Study Guide

M.C. Higgins, the Great Family

By Virginia Hamilton

Family

In M.C. Higgins, the Great, it's all about family first. But that becomes a sticky motto to live by when family can be defined in more than one way. Should a family be nuclear? Should it include extended relatives? Should it include a larger community? And what about strangers and outsiders? How do they fit in? These questions hover around the novel because the main guy, M.C., only knows one type of family—the super-tight-knit, nuclear kind—since his family lives alone on a mountain. Part of the book, then, is about re-defining family as outsiders show M.C. more of the world.

Questions About Family

  1. If you don't agree with your family's values, should you still stand by them anyway?
  2. Who counts as family to M.C. in this book? Does his idea actually change? Support your argument with the text.
  3. Is "family first" a solid value to have or is it narrow-minded? Does M.C. consistently put family first?
  4. Who ought to be the head of the Higgins family? Does the family need a head?

Chew on This

When it comes down to it, family is all M.C. has.

When it comes down to it, M.C. needs to be true to himself first, and then see if his family fits.

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