Friday, February 20, 2009

A Few More Discussion Questions for The Soloist

Music is a powerful presence in the book. For Nathaniel, the music he plays seems to help him keep his illness at bay. Do you believe there is a link between creativity and mental health or mental illness?

A visit from his sister is a joyful moment for Nathaniel, but her court appeal to manage his finances sets off his rage. (p. 240) Discuss what Steve and his readers know about Nathaniel’s family. Do you believe that family dynamics play a role in mental illness? If you know a family dealing with mental illness, how has that changed your preconceptions?

At one point in the book, Steve asks, “Is he happy?” (p. 126) What constitutes happiness for Nathaniel? How does asking this question help Steve to help Nathaniel? Do you think the book has a “happy ending?”

In what ways does Nathaniel's story fit your preconceptions about people facing homelessness, and in what ways has it changed your ideas? In what ways does his story fit your preconceptions about people facing serious mental illnesses, and in what way has it changed your ideas?

More discussion questions can be found in the On the Same Page website.

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