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Fire from the Rock

These questions are drawn from Sharon Draper's website, which includes many other discussion questions on Fire from the Rock. You can also view video interviews with Ms. Draper about Fire from the Rock on the CETConnect Website.

  1. Which elements of the story are purely fictional? Which elements are basically historical? How does this method of telling the story affect the reader's response?
  2. As you first meet Sylvia, even though she lives in 1957, how is she like many fifteen-year-old girls today? How is she different?
  3. What strengths do you find in Sylvia's family and home life? What negatives do you observe? Give specific examples.
  4. How do Sylvia's diary entries add to the narrative? What do you learn about her through these entries?
  5. Discuss the relationship between Sylvia and Rachel. What do your learn about each culture from their friendship? What strengths do they give each other? What social problems does their friendship face?
  6. Describe the school that Sylvia attends. How is it different from yours? How is it similar? What advantages does a segregated school have? What disadvantages?
  7. Why do you think Sylvia was chosen to be on the list of students to integrate Central High School? Why wasn't Gary chosen? How do you predict that choice will affect the relationship between the brother and the sister?
  8. From the descriptions in the book, what comments can you make about every day life in 1957? Discuss the price of goods and services, as well as family life.
  9. Why is making the decision to go to Central such a difficult one for Sylvia? Why does her relationship with Reggie make the situation more confusing? Give specific examples.
  10. What are your reactions to the Sylvia's interview with the school board? How would you have handled that situation?
  11. Discuss the scene in which Sylvia and DJ are assaulted by the three boys. What does the reaction of the boy named Jim show about society?
  12. Discuss the attack on the store. Describe how you think Sylvia felt? How would you have reacted in that situation?
  13. Do you think Sylvia made the correct decision concerning Reggie? What would you have done in the same situation?
  14. Do you think Sylvia made the correct decision concerning being one of the students to integrate Central? What would you have done in the same situation?
  15. Explain the title of the novel. Why does the title have more than one possible interpretation? Find several examples of reference to "fire" and "rock" within the story.