Running with Scissors Discussion Questions

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has taught high school history in several states with a master's degree in teaching.

'Running with Scissors' is a memoir written in 2002 by Augusten Burroughs. In this graphic real-life story, students will be surprised by the odd events that made up Burroughs' childhood.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

In Running with Scissors, American author Augusten Burroughs recounts his childhood. In the memoir, we see a sharp contrast between his early and late adolescence. The discussion questions in this guide are broken into two sections. In the first section, students will discuss the plot to ensure they have a handle on the main events. In the second section, they will use critical thinking skills to analyze events and apply the book to their own life.

Although the reading level is appropriate for high school students, much of the content is not. Regardless of the age group you chose to read and discuss this book with, be sure to warn students about the content and scenes they will be reading and debrief them after finishing the book.

Plot Questions

  • Describe what Burroughs' life was like for the first 11 years. On the scale of one to ten, where one is ''ordinary'' and ten is ''way out of the ordinary,'' what would you rate his childhood like?
  • What events lead to Burroughs living with the Finch family? What does Dr. Finch do? Does his occupation surprise you?
  • Name a few of the other people who live at the Finch family with Burroughs. Which of these characters has the greatest influence on the author? Why?
  • Describe life in the Finch household. How does Burroughs feel about this at first? What is his attitude after he has been there for a little while?

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