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Lauren Oliver

 Table of Contents

Delirium Theme of Fear

Fear is an emotion we've all experienced, and one we all want to get under control. Whether you spend your free time watching reality TV or listening to self-help videos from the 80s‎, you know that fear limits your ability to reach your true potential.

In Delirium, fear sure limits Lena. Maybe the government in this book would have made a productive society if they had outlawed fear instead of love. However, fear is how this government works.

It instills a fear of love, of companionship, of success into its people, which isolates them and makes them easier to control. It is only when she acknowledges her feeling of love—her relationship with Alex—and her ability to do things without falling over, that Lena finally starts to overcome her fear.

Questions About Fear

  1. What is Lena really afraid of?
  2. What helps Lena get rid of her fears? Does she overcome them completely?
  3. Hana tells Lena, "Turns out you're braver than I am" (24.63). Do you think Lena is actually braver than Hana? Why or why not?
  4. How does Lena's government instill fear in its people? Is fear an effective strategy for control?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Lena is a product of her society, which teaches people to fear just about everything—from their own emotions to each other.

Lena is able to control her fear through her love with Alex. Keeping people apart is yet one more way the government keeps its people afraid.

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