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Study Guide for Students - MC

Novel Guide – UNWIND
As you study this novel, you need to keep track of several key ideas. You will create a study guide which
will help you to
a) study the novel’s parts
b) keep track of important quotes
c) have your notes kept in one place
d) help you to write important essays
You must read the novel in its entirety. You can not hope to achieve this standard without reading the
You will be required to do several types of note taking as you read the novel. Each time you read a new
chapter to answer chapter questions, you also need to refer to the THEME, CHARACTER, SETTING,
LANGUAGE FEATURE sections to fill in information there.
Get Started
 Make your notes on either refill or in your workbook.
 Head up each page with the relevant SUB-HEADING so you can easily refer back to the notes later.
 Make a glossary on a separate page and add to it as you read the book and come across new words.
Themes are the main ideas within a story. They are the message that the author wants to send you. Wants
you to think about. Sometimes they don’t have an answer, sometimes they leave you with more
questions, but they are designed to expand your thinking.
Abandonment – People can feel abandoned in all sorts of situations. Essentially, if you are abandoned, it
means that someone has ceased to support you or to look after you. You might feel abandoned by a friend
when a teacher picks on you to ask a question, you could feel abandoned in the middle of a game of netball
if there is no one there to pass to, or it could be a more serious form of abandonment, such as being left by
a husband, mother or sibling.
 Have you ever abandoned someone at a crucial moment?
 What does it feel like to be abandoned?
 How might you behave if a caregiver or parent abandoned you?
 What types of emotions might you feel at being abandoned?
Question: In what ways do the following characters experience abandonment?
- Connor
- Risa
- Lev
- Roland
Being Alone – in a similar way, the characters in the text are all very much alone regardless of whether
they have been abandoned or not. Being alone is not necessarily always a bad thing. Being alone can help
you to think more clearly, can give you space from other people’s emotions or can make you feel free. But,
being alone for too long can make you feel sad or depressed.
Find a quote for each of the following characters to show they are alone:
Connor – Chapter One.
Risa – Chapter Two.
Lev - Chapter Three
Religion – At some time in our life we might wrestle with the question of religion. Sometimes we follow
our parents footsteps and sometimes we make our own decisions. Religion can provide comfort in times of
great stress. It can also provide answers to some of life’s deeper mysteries. To non-religious people, some
religious customs can seem strange and even pointless. Lev’s friends struggle to understand why he finds
pride in being a tithe, for example.
 How does your religion, or lack of religion, shape your view of the world?
 Do you believe that religious people are nicer, more kind, and less selfish than non-religious people?
 Are there any religious ceremonies or rituals that you think are now outdated?
 How easy do you think it is to change your mind about religion?
 Would it be hard to abandon your religion if you came from a very religious family who expected
you to follow their footsteps?
In the text, Lev particularly struggles to find answers about his religious beliefs. He goes from one religious
extreme to another.
He goes through three distinct changes in the text in regards to his religion. Write these changes down in
your book and find a quote to support each change.
Organ Donation: Organ donation is an issue that has very many ethical implications. There are lots of
complicated emotional repercussions to organ donations as well as ethical ones. This novel presents a
world where this issue is at the extreme end of the spectrum. Organ donation has become a way of ridding
parents of troublesome teens, as well as ensuring a supply of organs are available for sick or disabled nonunwinds.
One of the unwinds asks “If every part of you is alive but inside someone else … are you alive? Or
are you dead?” (pg 167). What is your answer to this question?
What types of reasons could you think of for ‘unwinding’ a person?
Do you believe that parents would actually believe that their child was still alive considering they
would never see them again as a whole person?
Power Struggles: Power is something intangible yet it is pervasive in our lives. If you think carefully you
can probably name a dozen times a day where you participate in or witness a power struggle of some sort –
even if it is only over what channel you watch on TV. There are many ways people can be powerful. Think
about who is powerful in this novel?
 Rola nd – because he is manipulative and sneaky
 Risa – because she thinks before she acts
 Connor – because he is big and strong
 The Admiral – because he controls the lives of the Unwind AWOLS
 The Juvey Cop – because he was able to take revenge on being mistreated at school
 Lev – because he had abandoned all hope and was ready to do anything to prove his hatred
 Parents – because they could ‘unwind’ their children and this is power through fear
 Stories – because they were the unspoken feelings of the Unwinds themselves – Dumphee / Akron
Appearances can be deceptive: We all wear masks to help us deal with the many conflicting parts of our
lives. For example, you are not the same with friends as you are with your parents. You don’t behave the
same way in your job as you do when slouching around in front of the TV. In this novel, the way someone
appears can be very different from how he/she actually is as a person. Think about how the characters in
this novel behave differently to the way they look:
- Connor: big and strong but learning to think before acting
- Risa: small and weak but very strong physically and emotionally
- Paster Dan: religious leader but internally in disagreement with Lev being unwound
- Connor’s parents: pretending that life was still normal after signing the Unwind Order
- The Admiral: appearing to be all-powerful and dangerous but actually trying to make up for the
wrong he did to his son.
- Roland: appearing strong and tough but actually being petrified of being Unwound
- Lev: small, defenceless, graceful, weak but actually willing to blow himself up
Chapter Questions
Chapter One - Connor
1. What does the word ‘Triplicate’ mean?
2. Why is this chapter called ‘Triplicate’?
3. How does Connor find out he is being ‘unwound’?
4. Write down an example of a simile on page 11.
5. Why do you think the trucker wants to help Connor?
6. What do you think Connor must have felt at seeing his father with the Juvey-cops?
7. Write down three adjectives to describe Connor’s personality.
Chapter Two – Risa
1. How many mistakes does Risa make in her recital?
2. What are two reasons the adults at Risa’s tribunal give for unwinding her?
3. What hurts Risa the most of all about being unwound?
4. Why do you think that Risa is being unwound over all the other children at the State Home?
5. Do you think Risa is brave when she runs for the door of the bus?
Chapter Three – Lev
1. Unlike either Risa or Connor, Levi has been selected for unwinding, or tithing. Look up the word
‘tithing’ and write down its definition in your glossary
2. Is Marcus right to disrupt Lev’s party like that?
3. According to Lev, what is the difference between being unwound and being an Unwind?
4. What signs are there that Lev is not entirely comfortable with being a tithe?
5. What colour does Lev wear that singles him out from other people?
6. Who abducts Lev at the end of the chapter?
Chapter 4 –
Connor meets Risa and has Lev. He decides to run away from the cops and takes Risa with him.
Chapter 5 – Cop
1. Why did the author include a chapter from the cop’s POV?
2. What is ironic about the cop wishing he ‘didn’t have so much moral integrity?’
3. What do we learn about both Risa and Connor in this chapter?
4. What is unusual about the structure of this chapter?
Chapter 7 – Connor
1. We learn more about Connor in this chapter. List two things we learn about his personality.
2. Who do you think Humphrey Dunfee is? What clues are you given about him?
3. How does Connor feel about: a) Lev (find a quote) and b) Risa (find a quote)
Chapter 8 – Risa
1. How does Risa feel about Connor and how does her opinion change by the end of the chapter? –
find quotes to support
Part Two – STORKED
1. What do the quotes by the two nurses teach you about human nature?
2. Predict what you think the word ‘storked’ means. Use your prior knowledge. Pull the word apart.
Write it down in your glossary.
Chapter 9 – Mother
1. What does this chapter teach you about the society of the novel? What is wrong / right with it?
2. Add the new terms to your glossary (Bill of Life / Storking Initiative)
3. Add to your Being Alone theme sheet
Chapter 11 – Connor
1. Create a page called “CONNOR”. Make a table that shows the following columns. Page no / Quote /
What does this show about Connor.
2. Do the same for Risa (ch 12) and Lev (ch 13). This will create an easy reference for later essay
Chapter 18 – Levi
1. Add to Being Alone – Page 90.
2. Add to your character notes on Levi
Chapter 19 – Connor
1. Add to your notes on Connor’s personality – what do we learn about him in this chapter.
2. Create a new character chart for Roland. What do we learn about him in this chapter?
3. Summarise Chapter 19 in 5 bullet points.
4. Why do you think this chapter is so long?
5. Put yourself in the shoes of one of the characters.Write a letter to your love ones. Wat kinds of things
would you say?
Chapter 20 – Risa
1. Why does Connor hesitate in handing the baby over? (it could be because the baby could be unwound
2. Pg 114 – “the baby cries, but she doesn’t look back” and “it makes her furious that she actually misses
the baby” – these two quotes come within a few sentences of each other. If you did not know Risa’s
thoughts, how could her behaviour be interpreted?
3. Which do you think is worse? Tens of thousands of babies nobody wants? Or to silently make them go
away before they are even born?
1. Type in the http address shown at the bottom of the page. Why is there a need to illegally trade or deal
in stem cells?
Chapter 21 – Lev
1. Add the following quote to your character page: “…they loved God more than they loved me. And I hate
them for it.” (pg 130). What does this show about how Lev’s character is changing?
2. CyFi brings another complication to the issue of unwinding. What is this complication?
Create a ‘wanted’ poster. Either: a) from the government’s POV directed at the general public to try and
bring down AWOL Unwinds OR b) from the government’s POV directed at the AWOL’s themselves – to try
and get themselves to turn themselves in.
Chapter 22 – Risa
1. Why are the people in charge of the ‘holding pen’ where the Unwinds wait together called the
‘Fatigues’? *Add to glossary
2. Who is the “Akron AWOL’? Why do the other Unwinds talk about him?
3. What important thing does Risa learn about Connor’s behaviour? (pg. 145)
4. Add this to your Roland character page “He’s power hungry, he’s ruthless, and he’s very, very
smart.” (pg 146)
Chapter 23 – Connor
1. You find out the reason Connor has been looking for Lev; what is that reason? What does it tell us
about Connor as a person?
Chapter 24 – Risa
1. The incident with Roland is quite frightening but something bothers Risa more than that – what is
2. Add the last sentence of the chapter to your Risa Character Page (pg 152)
Chapter 25 – Connor
1. what evidence can you gather that Connor is maturing?
2. Add notes to your Roland page
DISCUSS – how would YOU behave if suddenly all the rules of ‘normal’ society were removed and you had
nothing to lose?
Guiding Questions:
- think about the reasons all of them are there – all abandoned by parents / etc
- are they the extreme version of themselves because of the pressured situation?
- How would you feel at being locked up like that in a holding pen, not knowing what was going on
around you or if you might be discovered at any moment?
- Which character would you most likely be like? Why?
1. Examine the response from Ebay on page 155. Imagining fo r a moment that you all agreed a soul
existed; would you purchase a ‘human soul’? Why or why not? What are the ethical implications of
purchasing someone’s soul?
Chapter 26 – Pawnbroker
1. We see a hardened, worldly wise Lev in this chapter. Add the ‘diamond eye’ quote to your Lev page
and the last quote of the chapter (pg 161)
Chapter 27 – Connor
1. How does Connor escape being put in the crate with Roland?
2. Add the quote ‘Once you’re in a box, you’re someone else’s problem’ to your ‘Abandonment’ theme
page making sure you note down who said it.
3. Some very intense conversations take place inside the crate. For the first time we are able to see
how the Unwinds truly feel without all the bravado that normally comes with them. Hayden acts as
the Devil’s advocate in this situation – he says scary things in a jokey way – but it gets people
thinking. He asks
- “Would you rather die, or be unwound?”
- “If every part of you is alive but inside someone else … are you alive or are you dead?”
- “If it wasn’t for unwinding, there’d be bald guys again – and wouldn’t that be horrible?”
- “What happens to your soul when you get unwound?”
Chapter 28 – Risa
1. This is the first impression both the characters and you as a reader get of The Admiral. Write down
what your impression of him is.
Chapter 29 – Lev
(Both Lev and Cyfi inch closer to their destination)
Chapter 30 – Cy-Ty
1. How do you feel reading this chapter?
Chapter 31 – Lev
1. Add to your ‘Lev’ page
1. Why would Schusterman include this description of aeroplane graveyards?
Chapter 32 – The Admiral
1. Why has the author included the list of the Admiral’s rules in this chapter?
2. How has Shusterman made the Admiral seem mysterious?
Chapter 33 – Risa
1. What does Risa say the Admiral has done for her?
Chapter 34 – Connor
1. Add character notes to Connor’s page – page 203
2. How does Connor react to Lev’s arrival? Why does he react this way?
3. Write down the important plot moments for the characters of a) Risa, b) Connor, c) Lev, d) Roland,
e)The Admiral and what do we learn about The Bill of Life?
Chapter 35 – Lev
1. Write down the quote “Lev quickly became street-smart and survival-wise” and “when he looked in
the mirror, what he saw in his own eyes scared him.”
2. What is the group’s philosophy for doing what they mysteriously do? Do you think this is a good
Chapter 36 – Risa
1. Write down the opening two sentences of this chapter in your ‘Risa’ page.
2. How is Risa and Connor’s relationship developed further in this chapter?
3. How does Risa feel about Lev in this chapter?
Chapter 37 – Emby and the Admiral
1. what do we find out about the Admiral in this chapter?
Chapter 38 – Mob
1. Why is this chapter called Mob?
2. What does the Admiral’s arm ache indicate?
Chapter 39 – Roland
1. Connor asks Roland to meet him
Chapter 40 – Connor
Connor gets Roland in to a crate
Chapter 41 – Mob
1. Stories are powerful – how do stories and rumours cause people to react in this chapter?
Chapter 42 – Risa
This chapter is to establish where Risa is when the action hits.
Chapter 43 – Mob
1. What gives the mob its power?
2. Why are the chapters leading up to the climax so short?
3. Why does the author alternate between the mob and the other characters?
Chapter 44 – Connor
1. Why does Roland not respond to Connor’s question?
Chapter 45 – Mob
1. Is it a ‘good thing’ that the attention has turned to Cleaver?
Chapter 46 - Connor
1. Why is Connor’s quote ‘you should all be unwound’ so shocking? Do you agree with him?
Chapter 47 – First Year Residents
1. Why does Roland want the Juvey-Cops to come?
2. How is the first year resident’s reaction typical of a lot of adults in the novel?
Chapter 48 – Risa
Risa and Connor face the Juvey Cops who trade barbs about being Unwound with them.
1. What do Connor & Risa have now that they did not have at the start of the novel?
Chapter 49 – Roland
1. Why is Roland’s plan of turning in the whole camp of Unwinds quite futile? Why can’t Roland see
Chapter 50 – Connor
The three Unwinds are taken away to the Harvest Camp.
Chapter 51 – Camp
1. Make a list of all the adjectives used to describe the camp on page 1 (not the ‘view’ from the
2. Note down the quote about the ‘legend’
Chapter 52 – Risa
1. Why are the questions Risa is being asked so disturbing?
2. How does the camp’s daily routine make the Unwinds seem to be like?
Chapter 53 – Connor
1. The power of the symbol
2. Why are the tithes treated differently to everyone else?
Chapter 54 – Lev
This is the first time we’ve seen Lev in a long time.
Chapter 55 – Risa
1. What does it tell you about the Unwinds state of mind that they would attempt to jump off a two
storey building in order to stave off Unwinding?
Chapter 56 – Connor
1. Make a note of the quote at the bottom of page 278 that starts ‘I’d rather be killed …”
Chapter 57 – Lev
1. Notice the stories the tithes tell each other … what do those stories do for the tithes?
2. How has Lev’s attitude towards tithing changed since the very start of the story?
3. Make a note of how Lev feels about being a clapper (pg 284)
Chapter 58 – Connor
1. Are you pleased that Connor and Risa are finally together?
Chapter 59 – Roland
Notice that the chapters are becoming short again, as the action intensifies.
1. What is ironic about Roland finally being ‘worth more than any other kid’ in his unit?
2. Why is Roland being denied a priest?
3. What is disturbing about the way the Chop Shop is sound proof?
Chapter 60 – Harvest
1. The final paragraph of the chapter says “What does it take to unwind the unwanted? … It takes
three hours”. How does this make you feel?
Chapter 61 – Roland
1. Why do they keep the unwinds alive during the unwinding process?
2. This chapter is troubling and raises many emotions. How does it make you feel?
3. We finally find out a little bit about Roland’s past. Examine some of his final thoughts – what
deductions can you make about why Roland behaved so aggressively in his adolescent life?
4. What is particularly upsetting about the doctor’s behaviour at the end of the surgery?
Chapter 62 – Lev
1. How is the tree a metaphor for the Unwinds? Use a quote from page 295 to support your answer.
Chapter 63 – Guard
This chapter serves to move the plot forward. The Clappers (excluding Lev) make their way to the roof of
the Harvest Camp.
Chapter 64 – Connor
1. Add the quote about how Connor feels now that he knows Lev is at the camp to your Connor page.
2. Why has Connor been singled out for unwinding?
3. Do you think the way Connor faces his unwinding is brave? Or do you think he has given up?
65 – Clappers
1. The author of the novel intrudes at this point when he says that clappers do their ‘evil deeds’ – why
does he say that their deeds are evil?
2. Add the quote about being alone (page 305) to your ‘being alone’ page.
3. Can you see similarities in the way the unwinds form a mob to the mob at the Graveyard?
Read the quotes from Albert Einstein. How do they relate to the ideas in this novel?
Chapter 66 – Connor
1. How does the author keep you in suspense in the first page of this chapter?
2. Do you think it is ironic that Connor received the particular transplant that he did?
Chapter 67 – Risa
1. What does Risa think Connor has changed into (end of chapter?
Chapter 68 – Lev
1. Why does Lev’s lawyer talk to him about ‘insanity like it’s a good thing’?
2. What is ironic about Lev’s final destructive actions in the end?
3. Add the quotes about Lev at the end of the chapter to your Lev page
Chapter 69 – Unwinds
1. Do you think it is fitting that Connor has taken over the Graveyard?
2. Is the final message of the novel a positive one? Why?