Something Strange & Deadly Discussion Question #4
“‘Eleanor, you have a choice,’ [Jie] said softly. ‘You always have a choice’” (p. 166, Something Strange & Deadly)
How do you think this quote relates to the overall theme of Something Strange and Deadly? Do you think Eleanor behaves as if she has a choice at the start of the book? What about at the end of the book? And do other characters behave as if they have a choice or do some see themselves as victims of circumstance?
I think that Eleanor doesn’t really know that she has a choice at the beginning of the book, BUT I never got the impression that she saw herself as a victim of circumstance. She is proactive and goes out to find her brother even when her mother wouldn’t. I don’t think she consciously realizes she has a choice about her life until Jie tells her. Nonetheless Eleanor has always behaved as if she has a choice, i.e. she does not simple say yes and amen to everything her mother and society expect of her.
A good example for a character who sees themselves as a victim of circumstances would be Clarence Wilcox. When he was in school with Eleanor’s brother, he bullied Elijah because his father and his friends told him to. I don’t think he realized he had a choice to make there and that he could have simply gone against his father’s wishes. Even as a grown-up he finds himself entangled in his situation and unable to break free because he thinks he has to follow the path his father has set for him and live up to society’s expectations.