Questions and Answers: Chapter 2
1. What is a “special”?
2. Why does Isidore use his empathy box?
3. Who is Wilbur Mercer?
4. What does the empathy box depict?
5. How does the story involving Mercer affect users of the empathy box?
1. A “special” is a human being who has sustained mental damage from the radioactive dust covering Earth.
2. Isidore uses his empathy box for companionship. Isidore lives in isolation and the empathy box makes him feel as though he is not alone.
3. Humans on Earth appeal to Wilbur Mercer, as an iconographic figure, for a sense of companionship and commiseration in their struggle for survival on the planet.
4. The empathy box depicts Mercer in his struggle through a barren landscape as he tries to ascend a hill in order to escape from the tomb world.
5. People who use the empathy box feel as though they are not alone in their own struggles because of Mercer's personal struggles. They are able to commiserate with Mercer and, as a result, people who use the box feel as though they are not alone.