Study Guide

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Warfare

By M.T. Anderson


Everyone expects war to be ugly, brutal, and violent, but in Octavian Nothing, war—specifically, the American Revolution—is also the worst form of hypocrisy. That's because while the Patriots are fighting against the "tyranny" of British rule, they turn a blind eye or—worse—continue to argue for the true tyranny of slavery in the colonies. In this book, there's open warfare, but also the low rumblings of social discontent and the threat of rebellion by enslaved people too.

Questions About Warfare

  1. How does Octavian's view of the war differ from Goring's view of the war? How are the views similar?
  2. How do the Patriots justify fighting the war with the help of slaves?
  3. Does war make all people the same?
  4. How does the war affect people in the countryside differently from people in the cities?

Chew on This

Even though getting slaves to fight the war was awful, the American Revolution was a necessary thing—after all, we got America out of it.

The fight to create America was not a worthwhile cause since the American Revolution (and, later, America) was built on the enslavement of Africans and other people.

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