Making Waves - Reading Guide
1. Though Donnette is 20 years old, her thoughts and behavior can be
very childlike. How is this most strongly demonstrated? What could
account for this quality in her?
2. What are some of the sensory clues provided by the author that
this story takes place in the Deep South? The novels setting, in the
tiny town of Zion, Alabama is crucial to the story. Can you imagine
the events and characters taking place or existing anywhere else in
the United States?
3. At no time in the story does the author indicate what is
happening in the world outside Zion County. What is the significance
4. What role does the beauty parlor play in the townís affairs?
5. The author makes the affection between Tim and Taylor appear to
border on homosexuality--or does she? What does Tim and Taylorís
youthful relationship say about the expression of friendship between
men today in this country?
6. One of the central characters of the story, the football hero
Tim, did not have a voice. What was the effect of having him seen
only through the eyes of others?
7. What other novels use the device of having different characters
tell the story through their own voice? Is this a peculiar feature
of Southern writing, and if so, why is it so?
8. Do the transformation of Ellis from a drab mouse to a glamour
puss, and her rejections of religious teachings seem plausible?
Could she have been the backbone of the story? What other characters
seem capable of taking over the story, or perhaps spinning off a new
9. Presumably Timís artistic abilities were suppressed for the same
reason that Tim and Taylorís love for each other was--it wasnít
"manly." What other Southern writers are known for employing themes
of repressed desires and frustration?
10. Did Making Waves alter your impressions of life in the Deep
South in any way? What did you learn?
11. Miss Maudieís funeral was the catalyst that starts the novel and
brings Tim and Taylor back together. What other new beginnings came
about as a result of the funeral?