Chapter 21: A Decision and a Crisis

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Swedish Again: Chapter-By-Chapter Guide

Questions for Understanding

  1. What thing about modern Sweden did not make sense to Anna’s mother?
  2. Was Mom’s three-month visit a success?
  3. What was going on with Jenny (Anna’s oldest daughter) at this point?
  4. What event happened in Sweden when Anna was visiting Seattle?

Questions for Group Reflection and Discussion

  1. In this chapter, Anna makes a decision. What is it, and why do you think she makes it? How is it related to the idea of “home”?
  2. Anna reflects, “I already had a life!” In her case, what is the life she has already built up, and what would the new life look like?
  3. Anna reacts to the crisis in Sweden by asking the kids to get tested for meningitis. How do you think you would have reacted to this situation?
  4. How do you think Yadine’s death affects the family? What do you think the long term effects might be?
  5. Regarding the very last line of the chapter, what do you think will become of Sinead if Anna moves back to America?

Ideas for Further Consideration

  • This chapter describes both an identity crisis and a sudden death. How do sudden events shape our destiny? Have you ever faced any similar situations?
  • It turns out the cause for Yadine’s death is never fully disclosed because her family declined an autopsy. What are your thoughts on that decision? Do you think you would have decided likewise?
  • Anna reacts to her intense emotions by overeating on cake. What are some common ways to react to crisis? Do you think she could have done something more effective (better) at this point? Why, or why not?

Especially for English Language Learners

Key Words and Expressions:

“a deductible” = an amount of money you pay before insurance covers costs (p. 211)

She kept defaulting to English” = She kept switching to English; she spoke English as her most comfortable language. (p. 212)

“…it triggered her.” = It caused an action or an emotion. Here, it caused her to switch to English. (p. 212)

“venturing out on her own.” = going outside alone (p. 213)

Language Focus:

“Talking to Oneself” in Italics

In novels, it is common for the narrator (the one telling the story) to make side comments to express thoughts or inner conversation. In some publications, such as this one, italics are used to show such thoughts or conversation. Here are examples from this chapter, but it occurs throughout the book:

Well, yeah, Mom. You’re not a resident here. You don’t have the right to free medical care. That’s why we got you travel medical insurance in America for your trip over here. (p.210)

That’s $240. Could be worse, I thought. In America it would be worse! (p.211)

C’mon, Anna, snap out of it! You were born for adventure. Carpe diem and all that stuff! (p. 214)

Note: Italics are also used to mark non-English words, so not every italicized word or phrase is inner dialog.

Answers to Part 1

  1. It’s the idea that she might have to pay for medical care.
  2. No. Anna found it hard to imagine settling in Sweden with her.
  3. She was pregnant with her second child.
  4. Cara and Deirdre’s roommate suddenly died.

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