Study Guide

A Great and Terrible Beauty Power

By Libba Bray

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A Great and Terrible Beauty has a lot of power trippin' going on, and it is not always to do with magic. Think about the society Gemma is a part of: there is patriarchal power, elder power, class/wealth power, power of beauty, and personal power over others by means of character. We are thinking about how the four girls share power and also have power over each other and over the other girls at Spence. And that's all just in the real world.

Questions About Power

  1. How can we tell who has power in this story? 
  2. What kind of power does Gemma have? How about Felicity? Pippa?
  3. Is there a difference in power between gender roles? Who has more power? Why? How does this affect the plot of the story?
  4. How does power work between the classes? How does this affect Ann?

Chew on This

The argument this book makes about power is that it isn't real, but an illusion—like magic.

Patriarchal power and its customs are what Gemma and her friends are really fighting against in this book. The magical elements just make it fun.

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