Reading Questions for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
16. How does Isobel serve as a foil to Celia? Who, if anyone, fills that role for Marco?
17. Tsukiko is aware of Isobel's "tempering of the circus" from the outset, and when Isobel worries that it is having no effect, Tsukiko suggests that "perhaps it is controlling the chaos within more than the chaos without." What, and whose, chaos is Tsukiko alluding to here?
18. Mr. Barris, Friedrick Thiessen, Mme. Padva and even Bailey are aware that the circus has made a profound, inexplicable change in their lives, but they each choose not to explore the depth of these changes. Friedrick Thiessen states, "I prefer to remain unenlightened, to better appreciate the dark." Do you agree with this standpoint? What inherent dangers accompany a purposeful ignorance? What dangers present themselves when ignorance is not chosen? Is one choice better/safer than the other, or are they equally fraught?
19. Celia tells Bailey that he is "not destined or chosen" to be the next proprietor of the circus. He is simply "in the right place at the right time...and care[s] enough to do what needs to be done. Sometimes that's enough." In this situation, is that "enough"? Can the responsibility of maintaining the circus be trusted to just anyone, or, despite Celia's assertion, is Bailey truly special?
20. At the closing of the novel, we are left to believe that the circus is still traveling— Bailey's business card provides an email address as his contact information. How do you think the circus would fare over time? Would the circus need to evolve to suit each generation, or is it distinctive enough to transcend time?
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