Study Guide

The Mysterious Benedict Society Community

By Trenton Lee Stewart

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There may be an "I" in "community," but there is no "I" in "team," and that's what community comes down to in The Mysterious Benedict Society: four children assembled to work as a team to take down Ledroptha Curtain and his evil machinery. And these four kids? They're all pretty used to being I's—working alone and not depending on anyone else.

So the team thing is totally new for them, and in the beginning they're not all convinced that working as a team will yield better results than working as individuals—or that every member of the team has value (ahem, we're looking at you, Constance). But as they get to know one another and trust in the whole team thing, they begin to discover just how powerful and satisfying it can be.

Questions About Community

  1. Mr. Benedict keeps insisting that all four children are essential to the success of the team, but come on—isn't at least one of them expendable? Explain which member of the team the others probably could have succeeded without. Or, if you can't get behind that idea, explain why each member of the team was actually necessary.
  2. Each of the kids is at some point doubtful of the team's ability to complete the mission. When does this occur for each of the four kids and what prompts it? What encourages each of them go on and trust in the team anyway?
  3. Do you prefer to work alone or with others? Why? What do you think the advantages are of each approach?
  4. Who's the best team player in the book? Who's the worst? Why?

Chew on This

Constance gets an unfairly bad rap because, in truth, she's a valuable member of the team from the get go.

The only valuable thing Constance does is out-stubborn Mr. C in the Whisperer.

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