Reading Questions for The Civilized World
11. Each of the main characters feels fearful at one point or another—this seems less true of the male characters. Do women generally feel more vulnerable to unsafe situations than men? In the final story, Janice vows to help her daughter "grow into a fearless and self-assured young woman, despite the reality of a world that could knock you off your feet when you least expected it." What role does this vow play in Janice's decision at the end of the novel?
12. This novel is made up of nine stories—what does this structure lend to the novel? The final story is the only one told from two perspectives—Adjoa's and Janice's. What do you think the purpose of this is? Do you think the ending is a hopeful one?
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