The Great Escape Book Club Message Board › 11-22-63 Discussion Questions - POSSIBLE SPOILERS
|A former member||
Please don't read the questions until you've finished the book. I don't want to spoint anything for anyone.
A few of your have expressed concern that you may not remember the details of the book in December, when we sit down to discuss it. So I've come up with a list of discussion questions for you to jot notes on and keep. As you can see, most are very general questions that don't require you to remember the details of the book, but only its overall theme.
Enjoy and hope to see you in December to discuss.
REMEMBER: WE'LL STILL BE MEETING IN OCTOBER ("Hummingbird House") AND NOVEMBER ("Cloud Atlas").
*What were your general impressions of the novel - did you enjoy it? Why or why not?
* Jake is characterized as a good and decent man, someone who cares deeply for others. And yet, he is willing to commit murder and also make money by using his knowledge of the future. What do these things say about Jake's character? Did his willingness to stretch morality change how you felt about him? Do you think his "bad" acts make him less likable or trustworthy?
* Were you surprised how easily Jake, the mild-mannered teacher, could hurt people, even if it was for the greater good? Would you have been able to do the same thing if you knew what would happen if you didn’t act?
* If you were able to go back and change the past, would you? Which event would you most like to change? What do you think the consequences would be?
* In King's novel, Jake has knowledge of the future behavior of certain people. The janitor's father, who is destined to commit a horrific crime, is a jovial and well-liked man prior to that crime...but because of his foreknowledge, Jake sees only a horrible man. If you knew what someone would do in the future (good or bad), how might that change your interactions with them in the present? Would you feel compelled to try to change their behavior before it happened? Would you consider murder as an ethical choice to un-do something horrible?
* 11/22/63 deals with traveling back more than 50 years into the past. But what about time travel into the future? If you could travel 50 years into the future, would you? If not, why not?
* What do you think the significance of the Yellow Card Man was? What does he symbolize for you?
* Jake encounters an eerie resistance to changing the past. He notes that "history repeats itself" and there are certain "harmonies" which weave through his life. At one point another character tells Jake "everything happens for a reason." When Jake returns to 2011 after saving Kennedy, he finds a world much different - and not better - than the world in which Kennedy was assassinated. What do you think - do things happen for a reason? Is there a harmony to our world, even when bad things happen?
* Jake seems destined to be with Sadie, but he must make a decision at the end of the book which changes the course of their relationship. Did you like the ending? Could King have ended his book another way?
* 11/22/63 is filled with historical research—it twins real events with events and characters from King’s imagination. Did you learn anything surprising about the actual events leading up to the Kennedy assassination while reading this novel?
* Our hero Jake Epping goes on an epic journey to try to prevent Kennedy’s assassination. Why choose this watershed moment in American history rather than any other moment? Would you choose a different moment, and if so, when?
* Jake (or rather George) has to spend a lot of time in Dallas, which he experiences as a malevolent place. Jodie, on the other hand, is everything idyllic small town America should be. Do you believe that certain places are evil at certain times?
* 11/22/63 gives readers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the past, in all its casual cigarette smoking glory—the music, food, language, cars, and dancing. What are your favorite things about the 50s and 60s King creates in 11/22/63? And least favorite?