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The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now


by Tim Tharp

The Spectacular Now Theme of Abandonment

Just about every character in The Spectacular Now has been abandoned in some way by someone. Deserted by a father, betrayed by a sister, stood up by a boyfriend—take your pick. Duh: Sutter's our narrator. Of course he's going to focus on that aspect of people's lives, because it's had such an impact on his. Of course, Sutter just ends up doing to doing to Aimee what his dad did to his family. But it's totally different this time, right? Because Sutter's doing it for her own good, right??

Maybe. Or maybe Sutter's isn't just stuck in the spectacular now—he's also stuck in a cycle of abandonment. Not so spectacular, is it?

Questions About Abandonment

  1. What happens to characters who've been abandoned? How does it seem to affect them?
  2. Do any characters experience positive effects from the abandonment they've experienced?
  3. How do Aimee and Sutter handle their childhood abandonment differently? Are they both displaying different responses to abandonment, or are Aimee's problems different?
  4. How would things have been different if Sutter's mom had been the one who left?
  5.  Would it have been better for Aimee if her mother abandoned her?

Chew on This

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

Sutter would be a completely different person if his dad had stayed with his family.

Behavior like Sutter's and his dad's must be genetic, since Sutter's just like his dad without even knowing it.

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