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Bewildering Stories

Special Challenge 860

Trigger Warnings, chapters 7-10

  1. In The Program:

    1. Springfield says her behavior at college has been “out of character.” Is it, really?
    2. What clues do Springfield’s literary and film allusions provide to her character?

    3. What is the function of Austin in the story? How does she feel about him and herself? How does Springfield feel about Dr. Louder personally?

  2. In Three Weeks Later:

    1. What does Springfield learn from Dr. Louder about the meaning of “abrasive action”?
    2. What “triggers” Springfield to leave Dr. Louder? Has she washed out of his “program” or has she actually completed it?

  3. In Hard Core:

    1. How does Springfield justify banning certain books? Why might one not want to ban them?
    2. Does Springfield’s program differ in degree or in kind from book burnings? How does Professor Ivaniloff react to it? How would you react if you were in his position?

    3. What is Springfield’s idea of “abrasive action”? What does it seem to consist of?
  4. In Howl:

    1. Does Dr. Kendall outline a course in literature or is it really something else? At what level of education would you expect it to be offered?
    2. Does Allen Ginsburg’s Howl advocate violence?

    3. Whom does Dr. Louder most resemble: Jim Jones (Jonestown), Marshall Applewhite (Heaven’s Gate) or Charles Manson? Or somebody else?

    4. Springfield hears three of the candidates’ supporters. What do they talk about? Why does Springfield not listen? Why does she dismiss them?

    5. Before pulling the trigger, Springfield suspends narrative time with a long-winded interior monologue about her motives. Even if she believe what she is thinking, why might one doubt she cares? Or is she preparing a press release?

    6. In what way does Springfield violate the very principles she has been advocating to Professor Ivaniloff? Would Springfield advocate banning her own story? What is she actually trying to accomplish?

    7. How does the author set an emotional trap for the readers? How can readers avoid it?

    8. What primary character traits might Springfield share with John Wilkes Booth (April 14, 1865), Leon Czolgosz (September 6, 1901) and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme (September 5, 1975)?

    9. The name “Springfield” and firearms have been associated for centuries. In what way?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright © June 15 2020 by Bewildering Stories
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