Study Guide

Unwind Sacrifice

By Neal Schusterman

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The average teenager makes pretty small sacrifices in the grand scheme of things. Unless you're being forced to participate in the Hunger Games, you may have had to go without a new iPhone or do homework instead of going out with friends.

In Unwind, like most young adult novels, the situation is a little more serious. It's literally life and death, and our protagonists either have to make huge sacrifices for freedom or prepare to sacrifice their own lives for what they think is the greater good. Sacrificing video game time to work a part-time job suddenly doesn't seem that bad.

Questions About Sacrifice

  1. Why are some children considered tithes? Why do these families extend the tithing process to their own flesh and blood?
  2. What sacrifices do Connor and Risa have to make on their journey to freedom? What patterns do you notice, if any, and what does this tell you about the sacrifice as a theme?
  3. Why does Lev have no qualms about sacrificing himself as an unwind?
  4. Lev prepares to sacrifice himself at Happy Jack Harvest Camp, but his reasons have changed. What are his reasons at the end of the book, and why did he change his mind? Does he change his mind again?

Chew on This

Risa isn't used to making sacrifices because as an orphan, she's never had anything to sacrifice.

The children who are told they'll be unwound at a young age come to see it as a noble sacrifice, as if they're giving up something for the benefit of everyone else. And in a way, they are.

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