Caution: spoilers ahead! Be warned, some of these discussion questions contain information that may spoil Shallow Pond if you haven’t yet read the book.
Want more ideas for teaching or talking about Shallow Pond? Check out some Extension Activities for Shallow Pond.
1. Psychologists have long debated the issue of nature versus nurture in shaping our identities. What do you feel plays a bigger role in shaping who we are, our genes or our experiences? In what ways are the Buntings the product of their genes, and in what way are they the product of their experiences?
2. Can the actions of Barbara’s “father” be justified? Why or why not? What should he have done differently?
3. What are your views on genetic experimentation and modification? Are there times when genetic modification is justified? Is the manipulation of DNA like playing God? Why or why not?
4. What are your views on the relationship between Barbara and Zach? Should they be together? Why or why not? What about the relationship between Cameron and Gracie?
5. How does Barbara’s view of what is most important change over the course of the novel? What is her goal at the beginning of the novel? What does she want at the end of the novel?