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Book Club Thu Jul 08 2010

The Wild Things Discussion Questions

Our July book is The Wild Things by Dave Eggers, a novel based on the children's book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and the screenplay Eggers co-wrote with Spike Jonze for the 2009 film based on the same.

Our July meeting is coming up this Monday, July 12, at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. The fun begins at 7:30pm and, as always, new members are welcome.

We will be using the Random House reading guide questions to start off the discussion. The questions below are excerpted from the publisher's guide, but you can find the complete guide here.

• Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, first published in 1963, is extremely brief, containing only nine sentences, just over 300 words, and a series of wonderfully expressive illustrations. How is Eggers able to get inside such a compressed story and extend it into a novel? In what ways does the novel stay close to Sendak's story? In what ways does it imaginatively expand upon Sendak's story?

• How is the adult world depicted in the novel?

• How should the beasts be understood? Are they projections of Max's fantasy life--aspects of his character or unconscious? Are they manifestations of his own uncivilized, destructive urges, his wish to be an animal?

• What is the significance of Max's relationships with Carol and Katherine? How does he relate differently to each of these characters?

• Why was Max's final act on the island necessary? What is the symbolic significance of this act?

• Does The Wild Things have an implied moral? What does Max learn from his experience with the beasts?

• Dave Eggers co-wrote (with Spike Jonze) the screenplay for the film version of Where The Wild Things Are. If you have seen the film, how does the novel differ from the movie? Which form seems closer to Sendak's original story? How do the film and novel compliment each other?

 
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