Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
Waking Lions is a novel by Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen that explores questions of morality and humanitarianism as a doctor accidentally kills a refugee and is blackmailed into providing free medical service for other refugees and immigrants. This complex story should spark a lot of conversation among your students.
Questions about Characters and Plot
- Who is the main protagonist in Waking Lions? How are we introduced to Eitan? What is his life like at the start of this novel? What are his goals? What are his concerns? What changes this? How does this kick off the main plot of the story?
- How are we introduced to Sirkit? What is Eitan's first impression of her? What did you think about this character? How would you describe Sirkit?
- What happens after Eitan begins working at the makeshift hospital? What are some of the things he encounters there? How do these impact him? How does this start to bleed into his personal life?
- What are the challenges that Eitan must overcome to maintain his secret life and the secret of his killing Asum? How does Eitan deal with these challenges? How does this lead to new challenges and obstacles?
- How are Eitan and Sirkit first presented in this novel? How do they see themselves? How do they see each other? What changes this? How do these characters develop? What new information do they learn about each other? What do they learn about themselves? How do the makeshift hospital and the other events of this story impact each character?
- What is the climax of this story? What brought us to this point? How does the climax represent a point where the main protagonists must demonstrate their growth or make a choice about who they truly are? How is the conflict resolved?
- How does Waking Lions end? How have our characters been changed by the conflict at the climax? What do you think about this ending? What issues are left unresolved? Why do you think that is?
Questions about Themes
- In your opinion, what are the main themes of Waking Lions? Where do we see these themes? How are they developed throughout the story?
- How does this novel deal with the themes of right and wrong? Which actions/opinions are presented as morally good? Which ones are morally bad? Where's the line between them? Is there always a clear line? When do good actions result in a bad result, and bad actions result in a good result? Why is Eitan in Beersheba? What should he have done after hitting Asum? Can blackmailing someone be morally okay if it secures medical care for refugees? Is it okay to make money for yourself off of other refugees?
- How does this novel play with the concept of truth? Where are there examples in this novel of people lying? Is lying always depicted as a bad thing? Does it always have bad consequences? What are examples of lying getting someone into a worse situation? Give some examples where lying yielded a positive result.
- How does this novel depict the life of refugees? How is Eitan forced to reevaluate his perspective of other people? How is this a challenge for him? What did you think about this?
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