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A RAINY DAY has been used in junior high, senior high, and college level classes as motivational material for discussion of human values, family relations, self-awareness, and women’s issues. The film is also used in parent education groups.

John A. Matoian, Educational Consultant, prepared a study guide with questions designed to stimulate discussion before and after A RAINY DAY is viewed. It is introduced with the following quotes from reviews:

"This moving film will be riveting viewing for public library audiences and will be a noteworthy short fiction selection for high school and college film students." Booklist  

"A striking view of the importance of family relationships in the formation of a child’s personality. Good motivation material for discussion on human values and family relations." Landers Film Reviews  

"An unstintingly intimate, autobiographical work…Anyone who ever gave much thought to their relationship with their parents should find it intensely rewarding." Hollywood Reporter (Full review in Press Clippings.)

Before Viewing:

  1. How much time do you spend each day truly talking with your parent or parents? (Do not count statements such as, "Pass the salt, please.")
  2. Do your parents know the real you? Write a one-paragraph answer to that question.
  3. What childhood memory is the most vivid to you? Why do you think it is so important?
    Define each of the following terms: success, failure, fame, fortune, career, and expectations.

After Viewing:

  1. In the eulogy, the minister says of Mr. Carter, "He was a good man, an honest man, a simple man…a devoted husband and the proud father of a daughter who has reached national fame as a television star." How do you feel as you hear these words? What information do they give us about Mr. Carter? What is the emphasis? How do they foreshadow events that occur?
  2. When asked, "What is it like to be famous?" Stephanie answers, "You have to smile a lot when you don’t feel like it." What is ironic about that answer? What do you think it is like to be famous? Would you like to be famous?
  3. Mrs. Carter says, "I always loved rainy days better than any other time because I’d have you all to myself." What kind of need does this statement express?
  4. What is important about the title of the film? Cite several ways the title is developed in the film?
  5. One of the possessions Mr. Carter keeps is Stephanie’s tricycle bell. Why do you think he has kept that? What is significant about her action of burying the bell before she leaves for the airport? What childhood possessions of yours still exist? Why are they kept?
  6. Mrs. Carter’s "game" of giving Steshy a playing card for correct answers and then rewarding her when she collects all 52 cards is an interesting method of teaching. How would you respond to this teaching tool? Would you learn more if rewarded by your teacher or parents? What do you think of Mrs. Carter’s method of injecting more difficult questions as a way of inspiring Steshy to learn?
  7. Mrs. Carter uses many adages with Steshy: "A quitter never wins and a winner never quits." "It’s the one who stays steadily at his job who wins." "Never settle for second best." How do you feel about the philosophy expressed in each adage?
  8. Mrs. Carter states, "There is no greater happiness than excelling. That is happiness. Failure is not happiness, and unless you excel, you fail." Do you agree? Is it all or nothing? Think of a time when you did not excel at something, but you were happy doing it nonetheless. Think of a time when you did excel. Which provided you with more happiness? Is there too much or too little emphasis placed on excelling?
  9. When Stephanie asks her mother why she didn’t pursue a career in one of the arts, Mrs. Carter responds, "It was a Depression, in a small town where nobody reached out. And, besides, my daddy didn’t think a girl should do anything but get married and have a baby." How does this quote explain Mrs. Carter’s behavior? Do you think her father’s attitude has any validity? Does that attitude exist today?
  10. Mrs. Carter is a strict disciplinarian. Cite examples of rules she employs which you think are admirable. Cite examples of some of her rules that you feel lack good sense. How does she compare to your parents? How does she compare to your model of an ideal parent?
  11. Mrs. Carter says to Stephanie, "You were a very, very happy child." Was she? What does this statement indicate about Mrs. Carter’s awareness? Are most parents "blind" to their children’s inner feelings?
  12. The differences between Mr. and Mrs. Carter are exposed in a conflict over Steshy’s coloring. Mrs. Carter states, "Now, darling, color in the lines and keep your colors nicely in their box." "Cows are brown, darling, or sometimes black and white." Mr. Carter feels differently when he states, "Everybody gets out of the lines once in awhile. That’s okay. The important thing is to have fun while doing the best you can." "Oh, cows are just about any color you want. Remember the purple cow that jumped over the moon?" What central conflict is exposed in this exchange? Which person do you side with?
  13. In another argument about Steshy, the following exchange occurs:
  14. Mrs. Carter: You come home and undo everything I’ve done. Do you want her to be like you?

    Mr. Carter: I might do a whole lot better if you’d stop criticizing me and comparing me to everybody else.

    Mrs. Carter: All I ask is that you do your best, but you don’t even try. My child is the only thing that is the way she ought to be.

    Mr. Carter: She’s the way you think she should be, but not necessarily the way she ought to be.

    Mrs. Carter: She’s going to be somebody.

    Mr. Carter: If you keep on, she’s going to spend the rest of her life trying to please everybody but herself and thinking she’s always got to make straight A’s.

    Review the discussion. Is Mrs. Carter so wrong? Is Mr. Carter too "soft" and uninspiring? Think about the adult Stephanie. Which parent contributed more to her present state of being?

  15. Toward the end of the film, Mrs. Carter asks her daughter, "I wasn’t wrong to instill ideals in you, was I?" Stephanie does not answer. Answer for her. Then answer the way you would.
  16. Can parents and their children be "friends"?
  17. What kind of relationship is in store for Mrs. Carter and her daughter in the future?
  18. The film deals with expectations and fulfillment, expectations and frustrations, expectations and failure. What are your expectations? For career? For marriage? For life in general? Is it wiser, perhaps, to have fewer expectations and therefore fewer frustrations, or do expectations bring about success?

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