Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Dreams, Hopes, Plans

By Carrie Ryan

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Dreams, Hopes, Plans

Ariel dreamed of legs, Mulan longed for family honor, and Rapunzel yearned for the floating lights. Each of these ladies achieved their dream, but not without some sacrifice—Ariel and Eric almost got spiked to death by a mammoth octopus-queen, Mulan practically went headless for rebellion, and Rapunzel destroyed any kind of relationship she might have had with her (evil) mother. The thing about Disney princesses is that their sacrifices are all worth it in the end. Yet in Mary's situation in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, that's not necessarily the case. She found her ocean, but she paid for it with the loss of her lover, her brother, and her bestie. But isn't that life? Pursuing dreams ain't always easy, and it's not always worth it (oops—we let the cat out of the bag). Neither Shmoop nor Mary lives in a Disney movie, and sometimes we need to think twice about what we're willing to sacrifice for our happily ever afters. Just sayin'.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, Plans

  1. Were Mary's dreams worth fighting for?
  2. Would Mary have fought for her dream if her mom hadn't turned? How about if she hadn't met Gabrielle?
  3. Why was Mary willing to sacrifice so much for a beach?
  4. Do you think Mary will still find happiness now that she knows zombies infest the ocean?

Chew on This

Even though Mary seems to be fighting for the ocean, she's really fighting for an escape from the Unconsecrated.

Mary would never have made it to the ocean if her dead friends and family hadn't been rooting her on.

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