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Disgraced: One Book One Campus, 2016-17: For Discussion Leaders

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Ideas for Themes to Discuss

Want some ideas to help get your discussion group talking? Consider asking your group about some of these themes!

  • Role of women in the play (Amir’s mother, Rivkah, Emily, Jory)
  • Orientalism and cultural appropriation (in the text: Emily's art, Isaac's show, the painting from Portrait of Juan De Pareja / on-stage: Does cultural appropriation impact how actors should be cast for this play?)
  • Differences/similarities in how each character views or reacts to Islam (on stage: Emily, Amir, Abe, Isaac, Jory / off-stage: Steven, Mort, Imam Fareed, Amir's mother)
  • Capitalism and immigration (ie Amir's discussion of the evolution of the major law firms)
  • Post-9/11 New York City/America and Islam
  • Amir’s questions of identity, self-representation, and/or self-hatred
  • Identities/affiliations/attitudes of each character (Do they change? Do they match the way the characters represent themselves?)
  • Power relationships/dynamics between characters (Which characters are they between? Do they change throughout the play?)

​​*many of these ideas for themes came from helpful commenters at

Have Questions? Ask a Librarian!

Ask a Librarian

One Production's Discussion Group Guide

Click HERE to download a PDF of a discussion and study guide to Disgraced: A Play, developed by the Alliance Theater at the Woodruff.

(PLEASE NOTE: This resource has been provided to help you become more familiar with the play or develop a similar study guide on your own. The information in this guide has been tailored to fit the Alliance Theater's production of Disgraced: A Play, and may not be wholly accurate or correct to the original text. Studying this guide is not a substitute for reading the play, and it may contain errors or unsupported opinions.)

Ideas for Discussion Questions

Need some ideas for discussion questions? Try some of these, from the ALA's resources for Book Discussion Groups!

  1. How did you experience the book? Were you immediately drawn into the story--or did it take you a while? Did the book intrigue, amuse, disturb, alienate, irritate, or frighten you?

  2. Do you find the characters convincing? Are they believable? Compelling? Are they fully developed as complex, emotional human beings--or are they one-dimensional?

  3. Which characters do you particularly admire or dislike? What are their primary characteristics?

  4. What motivates a given character’s actions? Do you think those actions are justified or ethical?

  5. Do any characters grow or change during the course of the novel? If so, in what way?

  6. Who in this book would you most like to meet? What would you ask—or say?

  7. If you could insert yourself as a character in the book, what role would you play? You might be a new character or take the place of an existing one.

  8. Is the plot well-developed? Is it believable? Do you feel manipulated along the way, or do plot events unfold naturally, organically?

  9. Is the story plot or character driven? In other words, do events unfold quickly? Or is more time spent developing characters' inner lives? Does it make a difference to your enjoyment?

  10. Consider the ending. Did you expect it or were you surprised? Was it manipulative? Was it forced? Was it neatly wrapped up--too neatly? Or was the story unresolved, ending on an ambiguous note?

  11. If you could rewrite the ending, would you? In other words, did you find the ending satisfying? Why or why not?

  12. Can you pick out a passage that strikes you as particularly profound or interesting--or perhaps something that sums up the central dilemma of the book?

  13. Does the book remind you of your own life? An event or situation? A person--a friend, family member, boss, co-worker?

  14. If you were to talk with the author, what would you want to know?

  15. Have you read the author’s other books? Can you discern a similarity—in theme, writing style, structure—between them? Or are they completely different?

  16. Do the issues affect your life? How so—directly, on a daily basis, or more generally? Now or sometime in the future?

  17. What kind of language does the author use? Is it objective and dispassionate? Or passionate and earnest? Is it polemical, inflammatory, sarcastic? Does the language help or undercut the author's premise?

  18. Are the book's issues controversial? How so? And who is aligned on which sides of the issues? Where do you fall in that line-up?

  19. Did you learn something new reading this book? Did it broaden your perspective about a difficult personal issue? Or a societal issue? About another culture in another country... or about an ethnic / regional culture in your own country?”

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One Book One Campus Disgraced: A Play For Students For Discussion Leaders

Basic information on

Disgraced: A Play and our

upcoming One Book One

Campus events!

Detailed information on the play,

as well as clips from

performances and interviews with

the author and cast.

Resources for research on

the play, its themes, and

the art, politics, 

and history of its time.

Helpful resources for leading

a discussion group, ideas for

discussion questions, and tips

on dealing with controversy.


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