The first sentence establishes the need for water

“Wine on the Desert” by Max Brand
Funny Video:
Podcast – Wine when dehydrated?
1. The first sentence establishes the need for water. It's critically important when reading the story to
imagine how it feels to be truly thirsty. Is that initial simile effective? How would you describe extreme thirst?
2. The desert is inhospitable to human life. How has Tony made it possible to live and even thrive in that
unfriendly environment?
How does the narrator convey the sense that the desert is alive?
3. How is Tony’s home contrasted with the desert? Find specific references. Why does Durante hate the
sweet smell of the flower blossoms? How is his reaction to the blossoms a moment of forshadowing?
4. Initially, what is the nature of the relationship between Durante and Tony? Find specific evidence.
6. Why is there so much emphasis put on the way in which Tony kills rabbits? Why does
Durante care?
7. In the conversation between Durante and Tony, what sorts of questions does Durante pose? What is he
intrigued by? What does this imply about his character?
8. Why do you think Tony goes into so much detail about how people die in the desert?
9. Why does Durante shudder when he sees the bullet hole in the rabbit’s head?
10. Describe the shift in Durante’s attitude towards Tony, after breakfast.
11. Should Tony have fought back, as Durante suggests? Why or why not? Is Durante right about him?
12. Which images, after Durante leaves Tony’s, emphasize the aridity and danger of the desert?
13. Why does Durante not turn around when he realizes he has wine, not water?
14. “No stars, no wind; the air as still as the water of a stale pool, and he in the dregs
at the bottom.” What description from the beginning of the story does this echo? What
purpose might this subtle type of repetition serve?
15. Why does the author leave out the description of Durante’s death?
16. Why do images of blindness repeat?
17. Why does the story end with the image of vultures?