Study Guide

How I Live Now Suffering

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For Daisy in How I Live Now, suffering mainly takes the form of starvation. For as long as she can remember, she's been forcing herself to limit her food intake as a form of rebellion. This suffering allows her a sense of control over her own fate, a control she lacks in so many part of her life. The war, however, introduces her to new kinds of suffering: death, destruction, illness, loneliness, fear, and separation from those she holds most dear. In the face of all this suffering, Daisy comes to appreciate what she has and gradually lets go of her self-harming ways.

Questions About Suffering

  1. Why do you think Daisy hasn't been eating? Do you think she's really afraid that her stepmother is poisoning her, or is there another reason for it? Use the text to support your answer.
  2. If Daisy's disordered eating is rooted in issues with her father and stepmother, why does Edmond's comment about her looking better cause her to eat less again?
  3. What inspires Daisy's turnaround and her losing the will to starve? There are several moments where she describes revelations, but is there one moment in particular that you think changes her course? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think Daisy has a true eating disorder, or is her starvation a symptom of an unrelated issue?

Chew on This

If it weren't for the war, Daisy may never have reversed her destructive path toward suffering and starvation.

Piper is what truly inspires Daisy to eat again, both in order to have the strength she needs to care for Piper, and because she sees what hunger does to the younger girl.

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