The Umpteen Millionaire Club: Discussion Questions for The Last Rose of Summer


Is Marie justified in kissing another man as her husband has, in a sense, abandoned her and her children to the care of his mother?

Marie and Harry aren’t in communication throughout the book; Harry’s character is developed through old letters and the characters’ memories. What effect does this have? Describe the character of Harry and what he represents.

How are Maude, Marie and Rachel defined by their relationships with men? How do these women change in the absence of men?

Are Rachel’s, Maude’s and Marie’s actions at the end of the book “in character” with their behavior at the beginning of the book? Why or why not?


Compare and contrast how Schulz portrays Southern and Northern whites’ attitudes toward race in the 1920s.

What is the significance of automobile and airplane accidents (i.e.: the auto accident at the restaurant where Marie works; Marie’s son, Henry, getting nearly run over by the green Franklin and CW in his aeroplane)?

What do you think Cissie’s miniature circus signifies?

The Last Rose of Summer and This Side of Jordan

The first book and the last book in this trilogy are stories about boys and men; what effect does it have for the middle book to be about female protagonists in three different stages of their lives?

All three books occur just before the Great Depression hits. How did that affect your reading? How does Schulz use the past to comment on the present?

Schulz calls back to This Side of Jordan with Mr. Laswell’s circus and Cissie’s adventure under the house. What effect does restaging these events with different characters and from a different point of view have?

Why do you think the author has his characters leave their hometown of Farrington, Illinois to discover themselves and experience life, just to return at the end of his stories?