Study Guide

Beneath a Marble Sky Manipulation

By John Shors


Boy howdy, is there a lot of scheming and plotting and wheeling and dealing in Beneath a Marble Sky. Jahanara's mom, Arjumand, is the original schemestress, and she teaches Jahanara that the only way to get through life is by being smarter than everyone else. Oh, and by then using what you know to manipulate everyone around you—there's that, too.

So what do we get? Assassination plots, empty threats, false accusations, and matchmaking schemes that make you wonder just where Jahanara's priorities really lie. Hey, all this intrigue definitely keeps things interesting, at least…

Questions About Manipulation

  1. Why do you think Jahanara's mom teachers her that juggling men is like juggling hot coals? What does she mean by that analogy?
  2. Jahanara's solution to most problems is to scheme and plot. Are there any examples in the book of times when her machinations get her into worse trouble than she would have been in if she'd just been straightforward?
  3. Who's better at manipulation: Ladli, or Jahanara? How about Mother or Jahanara?

Chew on This

Manipulating other people is one of the only ways women can get ahead—or even survive—in Hindustan in the 1600s.

Manipulating other people is one of the only ways noblewomen can get ahead in Hindustan in the 1600's. Everyone else was kind of up a creek.