Suburban Mosaic

Digging To America

By Anne Tyler

Adult

Discussion Questions

Digging to America

  1. How does the title of the book, Digging to America, reflect the themes of the story?
  2. How does each main character view being an American? How do their viewpoints agree with and differ from your own?
  3. How do the Donaldsons choose to handle raising adopted children?   How do they acknowledge Jin Ho and Xiu Mei’s cultural heritage?   How do their choices differ from those of the Yazdans?
  4. How does Jin-Ho feel about the arrival parties as she gets older?  How do her feelings reflect her understanding of her cultural identity?
  5. What roles do Susan and Jin-Ho play in the book?  Describe how their relationship changes throughout the story.
  6. Describe what being an Iranian means to Maryam.  How does this differ from what it means to Sami, Ziba, and Ziba’s parents?
  7. How do characters such as Maryam live between cultures?  Describe how this creates feelings of being an outsider.
  8. Maryam, Bitsy, and Ziba all have distinctly different mothering styles.  How are their parenting techniques affected by their culture, their upbringing, and their generation?
  9. Digging to America is told from several different perspectives.  How did that influence your perception of the characters?
  10. What did you learn about Iranian culture?
  11. What did you learn about the issues of immigration and assimilation?