Somewhere in the Darkness Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

'Somewhere in the Darkness' is the story of a father and son who journey to learn more about each other, develop a bond, and ultimately face death. Use these discussion questions to help your upper middle or high school students process the novel.

Somewhere in the Darkness by Walter Dean Myers

Somewhere in the Darkness is a deep dive into the new relationship between estranged father Crab and son Jimmy, as they discover more about each other. With a heartbreaking ending, this novel takes readers on a journey through the complexities of family relationships, the consequences of decision making, and the grief of losing a loved one - even one you just met. Use these discussion questions to help your upper middle or high school students digest the complex themes of this novel. You may want to use them for a one-on-one conversation with an individual student. Alternatively, you can provide a list of questions to student teams or engage in a whole group discussion.

Guilt and Innocence

  • Do you think Crab was guilty of the murder? Why did he take the rap for his friends? Do you think Jimmy believes him when he first tells him the story? Would you believe him? Why or why not? Does he eventually convince Jimmy of his innocence?
  • Why does Rydell call the police instead of helping Crab prove his innocence to his son, Jimmy? Do you think he should have admitted his guilt? Do you think he feels guilty for Crab serving a sentence for a crime he didn't commit? Should he? Explain your reasoning. If Rydell admitted his guilt now, years after the fact, should he serve time for it?
  • Does Crab's wrongful conviction indicate that the justice system is flawed? Explain fully. Do you think the American justice system needs improvement? Why or why not? What should be done for people who are wrongfully convicted and later cleared of the crime? Are they owed anything? Provide details and explain your reasoning.

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