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Chapter 11

THTR 101: Exploring Drama


The second semester opens with Professor Dreary’s command to “FREE FEELING,” and the chapter features a number of characters freeing their emotions. Examine the liberating acts and consequences when Miranda, Helena, Cadence, Roano, and Baxley unleash their feelings.


Just before the holidays end, Roano tells Isa that he is gay; however, she is not happy to find out that Cadence has known since their visit to Columbia. Have you ever faced a dilemma in which you wanted to protect a friend from a secret? Should Cadence have warned Isa so that she could have been “better prepared,” or is Isa in the wrong for being angry with Cadence?



Chapter 12

PSYC 310: Perception and Behavior


Chapter 12 focuses on the impact of scars. How do these wounds—whether physical, emotional or psychological—affect Cadence and the others? Have any short or long-lasting scars marked you? What types of scars are the most influential?


In Cadence’s communications class, Dr. Tiller asks for the students’ opinions on her photo of Professor Savage’s suicide. Some students say that the image is sensationalistic and exploits the victim; however, Dakota argues that the picture is newsworthy. Is the photo of Savage unethical, or does it aid in raising awareness? Can you think of any examples similar to this in today’s media?



Chapter 13

DNCE 234: Communities in Dance


Dance has many functions: entertainment, profession, exercise, worship, celebration, and protest. Consider how the various dances appearing in the chapter are defined by how the performers use them. How is Astra’s dancing her own form of protest? What are your thoughts on how she pays for her education?


The ritual “dance” of hookup is pervasive in college and in American culture. Cadence worries about the groupies who flock around Schilar, Helena answers a call for a good time, and sex seems to be the most studied course on campus. Is the hookup culture the ultimate display of sexual freedom, or does it create expectations that result in damaging, perhaps meaningless, relationships with others and oneself?



Chapter 14

ENGL 102: The Composition of Love


This chapter plays on various definitions of love. How is it defined by the characters? In literature? In your own life? Is it possible to love different people in various stages of life, or is there only one TRUE love?


Over coffee with Cadence, Astra reveals the violent relationship she escaped. Because of this and the risks associated with her job, she carries a gun. Is this a realistic method of addressing the safety issues faced by victims of domestic violence? Why or why not? How pervasive is this problem, and what can be done to solve it?



Chapter 15

URBS: Designing Dreamscapes


The Cinderella Project reminds Cadence of how incredible a great dress can make a person feel. Is this sensation intrinsically tied to the American obsession with materialism? To what degree is materialism necessary in ensuring that people are able to realize their American Dreams? How is this idea also reflected in the architectural landscape of Charleston that Cadence learns about?


Despite the stigma attached to drag identity, Dakota is more than comfortable in his/her skin, but is no stranger to degradation and belittlement. What has Dakota had to overcome to achieve this level of comfort, and in what ways does he teach lessons about acceptance? What is his dream for happiness, and what obstacles may prevent him from reaching his dream?



Chapter 16

GEOL 296: Intermediate Petrology


As a branch of geology, petrology is the study of the origins, history, composition, texture, occurrence, and distribution of rocks. Beginning with Professor Mirabilis’s graveyard assignment, examine how this subject connects to the chapter’s other scenes including the discussions of Magnolia Cemetery, the railroad trip with Schilar, and the wedding.


While in jail, Cadence meets three women who become her protectors for the night. What lessons are offered in the lives of Vianna, Ruella, and Flora? Consider the decisions each made and the advice they offer to Cadence. What is the connection between this episode and the chapter’s title?



Chapter 17

BIOL 112: The Cycles of Life


Chapter 17 focuses on the themes of life and death. Obviously, death is a sad subject as portrayed by Aliyah’s dying and Astra's miscarriage memories. Untimely new life can sometimes be just as distressing, as seen by Haven's pregnancy and Helena's scare. What conditions affect the way the living react to birth (or potential birth) and death? Are these reactions always justified?


Saida constantly seems to be “on the prowl” for the next hookup. What perceptions do you have of Saida? Think about her time spent in Miami with the older man leading up to her time with Warren starting in this chapter. Do you believe there is a reason behind her behavior, or is she just having fun? Is she a sexually empowered young woman or recklessly promiscuous?



Chapter 18

COMM 184: Perspectives on Mass Communications


Dr. Tiller has significantly reduced the size of his class by planting a third TA in the room who observes and reports on students in violation of his policies. Is the professor justified in his insistence on absolute attention, or should students be allowed to “multi-task” while he teaches? One student, Mr. Havacheck believes that education can be purchased, and as long as payment is made, an “acceptable” grade should result. Do you agree with this “consumer” model of education? What are the effects of treating the classroom as a commodity?


Chapter 18 focuses on communication perspectives. Although Saida and Madison were not present during Penny’s rape, each has developed her own opinion of the situation. Examine their differing views as well as the outlooks of others like Degue (whose overall perspective is one of skepticism). What informs these views, and how do people justify their opinions when all the “facts” remain unknown?



Chapter 19

SPAN 102: Intermediate Translation


The motif of disease appears in many chapters (1, 8, 9, 16, 19, 20): from Dr. Elder’s introduction in Freshman Seminar to the exploration of the Spanish flu origins in this section. Diseases are, of course, physical, but they also have devastating cultural effects. Explore the instances in which disease not only affects the characters but also examples in which contagions have more widespread impacts.


Reena’s relationship with Blaze borders on addiction, and despite his abrupt dismissal of her before Valentine’s, she easily returns to him. What is at the core of her attraction to him, and why is it so difficult for her—and other women like her—to rid themselves of toxic attractions? What other harmful relationships appear in the piece, and how is each connected to the chapter subject in which they appear?



Chapter 20

CCJS 319: Deviance and Social Control


The Harpies’s methods are legally in a gray area, despite bringing awareness to a greater issue. Is anonymity an effective and acceptable means for achieving their objectives? What examples in society reflect your opinions on this question?


The novel ends with an allusion to a famous poem by William Butler Yeats. What is it? How does the poem project the possibilities for the next book? Consider the connections between the chapter’s opening paragraph and the poem’s prophecy? In what instances is justice attainable, and in what cases does it remain elusive?



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