Open Wounds

Teacher’s Guide

Download a Teacher’s and Book Group’s Discussion Guide for Open Wounds here, or see the questions below:

1. What are the open wounds the title of the novel refers to?

2. What is the importance of Cid’s being Jewish to the story? Is it his religion, his ethnicity, or both? What is the difference between the two? What do you think Cid has learned about this aspect of himself by the novel’s end? What about the other characters in the book? How important are your own religious beliefs to you? How do you feel about the way Cid acts about his?

3. Why do the Brauns leave for Baltimore without Cid? Can you understand why Mr. Braun makes this decision? What would you do if you were in his shoes?

4. What do you think is the theme of the novel? Do you think the author is successful in representing this theme? Why or why not?

5. How does Cid’s world of the 1930s and 1940s compare to the world of today? What’s different and what’s similar? If you could live in Cid’s world would you? Why or why not?

6. Why does Nikolai Varvarinski teach Cid how to fence? What does Lefty mean when he says that Nikolai is just as crippled as he is?

7. Lefty goes walking each day. Where does he go and why does he go there?

8. How has war affected the different characters in the book? How do those most affected by it feel about it and why? What do you think about the reason(s) we went to war in World War One and World War Two? What do you think about the reasons we’re in Iran and Iraq today?

9. Which character do you admire the most and why?

10. What is neurasthenia? Why is it the title of the second part of the book?

11. How has life changed for Siggy between the end of part I of the book and the beginning of part II? What about Tomik Kopecky?

12. How important is the setting and time period to this story? Could it have taken place in any other time period? Why or why not?