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8. Marco asserts that Alexander H. is a father figure to him (though his paternal instincts aren't readily noticeable). In what ways does Alexander provide for Marco and in what ways has he failed him?

9. Celia emphasizes that keeping the circus controlled is a matter of "balance." And Marco suggests that the competition is not a chess game but rather a balancing of scales. However, the circus and the competition become disordered at times—leaving both physical and emotional casualties in their wake. Is the circus ever really in "balance," or is it a pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other?

10. From the outside, the circus is full of enchantments and delights, but behind the scenes, the delicate push and pull of the competition results in some sinister events: i.e., the deaths of Tara Burgess and Friedrick Thiessen. How much is the competition at fault for these losses and how much are they the individuals' doing?

11. How do you view the morality of the circus in regards to the performers and developers being unknowing pawns in Celia and Marco's competition? Do Celia and Marco owe an explanation to their peers about their unwitting involvement?

12. Friedrick Thiessen asserts that he thinks of himself "not as a writer so much as someone who provides a gateway, a tangential route for readers to the circus." He is a voice for those unable to attend the circus and suggests that the circus is bigger than itself. What role do the rêveurs play in keeping the spirit of the circus alive outside the confines of the circus tents?

13. What is Hector's role in determining the fate of the competition? He lectures Celia about remaining independent and not interfering with her partner, but ultimately, Hector largely influences the outcome of the competition. Explain this influence.

14. Poppet and Widget are especially affected by the lighting of the bonfire. How crucial are their "specialties" to the ongoing success of the circus?

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