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Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier - Book Club Discussion Questions

Girl with a Pearl Earring - Book Club Questions

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Use these book club discussion questions on Girl with a Pearl Earring to lead your discussion on the book, the painting and life in the Netherlands in the 17th century.

Spoiler Warning: These book club discussion questions reveal important details about the story. Finish the book before reading on.

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  1. How did Chevalier bring to life 17th century Delft? What did you learn about everyday life during this time? How is it different than life now? How is it the same?

  2. Describe Griet's relationship with her family. How did it change throughout the story? In what ways was she similar and different from her mother, father, and Frans?

  3. Why did Griet feel so torn between her new life and old life? What did she enjoy about her new life in Vermeer's household? What did she miss about her old life?

  4. Discuss Griet's relationships with different children, Maria Thins, Catharina, and Tanneke. What are the dynamics of the household?

  5. Why was Griet so drawn to Vermeer?

  6. Do you think Vermeer truly cared about Griet, or was he only concerned with the painting? Were his feelings toward her defined by passion, love, lust, paternal instincts, camaraderie? What about her feelings toward him?

  7. Why did Griet hide her hair? Why did she feel so revealed once Vermeer saw her hair, that "it no longer mattered what I did and did not do?" Why do you think she went to Pieter that night?

  8. What was the significance of Griet wearing the pearl? Why did Vermeer force her to wear both earrings even though only one would appear in the painting? How was his piercing her ears symbolic?

  9. Why was Catharina so upset by the painting? Do you think Vermeer betrayed his wife? Did he love her? What was the nature of their relationship?

  10. Do you think Griet made the right decision in marrying Pieter the butcher? Were the other options she considered while standing in the star at the town's center feasible?

  11. What affect did Chevalier produce by dividing the book into years rather than chapters?

  12. Rate Girl with a Pearl Earring on a scale of 1 to 5.
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