The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

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Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In addition to the typical theme of family relationships, topics for discussion Ideas for Group Discussions

In addition to the typical theme of family relationships, topics for discussion of The Accidental Tourist could include control of one's life, particularly its illusory nature. Macon Leary, for example, assumes he can order his life, but random violence shows that his assumption is an illusion. Discussing the characters' attitudes toward what is new and different, especially Macon's and Muriel's, can further develop the preceding topic. Only by not worrying about control can one learn to live fully.

1. What issues of control does Macon face? What does he conclude about his ability to control his life?

2. What is the turning point for Macon? How is he transformed?

3. Discuss the humor in this novel. What makes it "dark" humor?

4. How is Edward, the dog, an alter ego for Macon?

5. What is the significance of the trip to Paris?

6. How does Macon's recovery at the home of his brothers and sister prepare us for the change he undergoes?

7. Compare the female characters in this novel.