A Very Long Engagement

by Sebastien Japrisot

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Topics for Further Study

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Investigate the causes of World War I. What was the immediate cause and what were the main underlying causes?

Research the history of the use of poison gas in warfare, from World War I to the present. When was the use of poison gas banned internationally?

Research the role of the United States in World War I. Why and when did the United States enter the war? What were the main battles fought by American troops?

Were the men in the novel who shot themselves in the hand cowards, or were they justified in their desire to escape the conflict? Is a soldier always, without exception, obliged to follow the orders of his commanding officer? Why or why not?

War leaves many victims other than those killed or wounded in battle. In the novel, who, other than the five prisoners, are victims of the war? What are the different ways in which these victims react to and cope with their losses?

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