Green (Sam Graham-Felson) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for Green … then take off on your own:

1. Talk about the role that both class and race play in Graham-Felson's novel. Is one more significant than the other in determining friendships and in shaping young peoples' paths in life? Consider, for instance, the boys' snow shoveling business. Or when Dave is caught cheating from Marlon during an exam. Does Dave get a pass because he's white?

2. Talk about Lou and Liz Greenfield, Dave's parents. What is their reason for sending Dave to Martin Lutheran King Middle School? Is their idealism heartfelt or a pretense? Why do they refuse to move Dave to Latin? Would you have moved him or kept him in King?
3. What's "mad ghetto"?

4. What are the things that matter to Dave? Is he typical of most middle-schoolers? Despite all of his privilege, why does Dave feel sorry for himself? Do you like Dave?

4. What are the small events that make Dave begin to understand just how privileged he is and to grasp the reality of racial inequality? In your own life, what prompted your awareness of the diffferences between black and white and between privilege and poverty.

5. What draws Dave and Marlon together as friends—what connects them? On more than one occasion, Marlon "ices" Dave, turning away from their friendship. Does he have cause to do so?

6. What pressures does Marlon have to face that make it difficult to rise above his circumstances?

7. Dave insists that the force "isn’t some Jedi bullshit; the force I’m talking about is real, and its energies are everywhere, working on everyone." What is the "force" — is it racism, or race consciousness, or society's idea of racial difference?

8. "I wish I had what he has," Dave says of Marlon at one point. "All I came up with was confusion." What does Dave mean?

9. The author says much of his inspiration for Green came from the TV sit-com, Freaks and Geeks. If you're familiar with the series, what similarities do you see between the show and the novel?

10. At the end, Dave says of his and Marlon's friendship, "But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if we were meant to be shards from the start. Not just me and Mar—everyone. Look around.… The force is everywhere, prying us apart." Was their friendship doomed from the beginning to fall apart; was it's failure inevitable?

11. What's the significance of the cover art (hardcover edition)?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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