Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Literature Study Guide for The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
Literature Study Guide

The Bronze Bow is set in Israel at the time of Christ. The main character, Daniel, is a runaway apprentice who lives in the mountains with a band of zealots determined to drive out the Roman oppressors.
The Book

1. In what year was The Bronze Bow published?
2. What award did it win the following year?
3. Name two other books written by Elizabeth George Speare.

Chapter 1
  1. Notice the very descriptive language in this chapter. Copy a sentence that gives a vivid description of a person, place or thing.
  2. Why is Daniel living in the mountains, and why did he make himself known to Joel and Malthace?
  3. Compare Daniel’s appearance and habits with those of Joel and Malthace. Write in complete sentences!
  4. If you know that “bar” means “son of” and that “Daniel bar Jamin” means “Daniel son of Jamin,” then what was the name of Joel’s father?
  5. Look at the following recipe for honey cakes, which they ate for lunch. What do the abbreviations “c.” and “t.” stand for? How is “t.” different from “T.” and why is this important? What word does the symbol “°” stand for? What does the “x” in “13 x 9” stand for?
Honey Cakes
Ingredients: 1/3 c. shortening (or vegetable oil or butter), ½ t. baking soda, 1 c. honey, ½ t. salt, 2 eggs, ½ t. cinnamon, 2 ½ c. flour, ¼ t. nutmeg, 1 ½ t. baking powder, 1 c. sour milk or buttermilk (or regular milk)

Instructions: Use a mixer to cream shortening, honey and eggs. Mix dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan and pour batter into it. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Chapter 2
  1. What main thing is happening in this chapter, and what is Daniel’s role in it?
  2. What prompted Daniel to lead the slave, and why did he later regret this?
  3. Why does Rosh insist that Daniel remove Samson’s chains the first night? How did Samson respond when the job was done?
  4. Find and copy two similes (comparisons using “like” or “as”) from this chapter, and give the page numbers.

Chapter 3

  1. Who arrived from the village and what did Daniel show him?
  2. What news does this person bring to Daniel?
  3. An idiom is a sentence or phrase in which the meaning differs from the meaning s of the individual words. Example: Rosh and Simon “don’t see eye to eye.” What does this mean?
  4. What is a mezuzah?
  5. Copy the blessing that Daniel recites at dinner (page 39).
  6. Where did Daniel sleep at his grandmother’s house?

Chapter 4

  1. Why did Simon want Daniel to see Jesus? Describe Jesus’ face and voice.
  2. Daniel listened as “the great words of the Shema rolled through the synagogue.” Read aloud from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Make a list of the commands that are found in these verses. Which ones apply to you?
  3. Jesus quoted a passage beginning with these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” and then said that he had fulfilled the prophecy. Find this prophecy in the Old Testament and write down the reference (chapter and verses).
  4. How did Daniel respond to what Jesus said? Why is he disappointed with Jesus later?
  5. What happened on the way home from the synagogue?

Chapter 5

  1. Why is Daniel disillusioned (confused and disappointed)?
  2. Why does Daniel travel to Capernaum?
  3. How do Joel and Malthace react to his visit?
  4. What is Hezron’s opinion of the zealots?
  5. What happened at the end of this chapter?

Chapter 6

  1. How does Daniel’s lack of self-control cause him trouble at the beginning of this chapter?
  2. Why is Malthace so reluctant to help Daniel when he first comes to the house for help?
  3. What do Joel and Malthace do for Daniel?
  4. A good writer does not use the word “said” too much when he or she includes dialogue in the story. On the first page of this chapter, we find that the Roman soldier “ordered” and “barked” – words that give us an idea of his tone of voice and his personality. Find ten other words that are used to substitute for the word “said” in this chapter and write them in a list.

Chapter 7

  1. Why do you suppose that Joel has an easier time communicating his thoughts to others than Daniel does?
  2. Daniel and Malthace each have their own opinions of Rosh. Contrast them. (That means, tell the difference.)
  3. What does Daniel say he is living for, and why?
  4. What is wrong with Daniel’s sister Leah?
  5. How does Joel change in this chapter?

Chapter 8

  1. What happens when Daniel, wounded and exhausted, reaches the mountain?
    On the second page of this chapter, the author writes, “For Daniel, nothing could ever be the same.” Why?
  2. “Cunning as a panther” and “like a brilliant scarlet lily, glowing and proud” are two descriptions of people in this chapter. What do we call this kind of phrase?
  3. “Some had been carried here and lay on the ground on crude litters.” In this sentence, “litter” does not mean “trash.” What does it mean?
  4. Why does Jesus say it isn’t necessary for the people to wash their hands at the meal?
  5. What theme does Jesus preach about?
  6. Simon says, “No, I have not asked Jesus to join us. All I hope and long for now is that he will ask me to join him.” How does this show a change in his attitude?

Chapter 9

  1. Rosh calls the rich man a “skinflint.” What synonym for this word is used on the next page?
  2. What is Daniel’s opinion about robbing the rich man before he does it? How does this change when he looks back at the man afterward?
  3. How does Rosh react to Daniel’s actions and attitudes?
  4. Write 4 adverbs from the last paragraph of this chapter.

Chapter 10

  1. List 5 proper nouns from the first paragraph of this chapter. Then list 5 common nouns.
  2. What happens at the beginning of this chapter and how does Daniel respond?
  3. What Bible story does Daniel tell to his grandmother? Why did he choose this one?
  4. Which Psalm does he quote? How does Leah respond to it?
  5. What sense is featured most often in the last paragraph of this chapter? Circle your answer:

    sight touch hearing smell taste

    List two of the words that show this sense: ___________ ___________

Chapter 11

  1. What does Simon offer to Daniel, and what does Daniel think about it?
  2. How does Daniel transport Leah across town? Why does he have to do it this way?
  3. "He could see her curiosity was piqued.” “Pique” is pronounced the same way as “peek” and “peak” so we say these words are homonyms. Write the correct words for each definition:
    1) to raise or excite
    2) to look or glance quickly or furtively
    3) the pointed top of a mountain
    4. What kinds of work does Leah do in their new home? List at least three things.

Chapter 12

  1. What is Daniel’s attitude about defending Nathan?
  2. List the four “hot” words in these sentences: “A feverish light burned in his dark eyes. He reminded Daniel of a panther, lean and dark and fiery, and his own fire leaped up to meet this boy’s.”
  3. What is the main theme of this chapter?

"Daniel gets in a fight”
“Daniel works at the blacksmith shop”
“Daniel gathers recruits”
“The Roman soldier returns”

4. What symbol do the boys decide on to represent themselves and why?

Chapter 13

  1. What does Joel say about Jesus’ manner of communicating?
  2. What did Thacia accomplish when Daniel was gone with Joel?
  3. What did Daniel realize about his sister Leah, and what did he do about it?

Chapter 14

  1. Why has Daniel decided not to marry? Do you think this a good reason? Why or why not?
  2. Why is Daniel so upset when Leah talks about the Roman soldier?
  3. What does Daniel realize up on the mountain?
  4. What does the last sentence in this chapter mean?

Chapter 15

  1. What was the effect of Jesus on Daniel in this chapter?
  2. Daniel likes to go hear Jesus preach, but he prefers to go in the morning rather than in the evening. Describe some of the differences that he notices between the two different times of day.
  3. On page 163, we read: “At night Jesus too looked weary. His brilliant flashing eyes were dark with pity. Yet he never turned away, never refused to speak to them. While he talked, they all forgot for a while. You could see their faces, turned upward to the light that streamed from the open door. And you could see that his words touched their minds and hearts like some healing ointment, and that the scars on their spirits that came from being beaten and kicked and turned away all day long, lost their smart and for a short time did not matter. Often a man’s body was healed and he leaped up, full of new strength, and then a new hope coursed through them all.” Write at least two sentences about what this paragraph means.
  4. What are some of the gifts which Thacia brought to Leah?

Chapter 16

  1. What has Thacia learned from Jesus?
  2. Daniel and Thacia are forced to carry heavy packs for the Roman soldiers. Find and copy the verse from the Bible where Jesus talked about this law.
  3. What are at least three reasons why Daniel appreciates Thacia so much?

Chapter 17

  1. Why were some of the villagers upset with Rosh, while others of them still respected him?
  2. “This was the third man since morning who had brought the news that had slithered out from the city like a swarm of snakes to very village round about.” Why does the author use this metaphor/simile word picture of slithering, swarming snakes to describe the way the news traveled?
  3. Find at least two other similes or metaphors in this chapter.
  4. By the end of this chapter, why is Daniel so concerned about what is going on?

Chapter 18

  1. What happens at the beginning of this chapter?
  2. How do Leah and Thacia seem to switch roles on the second page of this chapter?
  3. When Daniel goes up the mountain, what does he expect Rosh to do? What is Rosh’s response?
  4. What are some physical descriptions of Rosh in this chapter? What emotional picture does this paint in your mind?
  5. What do these sentences tell you about a change that is occurring in Daniel’s ability to think and use self-control?

• The red mist of anger cleared suddenly from Daniel’s mind.
• He saw a man he had never really looked at before.
• Daniel looked steadily into the narrowed black eyes.
• At the prospect his hands clenched with savage pleasure. But his mind was in control now.
• “If we use our heads, we can make twenty count for a hundred.”
• “On the road.” Daniel’s mind was working clearly now. “We can’t break into the garrison.”
• He felt no pride or glory that he was their leader, as he had once dreamed. Only a cold heaviness.

Chapter 19

  1. What is the setting at the beginning of this chapter?
  2. “A fissure in the rock extended in an oblique line down the face of the rock…” Look up the words fissure and oblique and write the meanings in your own words.
  3. Daniel is somewhat uncertain about whether his group of boys will be able to free Joel from the Romans. What gives him hope that they can?
  4. When the battle looks hopeless, what surprising thing happens?

Chapter 20

  1. What is the emotional atmosphere at the beginning of this chapter?
  2. What is Joktan’s life like now, as compared to before?
  3. What does Daniel counsel Joel to do?
  4. What does Joel tell Daniel about Thace?

Chapter 21

  1. 1. Why did Daniel go to see Jesus?
  2. What lesson did Jesus want Daniel to learn? (Please be as complete in your answer as you can. Take the time to really think about it!)
  3. What question would you take to Jesus if you could spend a few hours alone with him? What do you think he would tell you?

Chapter 22

  1. What are the three settings in this chapter?
  2. What is Daniel so tormented when he talks to Thacia?
  3. What did Leah say that upset Daniel even further?

Chapter 23

  1. What effect have Daniel’s words had on Leah?
  2. The people believe that Jesus is their Messiah. What is their expectation of what he will do in that role? What is the reality?
  3. Why does Simon follow Jesus?
  4. What is Daniel feeling at the end of this chapter?

Chapter 24

  1. The Day of Atonement in the previous chapter was in the fall. Now it is spring. Have someone read the first paragraph of this chapter to you as you copy it down. Check your spelling and punctuation against the book.
  2. With Leah so sick, what does Daniel decide to do?
  3. The key sentence in this chapter is written in italics. Copy it.
  4. Describe each of Daniel’s three interactions with Marcus throughout the chapter.

Book Summary

In your own words, summarize the main messages in this book. Write at least a five sentence paragraph, including an introductory sentence, three supporting detail sentences, and a summary sentence.


  1. Thanks for this. I am about to us this for my daughter next term and this is just what I wanted.



  2. What a great resource! Thank you so much for sharing!!!
    Blessings to you,
    The Homeschool Chick

  3. Thank you for this!

  4. Thank you! I will be using this with my 7th grade son this month

  5. This is wonderful! Do you have a teacher's answer guide to go along with this?

  6. Thanks so there an answer key/teacher's guide? This is WONDERFUL!!!

  7. Just started The Bronze Bow with my three younger kids and am so excited to find this page. Thank you so much for sharing this resource!

  8. Have been using these with my students. Great resource, thank you for sharing.

  9. I would also be interested in an answer key/teachers guide.



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