Study Guide

Where Things Come Back Lust

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It's summertime in Lily, and sex is in the air. Since we've got ourselves a hot-blooded teenage boy as our narrator in Where Things Come Back, it makes sense that we get a lot of insight into Cullen's sexual desires. From the memory of his first sexual encounter, to his clumsy attempts to date Alma, to his final goal—sleeping with Ada—we get to see Cullen's, er, journey. Even as he works through his grief and anger at the world, we also get to see his sexual side—which is the side of him that's growing up and moving on, despite Lily's attempts to hold him back. 

Questions About Lust

  1. Why does Cullen start laughing after the first time he has sex?
  2. What attracts Alma to Cabot in the first place? What attracts her to Cullen?
  3. Do you think that Cullen's relationship with Ada is mostly sexual? 

Chew on This

Alma pursues Cullen because he represents the opposite of what she's running away from in Cabot. He is mild-mannered, young, and does not want to have sex with her right away.

Even though Cullen claims to love Ada, he sees her as more of a fulfillment of his sexual and romantic fantasies than a real person. 

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