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Themes

When Batman (in his four-year-old incarnation) is one of the principal characters in a book, we can bet that "Justice and Judgment" will be a big theme. Justice isn't something easy to see or easy to get in this novel. Good people die, while their killers go unpunished. A young girl is locked in a detention center with adults for two years of her life. A young boy loses his father to the grips of depression and despair. There are millions of people suffering in the world. The novel explores how utterly overwhelming it can be to acknowledge all the injustice in the world, and how hard it can be to try to put a dent in all that. Ultimately, justice in Little Bee is between individuals who act bravely and unselfishly to try to make things right, even at great cost.

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. Chris Cleave says that Sarah's "premeditated affair goes unpunished by life, while Andrew's momentary failure of courage dooms him forever. Life is savagely unfair" (source).  Do you agree with Cleave?  Does Sarah's affair go unpunished? Does Andrew's failure to chop off his finger "doom" him?
  2. How is Little Bee, and the other asylum seekers she represents, judged in the UK?
  3. How do you judge Lawrence?               
  4. Will Sarah be able to get justice for Little Bee?                
  5. How does Charlie's role as Batman contribute to this theme?
  6. Does Little Bee judge Andrew too harshly? Doe she change her judgments of him?

Chew on This

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