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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 301

1. Are the characters of Tenderness interesting? What traits makes them interesting or uninteresting?

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2. Do you actually like any of the characters in the book?

3. What does Eric Poole mean by the word tenderness? What does Lori mean by it?

4. "Eric Poole did not dream." Why is this significant?

5. "Without emotion, without feeling, we're animals," says Lieutenant Proctor. This is an interesting turn of phrase. Don't writers usually associate emotions with the animal in people, rather than the other way around? Is Lieutenant Proctor right?

6. Is there anything likable about the novel's protagonists, Eric Poole and Lori? Why would Cormier make two Tenderness 4903 villainous figures the focus of his novel?

7. Does Lori change Eric Poole? If so, how and in what way?

8. What is The Charm? How does it work? Why do people fall for it? Why do others not fall for it? What is Cormier saying about human nature with The Charm?

9. In the end, "the monster also cried." What does this mean? Why would Cormier end his novel with it?

10. Is serial killing an appropriate subject for a novel intended for young adults?

11. What is the point of Lori's sexual discussion at the start of the novel? What does it tell us about her?

12. Would the novel be better if either Lori or Eric Poole were a good person? Would it be more enjoyable?

13. Is the novel, in Lori's sexual behavior and Eric Poole's murders, merely trying to shock for shock's sake or is their a serious purpose to the story beyond these horrifying aspects?

14. Why does Lori not care that Eric Poole murders women?

15. Is Lori a fool?

16. Would Eric Poole have been caught had Lori not interfered?

17. Would Eric Poole have continued murdering young women had Lori not died? Would she have helped him?

18. Is Lori's life redeemable?

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