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by Lauren Oliver

Delirium Theme of Betrayal

Betrayal comes in a variety of flavors, from mild—e.g., calling shotgun, and still being forced to sit in the back—to extra spicy—e.g., leaking government secrets and putting people in danger. Some people react to mild betrayals the same way they'd react to international treason: screaming, running, generally freaking the heck out. Lena is one of those people. To her, almost everything is a betrayal. At some point, she's betrayed by her best friend, her boyfriend, her mother, and her country. It all comes with the territory. By territory, we mean the totalitarian government that runs her society, and has been lying to its people for decades. It might as well be renamed the United States of Betrayal.

Questions About Betrayal

  1. Why is Lena so afraid of betrayal?
  2. Who, if anyone, actually betrays Lena during the course of the novel?
  3. What lies does the government tell to its people? Why do they lie about these things?

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