Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Freedom / Confinement

By Carrie Ryan

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Freedom / Confinement

Would you rather spend your life bound in an unhappy marriage or trapped in a Cathedral of spooky Sisters? When it comes to freedom versus confinement, it's not always a lock-and-key/ball-and-chain situation. Sure Mary was confined in the Cathedral, but it was her longing for the Outside world that turned the key in that lock. And while the marriage ceremony would bind her to Harry, her desire for Travis ultimately forged the ball and chain she felt. See what we mean? There are lots of different kinds of freedom, and perhaps even more kinds of confinement. The characters in The Forest of Hands and Teeth experience many of them.

Questions About Freedom / Confinement

  1. How do Mary's and Cass's definitions of freedom differ?
  2. If Gabby hadn't come into the picture, would Mary have fought as hard as she did for the ocean?
  3. Was freedom worth the cost for Mary/Harry/Travis/Cass/Jed?
  4. In what ways are Harry and Travis just as confined as Mary?

Chew on This

Though Harry never had to experience the horrors of the Sisterhood, his life is just as confined as Mary's.

Mary's definition of freedom is much less realistic than Cass's definition.

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