LIE (Bock) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think Caroline Bock chooses to write all her characters in the first person? What effect does this point of view have on how you read, or experience, the novel?

2. What major question is posed to all of the characters? What choices and actions do these "first person" characters face? Discuss in broad terms the major problems of each character (both internal and external conflicts).

3. Spend particular time discussing the character of Sean Mayer, who makes a drastic and dramatic decision toward the end of the novel. (Spoiler Alert: Sean hangs himself after grappling with whether or not to tell truth about the hate crime. Discuss why suicide is never an answer to life’s dilemmas. How does his action influence others, including Skylar Thompson and her decision at the end of the novel?)

4. Two essential characters—Jimmy Seeger and Arturo Cortez—are seen only through the eyes of the other characters. Why do you think the writer chooses not to give them their own first person accounts? Do you feel it is more—or less—powerful to witness the incident through the eyes of Arturo's brother, Carlos, who is a legal immigrant?

5. What is the irony inherent in this hate crime—especially given that one brother is documented and one is undocumented? On what do Jimmey and Sean base their assumptions?

6. Talk about the ways in which the author explores peer pressure. How do we make our own choices in life--in the face of overwhelming pressure to follow what our parents, peers, and community believe? What happens when we come to understand, as Skylar does, that we no longer agree with what others close to us think?

7. Discuss the setting of the novel. Why is the town never named? What are the other key settings? How does the setting help define the characters?

8. By the novel's end—how do the characters change and what choices and actions have been resolved?

10. What overall themes in the novel are apparent?

11. If you were a character in a book, what would you have done? Who do you most relate to? Would you have followed Jimmy? Would you have come forth? Why or why not?
(Questions adapted from the publisher's Teacher's Guide.)

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