There are several villains in the novel: Oloisudori, Olarinkoi, Ntara. Who are some of the heroes of the novel? What makes their actions heroic?
There are several heroes in Blossoms. One is Joseph Parmuat, who gives his life to help Taiyo escape from Nasila. Another is Minik, a staunch opponent of FGM who owns a farm for runaway girls like Resian and Taiyo. Another is Nabaru, the old medicine woman who risks her own life to help Resian escape from Olarinkoi. Lastly, there is Resian herself who stands up to her parents, the elders of Nasila, and the traditions of Nasila. All these actions are heroic because they take immense courage and require great risk to personal safety for the sake of others.
How and why are Resian and Taiyo treated differently by their father?
Taiyo is an example of the prodigal daughter/son archetype. She is praised and beloved by her father, unlike her younger sister Resian. Ole Kaelo resents his second daughter for being born a girl because, without a son, he has no male heir or successor.
From a modern Western perspective, there are many negative aspects of Maa culture. Discuss some of its aspects that can be viewed positively from that same perspective.
There are many possible answers to this question. One would be the great emphasis on family. When Resian and Taiyo go to live with Simiren's family, they enjoy themselves and feel less alone and ostracized. Another answer could be the social bonds and solidarity that bind members of the Maa people. When characters like Joseph Parmuat or Minik put themselves at risk to help out Resian and Taiyo, they exhibit the best qualities of Maa culture care and concern for one's clan and people.
How do Taiyo and Resian subvert the cultural expectations placed on women in Maa culture?
It would in some ways be easier if Resian and Taiyo simply conformed to Maa culture. Resian has no immediate interest in becoming a wife, mother, or homemaker. However, in Nasila, these duties are synonymous with womanhood. In other words, they define what it is to be a woman for the Maa. Yet, Resian and Taiyo subvert expectations when they run away from their families to pursue their education at Egerton.
How is justice administered in the town of Nasila? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this system?
Matters of justice are primarily decided by the elders of the Nasila community. One strength of the justice system is that it prevents further escalation and intertribal warfare. One weakness is that it fails to give Resian and Taiyo true justice, insofar as their attackers were neither punished nor truly required to make amends.