Study Guide

The Mysterious Benedict Society Power

By Trenton Lee Stewart

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In addition to all his manipulating messages, Mr. Curtain has come up with a few strategies to help him gain and maintain power. His favorite method? You guessed it: fear. He uses fear to control people a lot (and control is key to his end game). But he has a few other tricks up his sleeve, too. Or maybe hidden under the seat cushion of his wheelchair. Or locked in his book cabinet. Wherever they are, his tricks and his methods are fairly effective, except when they're not. How's that for a logical conclusion? It seems about right based on Mr. C's logic in The Mysterious Benedict Society, doesn't it?

Questions About Power

  1. What emotion does Mr. Curtain think is the key to controlling all human behavior? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
  2. What emotions seem to motivate Sticky, Reynie, Kate, and Constance to take the risks they take leading up to their final confrontation with Mr. Curtain in the Whispering Gallery? Does this support Mr. Curtain's theory about the emotion that governs most human behavior? Why or why not?
  3. How does Mr. Curtain's need for power and control backfire on him? There's more than one answer to this question, for sure, so try to come up with at least two examples, and be certain that one of them involves his last little sit down in the Whisperer.

Chew on This

Mr. Curtain doesn't succeed, but ultimately he's right: fear is the biggest motivator when it comes to human behavior.

When it comes right down to it, love is a greater motivator than fear, and that's why Mr. Curtain will never win.

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