Study Guide

A Hologram for the King Isolation

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After a decade of total failure and personal rejections, Alan feels like a stranger in his own life. He has little emotional connection to other human beings and is made to feel old and irrelevant by the ever-changing world of business. And to make matters worse, his stay in Saudi Arabia throughout A Hologram For the King baffles him with a lack of social context and cultural understanding.

There's one thing Alan does understand for sure: there's so much more on the line here than money. He's also beginning an epic battle to reclaim his sense of belonging in a world that doesn't seem to have a place left for him.

Questions About Isolation

  1. How does Alan's trip to Saudi Arabia affect his already failing sense of belonging?
  2. Why does Alan feel alienated from his co-workers? From the world at large?
  3. In what way does Alan's inability to read people affect his personal and professional lives?
  4. Alan keeps having "out-of-body" experiences in this work. What do they tell us about his character?

Chew on This

Alan's isolation from others is not the result of his bad luck over the years—it's the cause.

While Alan's trip to Saudi Arabia is mostly about money, it's also a big test of his relevance in a quickly evolving world.

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