Study Guide

The Orange Houses Suffering

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You might think the fact that Mik is hearing impaired is no big deal. After all, she doesn't like people treating her differently because of it, and she makes a point of <em>not </em>improving her hearing with swanky new aids when she gets the chance.

But we think her suffering <em>because </em>of her lack of hearing is really important to her character and <em>The Orange Houses</em>. Why? Well, for starters, she makes a big deal about it herself. The fact that she wants people to know she chooses not to hear sometimes by switching her hearing aids off tells us a lot about her. Plus, we can't help but notice that she does get bullied and mocked at school simply for being different. Mik may act all cool, in other words, but we think she's hiding from a world of hurt deep down.

And that's just Mik. Fatima and Jimmi suffer in their own ways, too, each shouldering burdens as the story unfolds.

Questions About Suffering

  1. Why do you think Mik doesn't want newer, improved hearing aids? What advantages does she see to her old ones?
  2. Does Mik suffer because she is hearing impaired? In what ways does she enjoy her limited ability?
  3. How does Mik try to limit her suffering through her hearing aids? Why does she like them on mute so much?
  4. Does Mik's attitude toward her hearing aids change over the novel? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Mik suffers more when she can hear and her hearing aids are on.

Mik suffers more when her hearing aids are off and she can't hear. 

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