Study Guide

Nothing Sacrifice

By Janne Teller


Sacrifice is perhaps the most straightforward of all the themes in Nothing. There's no metaphor here; people are literally giving up the things that are most important to them. In the case of Oscarlittle, Cinderella, and, ultimately, Pierre Anthon, they actually sacrifice their lives, though not intentionally. Which leads us to ask: if it's not intentional, is it still a sacrifice?

Questions About Sacrifice

  1. Does Pierre Anthon intend to sacrifice his life when he walks into the sawmill? How can you tell either way?
  2. Who do you think makes the greatest sacrifice? Who sacrifices the least? What makes you say so?
  3. There was never any discussion of reclaiming the sacrificed items once Pierre Anthon had seen them. What do you think the kids originally planned to have happen to them, before the sacrifices became unrecoverable?
  4. How do you think the museum planned to preserve the heap of meaning for display? (Okay, that one's a little off-topic, but we're really curious.)

Chew on This

Each sacrifice is exponentially greater than the one before.

The heap of meaning would have looked very different if there had been a rule forbidding revenge sacrifices.

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