Group work on
Jessica Amanda Salmonson's "Meditations and Confessions Regarding My Disturbing Ability" (from A Silver Thread of Madness

Break up into small groups. Delegate one or more members of your group to (1) prepare a summary of your
group's discussion and (2) make a list of your group's members.

Discuss your answers to the following questions:

  1. Do you know anyone who tried to quit something (e.g., smoking or drinking) and did so?  Do you know someone who is still trying to quit?  Do you know someone who is no longer trying to quit?  What kind of reasons do people give for  their success, their perseverance, or  no longer trying to quit?
  2. What do you think might have inspired Salmonson to write this story?
  3. What does the story show about the dangers of power?
  4. Are there any heroes in the story?  If so, who are they, and why do you think they're heroic?
  5. Why did the narrator refuse treatment at the end?  Was this a selfish decision?  (from Pelow & Raney's group, 1999)
  6. Does this story have a moral?  If so, what is it?  (Pratt group, 1999)
  7. What question do you think I should ask about this story?
M. Kagan,  PHL 403, Senior Seminar on Heroism and the Human Spirit, Le Moyne College, November 2002

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