Study Guide

The River Between Us Gender

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It's fair to say that gender often comes up in books about war. Historically, men's and women's experiences of war have been very different. And, because men have historically been in charge of politics and diplomacy and military action, women have often seen war as a decision of men … or their fault. Whichever way you want to look at it.

The River Between Us is no different. Our main girl, Tilly, definitely feels this way. She thinks war is awful, and men, especially her brother, Noah, are crazy for wanting any part of it. Another element of gender appears here, too: Delphine's role as a highly sexualized woman who's essentially been trained to seduce men. The book deals less with gender as it relates to sexuality than with gender as it relates to war, but it's there. And with Delphine on the page, you can't miss it.

Questions About Gender

  1. Who do you think has it better, Delphine and Calinda or their brother, Andre? Why? Be specific and dig into the text.
  2. Why does Mama value Noah more highly than Tilly?
  3. According to the book, what different roles do men and women play in war? Do you notice any patterns? If so, what do they reveal about gender and war?

Chew on This

Mama values Noah more highly than Tilly because he's a boy.

None of the women in the book think men are capable of taking care of themselves.

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