Study Guide

Nation Life, Consciousness, and Existence

By Terry Pratchett

Life, Consciousness, and Existence

If Terry Pratchett lived in ancient Greece, he'd keep company with Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, spouting off all sorts of philosophical witticisms and bon mots. His characters all wax philosophically on life, love, what it means to be human, and more. Mau and Daphne are no different. They do it with a wonderful dry sense of humor too, to keep you laughing while you're thinking. That's why we like them so much.

Questions About Life, Consciousness, and Existence

  1. Why does Mau spend so much time searching for answers to questions that have no answers? (Like this one!)
  2. At the very end of the book, the old man sees a dolphin jumping into the air, just like in the legends and stories of his culture. It's a perfect ending for the book, but are there such things are perfect endings in real life? Does life have a meaning and order to it, or is everything just random? And what's so special about dolphins?
  3. What does Nation seem to believe about the afterlife? Is there a world beyond this one?

Chew on This

Nation tries to answer a lot of life's questions through science, but it concedes that there will always be unexplainable magic in the world.

People across the world are too different to ever come up with One Right Answer to any of life's questions. Answers are culturally relative.