What about you? Do you pretend to be something you’re not? Why? How has the internet changed the way people see themselves?

Think

Sett ing

Shine is set on Mirasol, an isolated island where it

never stops raining.

When I started writing Shine, there were terrible floods in Manila where I grew up. I was struck by how floods that seemed such an ordinary part of life in the Philippines would be unthinkable in other places.

FLOOD  IN  MANILA,  2008  

I also read the short story All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury – about children who live on Venus where it never stops raining. And what happens when they meet another child who has actually seen the sun.

SCREEN  GRAB  FROM  THE  FILM  ‘ALL  SUMMER  IN  A  DAY’  

If you get a chance to read All Summer in a Day – compare the Venus children to the people of Mirasol. Why did they treat Margot the way they did?

Unending rain is ordinary to the people of Mirasol. How do you think rain affects

their culture, beliefs and way of life?

Think

In a way, Mirasol is just as isolated as Rosa. If Mirasol were human, what

sort of person would he or she be? Why? Did you get the sense that the island was also

a character in the story? Why?

Think

People on Mirasol are superstitious. They believe in ghosts.

A ghost is a trapped soul.

Think

One could say that several of the characters in Shine are trapped souls.

Which characters are trapped, and why?

When people ask me what Shine is about, I reply, ‘It’s a ghost story.’ But the blurb on the cover says: ‘This is not a ghost story. Though there are plenty of ghosts in it.’ Do you know what I mean?

Here is the cover blurb again:

“This is not a ghost story. Though there are plenty of ghosts in it.

And it’s not a horror story. Though some people might be horrified.

It’s not a monster story either. Though there is a monster in it

and that monster happens to be me.”

Think

Who are the ghosts in Shine? Who are the monsters?

Windows and doors feature throughout the novel. Why?

Think

Story

Shine is told in two voices. There are two plotlines that

converge at the end. One of the stories is about twin sisters.

I was exploring many dualities: light and dark, happiness and sorrow, being the same and being different. Have you noticed the contrasts and oppositions in the story?

What do the the two plotlines within Shine share?

Think

How are they different?

Think

How did the two stories come together in the end?

Think

It never stops raining in Mirasol. So why is the book called Shine?

Think

Thank you for reading Shine. I hope this discussion guide got you thinking and made the story even more enjoyable.

If you l i k ed Sh ine , t ry t he se :

These are four hugely different books but they all share Shine’s theme of entrapment. And I loved reading them : left to right, a girl who has an invisible friend, a boy with Asperger's, teenagers trapped in a mountain and a boy escaping World War II Nazis.