Study Guide

A Year Down Yonder Principles

By Richard Peck

Principles

Despite the fact that she can sometimes bend the rules to suit her own way, Grandma Dowdel in A Year Down Yonder is a woman who sticks to her moral code and principles. She may not be a terribly religious or outspoken woman when it comes to her good deeds, but she's always finding ways to help people in need.

She rescues Old Man Nyquist from his house even though he's an absolute terror to be around, and ungrateful to boot. And she even stays up to make pies for the Halloween party because she knows there will be lots of hungry folks there.

Whether it involves shaming wealthy people into helping support the Abernathys, or pouring glue on hooligans to teach them a lesson, Grandma Dowdel has firm principles, and she sticks to them.

Questions About Principles

  1. Why does Grandma Dowdel help Old Man Nyquist even when he's the meanest to her?
  2. Is Grandma Dowdel doing the wrong thing in stealing pecans and pumpkins? How does she justify taking them without asking? Do you think she's in the right? Why or why not?
  3. Why doesn't Grandma Dowdel let Mary Alice stay with her after the year ends?

Chew on This

Grandma Dowdel clearly believes that when it comes to morality, the ends justify the means. Although Grandma Dowdel's schemes tend to come out okay in the end, her approach to solving problems is ultimately unethical.

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