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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Is Paul Moreaux just a fictional character with some characteristics similar to those of Paul Roget, or is he an autobiographical persona for Paul Roget? Consider the report written by Susan's grandfather Jules, the photographic evidence taken by Virginia Blakely, Meredith's college roommate, and the information Susan mentions in the last chapter that her grandfather omitted from his report.

2. Cormier has said he wanted to write a realistic story with an unrealistic (or fantasy) element, a risky goal. Do readers accept it? Is it believable? Could the fade really happen?

3. Cormier's novel contains elements that would-be censors and concerned parents might object to, such as sexual passages, use of vulgar language, and extreme violence. Can the use of these elements be justified? Are they there to sell more copies, or are they an integral part of the book? Is there an underlying morality present; that is, does the author seem to condone the voyeurism, the murders, and the other violence?

4. After reading some biographical background on the author, describe how he utilizes actual people, events, and objects from his background and incorporates them in his novel.

5. Discuss the fade as symbolic of power or evil in this novel.

6. Discuss religion and morality in the novel.

7. Discuss the theme of revenge. Consider both Paul Moreaux and Ozzie Slater.