margaret coel
about margaret


readers guides

short stories

wind river




Winter's Child

FaceBook Email

The Drowning Man: Readers Guide

The Drowning Man
  1. Discuss the significance of The Drowning Man. What is the meaning of the title within the framework of the plot?

  2. Who is most affected by the spirit of the Drowning Man? Does the name of the spirit, Drowning man, act as a metaphor for anyone in the story?

  3. How does the significance of the ancient petroglyphs play out throughout the story? Who is affected by the meaning of the petroglyphs and in what way(s)?

  4. How does the location of the petroglyphs affect the lives of the people on the reservation in this story? How does Vicky use this to win both of her cases?

  5. What are the roles of the elders in the solving of the murders and the stolen petroglyphs? Which elders were important to the story? Why are the elders so important to the reservation? How are they involved in everyday decisions?

  6. In what ways was Father Lloyd Elsner significant to the story? What do you think will happen to the St. Francis Mission after Father Elsner's death?

  7. Discuss the relationship between Father John O'Malley and Vicky Holden. What brings them together? What is it that is driving them to solve the crime?

  8. Why did Vicky Holden decide to reopen the Travis Birdsong case? Why did Vicky stay on the case even though there were attempts on her life? How did Vicky Holden find the truth about Raymond Trublood's murder?

  9. What is Father John's involvement in the petroglyph case? Discuss his relationship with the FBI. Why does he decide to go and get the petroglyph on his own?

  10. What can be learned about the significance of the history of the spiritual petroglyphs?