Dragonwings Study Questions--Chapters 1-8
Chapter One
  1. What are two reasons Moon Shadow gives why he and his mother canít go to live with Father?
  2. Name one of the "horror stories" that Moon Shadow hears on the ship. Why do you think they do that to him?
  3. "Big talk! Youíre like the blind man who catches sparrows and calls them phoenixes." (p9) To whom is Grandmother referring? What does she mean?
  4. Use 5 adjectives to describe Hand Clap.
  5. What evidence do we have in Chapter One that shows that when Moon Shadow refers to Americans as "demons" he might not be that far off?
  6. What two things did Moon Shadow have to remember when the officials questioned him about his name and his age?
  7. What things does "demon" refer to?
  8. Why is Father in America?


Chapter Two
  1. The Company wanted to make sure that Moon Shadow was properly attired, so _____________ gave him a hat to "keep the sun off that girlish skin" of his, and ____________ (the "mother" of the group and a great cook) gave him a tunic and trousers.
  2. What did the Tang menís queues symbolize? Why is it ironic that they are so vain about them?
  3. _________ gave Moon Shadow a knife, and said that he "may need it soon." Why did he say that?
  4. _______ was "short and fat and built like a rock."
  5. ________ can "dig up a mountain" or "drink up a lake."
  6. _______  had been raised in luxury back home in China, and now resented having to work for a living.
  7. "_____________ had taken up gambling the way others might have taken up drinking or dope: it was something to fill in the long empty hours."
  8. Why might Fatherís name now be Windrider?
Chapters Three and Four
  1. "Whatís here belongs neither to us nor to the demons. Itís only a form of a much greater and purer magic. It can do harm in the hands of the wrong man and lash back on him; but the superior man need not be afraid." (p33)  What is Father talking about? What's an example of doing "harm in the hands of the wrong man?"
  2. Did Fatherís dream "really" happen? Does he think so? How can you tell?
  3. Why does Father think Moon Shadow should go with him on trips out of the Tang peopleís town? How does Moon Shadow feel about it?  Uncle?
  4. Why did the demons kill Grandfather?
  5. What name do many demons use for all Tang men?
  6. What is different about the demon and Tang ways of writing? Calendars?
  7. Draw a picture of a dirigible.
  8. How does Father save Black Dog? What was his trouble?
  9. What are the "Brotherhoods?"
  10. I do think youíve grown an inch since youíve been here." (p70) Whoís talking? Whatís going on? What does he/she mean?
  11. How did Father get Black Dog to come home?
Chapters Five and Six
  1. Why is Chapter 5 called "Windriderís Claws"?
  2. Why does Black Dog tell MS the story about the "ugly wife"?
  3. How does MS feel about being beaten by Black Dog? Could you feel the same way?
  4. "It eats at them; it eats at us."(p83) Who is talking? What is going on? What does he mean?
  5. What choices did Father have after the beating of MS? (4) List the pros and cons of each of his choices.  Did Windrider make the right choice? Use the chart below to help you.

  6. Choices     Pro     Con
    1)
    2)
    3)
    4)
  7. Draw a sketch of a stereopticon. What modern-day toy is it similar to?
  8. Find 4 examples of similes or metaphors in Chapter 6.
  9. Explain the gift that MS and Father give Mrs. Whitlaw.
Chapter Seven
  1. "No dragon pleasant. A dragon dragonee." (p117) What does MS mean?
  2. What does MS teach the Whitlaws? What do they teach him?
  3. Why doesnít MS tell his Father about the demon boys who are harassing him? What is ironic about this?
  4. "Are all Chinamen crazy like you?" (p121) Whoís talking? What is going on? What is the real truth, and why doesnít he just say so?
Chapter Eight
  1. Why does Father destroy the glider? Do you agree with his reasons? How does MS feel about it?
  2. How does Robin help MS with the demon boys? Did he do the right thing? What makes you think so/not?
  3. What "charms" does MS  realize he has that are "as good a set of charms (against the demon boys) as the charm from Hand Clap."
  4. "We see the same things and yet find different truths." (p147) Who? What? Compare this to a quote from a character in another novel we read.