Study Guide

How I Live Now Foreignness and "The Other"

By Meg Rosoff

Foreignness and "The Other"

The "Other" in How I Live Now is the unnamed Enemy that occupies England and sets the events of the novel in motion. Fleeing from the Enemy leads Daisy and her cousins into a variety of dangerous situations, during which we also get to hear from soldiers and townspeople about the war and the Enemy. Spoiler alert: The Enemy is super evil, is occupying England for no reason, and is responsible for pretty much anything that goes wrong. At the same time, the Enemy is so much less competent than the British army that they're obviously going to lose. Or so everyone seems to say…

Questions About Foreignness and "The Other"

  1. Would Daisy have developed any negative feelings toward the Enemy if her family hadn't been displaced during the war? How can you tell?
  2. What do you think the war is really about? Does Rosoff provide any hints to what the real issue is that causes foreigners to occupy England?
  3. Aside from the Enemy, are there others instances of foreignness discussed in the novel? How does the theme relate to Daisy herself?
  4. Are the ways in which we treat foreigners or others today similar to the way the British treat the Enemy?

Chew on This

If the Enemy were named instead of unknown, it would not have seemed as fearsome and ominous.

Most of what Daisy and the other characters say and believe about the Enemy is likely a lie.

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