- How would you describe the characteristics of each of the four Quarters? Which elements of our own society did you recognise in them? Did you find some Quarters more attractive than others and if so, which ones and why?
- ‘One could make a case for the fact that we were behaving in character, I suppose. We were sanguine, after all.
We liked to look on the bright side, make the best of things.’ What kind is boy is Thomas? Is he truly sanguine and does he remain so? How would you describe his character at the end of the novel?
- ‘They took the worst part of us and built a system out of it.’ What do you think of John Fernandez’s assessment of the motivation behind the ‘Rearrangement’? To what extent does it echo events in our own world?
- ‘Owen had created a place in which he could try and redress the damage wreaked by the division of the kingdom.’ What damage has been done by the ‘Rearrangement’?
- Who are the White People? What led them to be cast out of the Divided Kingdom? Why are they persecuted? How is Tom affected by the time he spends with them?
- ‘“Some people don’t trust themselves,” Vishram said. “They think they’ll be tempted in some way - or altered.”’
How is Tom affected by his border crossing? What happens to him in the Bathysphere and how does it change him?
- How important are memory and his past to Tom? What does he learn about himself in the Museum of Tears and what effect does it have on him?
- Tom believes that ‘place someone in an environment for long enough and he starts to take on the attitudes of that environment.’ Does this prove to be the case for him? What is Tom’s attitude to the ‘Rearrangement’ before he sets
out on his odyssey?
- What do you make of the novel’s ending? How would you explain Thomas Parry’s state of mind? Why does the author shift into the present tense?
- Although far from being a comic novel there is humour in Divided Kingdom. Were there instances of humour that particularly appealed to you and if so, what were they?
- How does Thomson use imagery to evoke both the past and the dislocated nature of the Divided Kingdom? Are their particular examples of imagery that struck you, and if so what were they and what did you find striking about them?