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by Christopher Paolini

Eragon Theme of Identity

In the novel Eragon, Eragon is not really Eragon. Wait, let's try that again. What we mean is that the hero of our novel bears the burden (or gift, depending on how you look at it) of the original Rider, who just so happened to be named Eragon. Having your identity handed to you with your name may seem a bit of a challenge, and that's precisely what our Eragon has to work out in this book. Who is he, really? It's a question that he struggles with, and at the same time it's a question that seems to have been answered before he was even born.

Questions About Identity

  1. Does Eragon see his name as a gift or a burden? Explain your answer.
  2. In what ways does Eragon's family situation (raised by uncles, never knowing his parents) undermine his sense of self and identity? In what ways does his family provide him with a sense of identity?
  3. Do you think Eragon's fate is already decided, thanks to his name? Could he go back to farming if he wanted to? 
  4. What is it about knowing a person's "secret name," do you think, that allows a magician to have power over someone else? 

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