82 pages 2 hours read

Mary Doria Russell

The Sparrow

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1996

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Introduction

Teacher Introduction

The Sparrow

  • Genre: Fiction; science fiction
  • Originally Published: 1996
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/Adult
  • Structure/Length: 32 chapters; approximately 408 pages; approximately 15 hours, 19 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: In 2059, Father Emilio Sandoz heals from a mission to the planet Rakhat from which he is the only survivor. He tells the harrowing story of his mission in flashback, recounting the deaths of his friends, his own years of torture, and his questioning of his faith.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Violence; rape; farming and slaughtering of sentient beings for food

Mary Doria Russell, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1950 in Illinois; earned PhD in biological anthropology from the University of Michigan; worked as a technical writer before turning to fiction; donated half of her advance for The Sparrow to fund a struggling Catholic school in Ohio; writes mainly historical fiction, although The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God are speculative fiction; converted from Catholicism to Judaism in 1993; often explores matters of religious faith in her writing
  • Other Works: Children of God (1998); A Thread of Grace (2005); Doc (2011); The Women of Copper County (2019)
  • Awards: James Tiptree, Jr. (now Otherwise) Award (1997); Arthur C. Clarke Award (1998); British Science Fiction Association Best Novel Award (1998) 

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

Related Titles

By Mary Doria Russell

SuperSummary Logo
Plot Summary
Mary Doria Russell
Guide cover placeholder
SuperSummary Logo
Plot Summary
Mary Doria Russell
Guide cover placeholder