Study Guide

Life After Life Prejudice

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If people didn't harbor prejudice against others, the world would be lacking a lot of things: slavery, World War II, Pride and Prejudice. To be clear, we think it would be more than a fair trade-off to miss out on a few books at the expense of millions of lives—and we love books.

But it seems people will always have an irrational hatred for one another, even as they look back at how damaging these attitudes are. Perhaps Ursula is a little more open-minded in Life After Life due to her experiences with past lives, but not everyone has that luxury. Sometimes we have to learn to see beneath someone's skin color or religion in this life. There may not be another one to get things right.

Questions About Prejudice

  1. Why are the Todds and others prejudiced against Jews, Germans, African-Americans, and more, even though they often don't know any of these people personally?
  2. Can you draw a line between the prejudice the Todd family holds against Jewish people and Hitler's anti-Semitism? Why or why not?
  3. Is Ursula prejudiced against any particular group?

Chew on This

Sylvie's irrational dislike of Jewish people seems harmless, but it's this kind of widespread attitude that enabled Hitler to rise to power.

Prejudice doesn't necessarily breed prejudice. Pamela tends to fight against prejudice, although she's mainly doing it simply to go against her mother.

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