When the Legends Die Study Guide
Pg. 3: After the first paragraph: Make a Prediction
Who do you think “they” is when the Ute man says “They will come after me?”
“The magpies(birds) screamed for a moment, then they were silent.” What literary element
is being used here? Why do you think the author uses it?
There is a FLASHBACK in the reading on pg. 6. What line signifies this FLASHBACK?
Insertion of a scene or event that took place in the A novelist may include a flashback to reveal a
past, often appearing as a memory childhood incident in the life of an adult character.
Why were the Utes in trouble? Who is coming after them?
What signifies the end of the FLASHBACK? Why do you think the author included this
flashback into the story? THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT IT.
How do Bessie, her man and her son lose their identity to the “white” man? How do you
feel about this incident? Why do you think the Whites were doing this to the Utes?
Where do Bessie, her son and her husband wish to go back to? Why?
SYMBOLISM: What do you think the “roundness” of the song Bessie remembers
symbolizes about life in her eyes?
“The star that was a hunter with a pack on his back was halfway down the sky in the
northwest when she went out on the step and listened.” What literary element is being used
Pg. 13 PREDICT Where do you think Bessie is going with the axe and her son? Why?
The star was the hunter with a pack on his back was down near the horizon, making the big
circle the stars made every night. It was good to know the roundness, the completeness
again, not the squareness of houses and streets.” What do you think she means by this?
What 2 things does Bessie do to show her respect for nature? (Look for how she speaks with
nature) What does this tell you about her culture and character?
Who came to meet up with Bessie and her son?
“I do not want a house. I want a lodge that is round like the sun and the path of the stars. I
want a lodge that is like the good things that have no end.” What does she mean when she
What do you think the author means when he says “They speak its language?”
Describe the horrible thing that happens in section 6. How do they respond to this tragic
happening in a traditional way?
What does the mother say to him?
“In the darkness, with the stars watching them.” What literary element is this? Why do you
think the author uses it here at this moment in the story? THINK CRITICALLY
What are at least 3 things that the family does that are similar to the “old days?”
What do you think Bessie means when she says, “Soon you will know a name for yourself,”
“Summer passed like a white cloud drifting over the mountain.”
What literary element does this line represent? Why does the author use this line to describe
the passing of the summer? THINK CRITICALLY
Do you think it is a good idea for them to go to Pagosa? Why or why not?
Why is Bessie afraid when she is at the store?
Who does the boy befriend? How does the mom react?
What do you think of Jim Thatcher? Why?
What do you think of Blue Elk? Why?
What details from the story thus far signify that the boy is “coming of age?” (Find at
What tragic thing happens at the end of section 9?
What is being personified in this section?
What do you think the man is doing there and what do you think he wants?
What horrible thing happens in this section?
How did the boy become friends with the cub bear?
What is the conflict at the beginning of this section?
What does the Preacher want for the boy? How do you feel about what the Preacher wants
for the boy-Is it right or wrong? Why?
Explain what the boy meant when he said, “How can there be an end (to the old days) There is
What do you think Blue Elk means when he says? “It is good for a people to change but it is not
good for them to forget.”
How does Bear Brother help Blue Elk remember the culture he seemed to have forgotten?
Support with examples from the reading!
What happens at the end of this section? How do you feel about it-Is it a good decision or
not? Why or why not?