Study Guide

What I Saw and How I Lied Morality and Ethics

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Morality and Ethics

In What I Saw and How I Lied, Peter tells Evie that she has a true moral compass; she's able to know right from wrong easily. Even so though, she gets confused by all of the fuzzy moral areas in the situations that she finds herself in—from Joe and Peter's theft of Jewish gold during the war, to Bev's affair with Peter, to Joe and Bev's possible involvement in Peter's death. On top of that, Evie has to wrestle with her ideas of right and wrong when it comes to the Graysons and their expulsion from the hotel—simply for being Jewish.

With so much moral gray area in the world, what's a girl to do? Think hard on it, and follow her gut—whether people around her agree with her decisions or not. You go, Evie.

Questions About Morality and Ethics

  1. Why does Mrs. Grayson say that she's glad Evie saw them get thrown out of the hotel?
  2. Do you think Bev was right or wrong to have an affair?
  3. Why does Evie decide to lie on behalf of her parents? Doesn't this conflict with her moral code?

Chew on This

As Evie grows up physically, she also realizes that her own moral compass is challenged and that there is a lot more nuance to the world than she initially thought; she is ultimately put to the test when her parents are accused of committing murder.

Seeing the Graysons kicked out of the hotel marks an important turning point for Evie; she finally learns that the world—including her very own parents—is not as kind and compassionate as she once thought. Other people will do terrible things, and it's up to her to know right from wrong.

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