Study Guide

The Goose Girl Manipulation

By Shannon Hale


Without manipulation, there wouldn't really be much of a story to tell in The Goose Girl. Think about it: If Selia couldn't coerce the guards into joining her in her plan to take over the world (or kingdom), the novel would not have gotten very far. And if Selia weren't so cunning, well, she wouldn't be much of a villain. And Ani pulls a fast one of her own on the forest workers by pretending to be someone she's not—yup, manipulation abounds in this book.

Questions About Manipulation

  1. How are Selia and Ani alike? In what ways do both gals use manipulation (of animals, nature, or people) to their advantage?
  2. Are we being manipulated in the book? Why or why not? Why are we more willing to go along with Ani's manipulation than Selia's?
  3. It's exciting (and page-turning) to watch Selia take over as princess, but does that make it right? Should we be okay with it?

Chew on This

Selia's scheme—though rooted in some big idea about social class and royalty—is really just mean-spirited and selfish. She might claim she has more of a right to a royal title than Ani, but Selia is really just manipulative to get what she wants.

Through Selia, we get to live out one of man's basic fantasies: we get to watch David beat Goliath. We see her take the system head on and win… for a time at least.

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