Chapter 20: Hometown Feelings

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Swedish Again: Chapter-By-Chapter Guide

Questions for Understanding

  1. How did Anna feel as she stood on the cobblestones eating ice cream?
  2. Which two things did Farmor promise to buy for Anna after she won the lottery?
  3. What did Anna conclude about her father’s attitude to fatherhood?
  4. Which event happened just after Anna returned to Stockholm?

Questions for Group Reflection and Discussion

  1. What part of Anna’s visit back to her hometown struck you the most? Why?
  2. Have you ever returned to a place (such as a hometown) after many years away? If so, what kinds of thoughts and feelings did the return provoke in you?
  3. How significant do you think Fionn’s 18th birthday is to this story? Will things change now that he’s officially an adult?
  4. At the end of this chapter, Anna assures Sinead that she will not move the family to Gothenburg. What do you think she will decide to do instead? Why?

Ideas for Further Consideration

  • When you think of the word “hometown,” what images come to mind? What kinds of feelings do these images provoke?
  • Why do you think the author chose to write about her memories of her father and grandmother at this time? How is that important to the story as it unfolds?
  • Towards the end of the chapter, Anna remarks, “Life wasn’t about what I wanted, was it?” What do you think about this question? Is life what we make it, or do we mostly react to circumstances?

Especially for English Language Learners

Key Words and Expressions:

“…we had the apartment to ourselves.” = We lived alone in the apartment. (p. 201)

“…I had stuck to non-dairy rice milk cones” = I had not tried any other type of ice cream. (p.202)

“Farmor…and I had a standing joke…” = a joke which continues over time (p. 203)

“…I had butter fingers…” = I dropped something; my fingers seemed to be slippery, as if covered with butter. (p. 203)

“A speech from me would have mortified him…” = It would have embarrassed him a lot. (p. 206)

Language Focus:

Transitional Words and Phrases

There are many ways to move from one idea to another in reading and writing. In this chapter, there are many examples. All of these appear at the start of a sentence. Most of them appear at the start of a paragraph. Paying special attention to these transitions may help you follow the story better.

After some back and forth, Mom and I decided…”

With the possible exception of nearby Norway, I was convinced…”

In Stockholm, the best ice cream…”

That’s the moment (when) it occurred to me that…”

Instead, I decided…”

But I already knew that. I knew…”

After spending two years in Sweden, I…”

Answers to Part 1

  1. She felt free. She realized she was no longer a confused, restrained child.
  2. A car (a convertible) and then an airplane.
  3. He was a father who was not particularly attached to the idea of being one.
  4. Fionn’s 18th birthday party.

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