I hope that book clubs and classes discussing my books will find the below questions and exercises both helpful and inspirational. Thank you so much to all the readers who helped me compile these!
Please note, these questions are filled with spoilers!
Discussion Questions for SCARLET
1. How is Scarlet similar to the story of Little Red Riding Hood? How is it different?
2. In an early chapter, Scarlet defends Cinder from the rude customers at the tavern, and we later learn that Scarlet’s open-mindedness toward Lunars was largely influenced by her grandmother’s attitudes. When it comes to prejudices, do you think people are more influenced by their close friends and relatives, or by society at large? Can you think of any real-world prejudices that are similar to that between the Earthens and the Lunars?
3. Imagine you were Scarlet and your grandmother was missing. Would you have followed Wolf when he offered to help you? If not, what would you have done instead?
4. What do you think was Wolf’s motivation for helping Scarlet—both when he agreed to help her find her grandmother, and later when he gave her the chip to unlock her prison door? In the beginning, he tells Scarlet that he escaped from his life as a “Loyal Soldier to the Order of the Pack.” Do you think he was truly on the run from his life as a Lunar soldier, or was this only a ruse to earn Scarlet’s trust?
5. By escaping from prison, Cinder angered Queen Levana and inadvertently triggered the Lunar attacks. Was she right to escape after Kai had struck a bargain with Queen Levana, trading Cinder’s freedom for ongoing peace? What would you have done in Cinder’s situation? What would you have done in Kai’s?
6. In addition to escaping from prison herself, Cinder aids in the escape of Carswell Thorne—a convicted thief. Do you think she made the right decision in letting him come with her, or should she have left him in the prison cell? What kind of relationship do you think Cinder and Thorne have developed by the end of the book? Do you think Thorne could become romantic competition for Kai?
7. Iko returns in Scarlet, not as an android, but as the spaceship’s control system. Why do you think it was so important for Cinder to find a way to revive her? Do you have any hopes or predictions for what might become of Iko in the rest of the series?
8. Cinder struggles a lot with her Lunar powers and determining when it is morally right for her to use them. She learns quickly that using her powers can both help and hurt the people around her. Can you think of any situations in which it would be okay—even ethical—for someone to use brainwashing or mind control on another human being? If Lunars were to become integrated into human society, what sorts of laws might be put in place to prevent the misuse of their powers? How might those laws be enforced?
9. In Marissa Meyer’s short story The Queen’s Army, we’re given a look into the creation of the werewolf soldiers who are conscripted into the Lunar army as children. Children have been used as soldiers throughout history, and it is still happening today. Research one conflict in which a government employed the use of child soldiers. How did they become involved in the fighting? What happened to them when the conflict was over?
10. One of the great ethical debates of modern science is whether or not genetic engineering (altering the DNA of living organisms) should be performed on humans. On Luna, scientists modified the DNA of children in order to turn them into wolf hybrids. Do you think it is right to modify a person’s DNA? Can you think of any situations in which genetic engineering would be beneficial to a person or a society? When might it be detrimental?
11. Think about the ruins of the Musée du Louvre and the Palais Garnier (the opera house) in Paris. Why do you think these national sites weren’t restored after World War IV? Are there any historical buildings or landmarks in your area that have fallen into disrepair, and do you feel it’s important for society to preserve these sites? Why or why not?
12. In many versions of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, Little Red and her grandmother are ultimately rescued from the wolf by a woodsman or lumberjack. Are there any characters in Scarlet that you think parallel this role, and how so?
13. How are Cinder and Scarlet similar to each other? How are they different? Do you feel that either of them would make a good role model for young women, and why or why not?