Study Guide

The Graveyard Book Community

By Neil Gaiman

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Have you ever heard the saying "It takes a village to raise a child"?  That just means that it's not only parents who raise kids, but everyone in a community – the aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, teachers… The Graveyard Book changes this saying a bit to "It takes a graveyard." And it does. Even though Mr. and Mrs. Owens will be Bod's parents, the entire graveyard votes on whether to take Bod in. Raising Bod is a community project.  Many of the ghosts teach Bod lessons and give him advice, Silas acts as Bod's guardian and mentor, and Miss Lupescu joins the fun too. But Bod is a living child in a community of ghosts and supernatural beings. He loves the graveyard community he’s being raised in, but he also wants to join the society of living people. Where does Bod fit in? This is a tough challenge, and at the end of the book, Bod leaves the graveyard.

Questions About Community

  1. How would you describe the graveyard community? Are there rules? Leaders? Is there any fighting or arguing?
  2. In what ways does it "take a graveyard" (1.108) to raise Bod? What do the different members of the graveyard community contribute to Bod's upbringing?
  3. How does Bod's upbringing compare to yours?  Do you think you were raised by your community?  If so, aside from your parents, who helped raise you?
  4. Which community does Bod fit into better, the living or the dead?
  5. Why won’t most of the people in the graveyard talk to Liza?
  6. If you met a kid who looked, smelled, and acted like Bod on the street, what would you think of him?
  7. Why does Scarlett like Bod? What separates them in the end?

Chew on This

Even though Bod was raised by a community of dead people, he fits best with the community of the living.

Bod and Scarlett are able to be true friends even though they’re from totally different types of society.

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