Study Guide

Child 44 Patriotism

By Tom Rob Smith


If they let us name Child 44, we'd definitely go with Patriots Gone Wild. In the novel, we're taken to the heart of the Soviet Union in an era when even thinking something negative about the government was considered a capital offense. Though there are some in the government, like Leo, who wholeheartedly buy into the patriotic propaganda, there are many, like Vasili, who merely use it as a tool to achieve their own ends. But it's not until Leo's unflappable faith in the State gets straight up flapped that we understand how misguided knee-jerk patriotism can be.

Questions About Patriotism

  1. What causes Leo to lose faith in the State?
  2. Is Vasili a true patriot? Explain.
  3. Why does Leo want to remain in Russia, even if it leads to his death?
  4. How is patriotism used to control the masses?

Chew on This

Though he does plenty of awful things, Leo remains a good guy because he sincerely believes in the patriotic propaganda fed to him.

Though Leo eventually loses his faith in the State, he becomes almost more patriotic as a result, shifting his admiration from the Soviet government to the Russian people.