Study Guide

Seven Madness

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Some people think that folks who move to a city have got to be crazy—higher rents, smaller spaces, more crime. Some people think that folks who move to the country have got to be crazy—no people, nothing to do, boring.

Both of these types of crazies are in Seven. Mills has moved to the city while Somerset wants out of it, and this leads to conflict between the two. Oh, there's also someone carving up people because he's doing God's work. He's a little kooky, too.

Questions About Madness

  1. Is John Doe crazy, clever, or both?
  2. Why does Mills think Doe is crazy? Why does Somerset try to talk Mills out of labeling Doe insane?
  3. Is Mills delusional for thinking he can solve the crime and stop Doe?
  4. If Doe had survived and pleaded insanity, would a judge or jury have believed him? How would it have affected his punishment?

Chew on This

John Doe is crazy but not in the cartoonish way that Mills wants him to be. Doe is an extra-dangerous combination of insanity, self-importance, patience, and planning.

The FBI tracks people's library checkouts to catch people who read volatile texts, but maybe they should be tracking composition book purchases. Anyone who purchases 2,000 composition books has to be insane.

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