FOR IN OPEN SPACES1. What role does the landscape play in this story?
2. What is the significance of the title of this novel, as well as the titles of the three sections: Fire, Dust, and Water? How are these sections representative of the different phases in Blake’s life?
3. One of Blake’s recurring questions during this story is, “What was he/she like?” Do you see the answer to this question changing over the course of this story?
4. What do you think motivates Jack to disappear from, and then come back to, the ranch?
5. How do Blake's and Jack’s approaches to life/work differ, and how do these differences play out in this story?
6. This story takes place during a time when women supposedly played a secondary role. How do the women in this story assert their power?
7. What do you think motivates Rita to stay on the ranch after Jack disappears?
8. How does the lack of communication (i.e., telephone, easy access to your neighbors) affect the lives of these people? Why doesn’t their isolation make them more talkative when they are around other people?
9. How is Blake’s relationship with Sophie different from the one with Rita, aside from their sexual involvement?
10. There are several strong themes in this book. What would you say they are, and which of them was most significant to you?