Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 307
1. "Kill Your Parents and Become the Victim. What a wonderful country," thinks Eric Poole. What does he mean? Does this actually happen in the United States? What are some examples that support or contradict Eric Poole's view? How do these examples affect your perception of whether or not the characterization of Eric Poole is realistic?
2. What is a psychopath? What qualities does Eric Poole possess that would make him a psychopath, as Lieutenant Proctor asserts?
3. Serial killers are dreadful people who have committed appalling crimes. If you feel capable of dealing with the emotions raised by such a frightful topic, research a serial killer and compare him or her to Eric Poole. How are they similar? Has Cormier done his homework and created an accurate portrayal of a serial murderer?
4. "Yet what I think I want most of all is someone who would be tender with me." How important is tenderness to relationships? What do psychologists say about its importance for young people?
5. What are sensible precautions people should take to protect themselves from predators like Eric Poole? What does law enforcement recommend? What do psychologists recommend? How much caution would be too much?
6. What social services are there for young adults like Lori? Is it inevitable that some young adults like her will not get the help they need? How could she be persuaded to get help without infringing on her personal liberty (the old practice of putting runaways in juvenile jails seems ineffective and perhaps unethical)?
7. How does law enforcement identify murders as serial killings? How does it identify and track down serial killers?
8. Tenderness has two narratives, one first person and the other third person. What is each like? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? Do they clash with each other or work together to develop the themes and characters of Tenderness?
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