Grace's Pictures

Cindy Thomson
1. What was Grace trying to capture in her drawings and later in her
photographs?
2. What part did the streetcar accident play in Owen’s decision to become a
police officer, and how did that help illustrate to him the difference in the classes?
3. Augustus Sherman, the Ellis Island photographer, said that he took
photographs of immigrants at the immigration station because once they arrived
at Battery Park, they shed their cultural garb. What is this symbolic of, and why do
you think Grace did not do that with her tattered red petticoat?
4. What did Grace see in her Ellis Island photograph that she did not like?
5. While the Benevolents are a fictional group, this time in history gave birth to
many real- life charities aimed at helping new immigrants. Why do you think
groups like this often formed independently of larger institutions? What were they
trying to accomplish that might have been unique?
6. The Hudson Dusters, a real historical gang, were viewed by the police at the
time as relatively harmless. What peril did that gang represent that the police and
the citizens of the time likely missed? And if they had taken the gang more
seriously, what might have happened differently?
7. Why you think the Committee of Fifteen was formed? Did it have a chance to
be effective? Why or why not?
8. How did the Brownie box camera change photography?
9. How did the voices in Grace’s head change once she started working for the
Parker household?
10. How did Mr. Hawkins’s wise sayings influence Grace and eventually her
perceptions of Owen?
11. What do you think was the purpose of the maid dances? Why do you think
immigrants wanted to become Americans (and shed their old garments as soon
as they arrived) and still hold on to their culture by holding dances like the
Thursday night maids’ dance?
12. In the end, how was Grace able to find what she’d been looking for in the
faces of the people she admired?
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