Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. Steve's group GOD was named after the Dadaist movement. Research this movement and its influence. Where did it come from? What did Dadaists believe? Who were some of the major figures of Dada?
2. Marijuana use figures prominently in the novel. Research the various issues surrounding marijuana, in particular the move to legalize its use.
3. Steve's father was an astronaut. Research the Apollo space program, concentrating on the moon landing missions.
4. Steve makes fun of football players throughout the book, but in Texas, highschool football is serious business. Investigate the popularity of high-school football in Texas.
5. Steve is the product of a broken home. Research the effects that divorce has on children, in particular with regard to risk-taking behavior among teens.
6. Steve is a National Merit Scholar. What does this mean? How are National Merit Scholar's determined? Research the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). Where did this test come from? Why is it so important? What does it measure?
7. The setting for most of Rats Saw God is the city of Clear Lake, a suburb of Houston, Texas. Research the history of Houston, focusing on the impact of the space program to the region.
8. Some of the first friends Steve makes in Houston are skaters. Research the whole "skate" movement. What are the aspects of skate culture? When did skating transform itself from kid stuff into an almost alternative culture?
9. Bands such as Pearl Jam and Soul Asylum are mentioned in Rats Saw God, as is the death of Kurt Cobain. Research Cobain and the "grunge" music scene. Focus on why Cobain's death had such an impact on so many young people.
10. Steve talks about the efforts Wakefield High is making to crack down on "stoners." Research the issue of drugs in schools. What are the social, legal, and political issues? Do students have the right to refuse to have their lockers searched? How is the war on drugs being fought in high schools in the United States?