The questions below are designed to guide your reading, stimulate your thinking, and ground your discussion of the selection during Orientation Week.
Freshman Seminar instructors and discussion leaders may ask you to focus on selected questions, or they may post other questions than the ones below.
Which of Obama's characters do you find most interesting? Is it because you like or dislike, agree with or disagree with them? Or do you have some other reasons for finding them most interesting?
How typical are Barack Obama’s experiences, attitudes, and ideas about race? Can you relate to them? How do his ideas and experiences differ from people in the generations before him and other people in his generation? Does what he writes have anything to say or teach to your generation?
Power is a theme which comes up over and over again in the book. What does Barack Obama think about power? What does he think about people with power and without power? Are there different kinds of power? Is power always bad? What do you think about power personally? What are your experiences with gaining, having, exercising, or understanding power?
You already knew who Barack Obama was before you opened the book. What does reading this book add to your attitude, your views, your understanding, or your evaluation of the current President?
What is a person or event that characters in the book view differently from each other? How do their viewpoints differ? Why do their viewpoints differ? Who do you think has the more correct viewpoint? Why do you think so?
Why is it important for us to have stories and memories of people who were involved in our lives? Are there some people who we really need stories and memories of, e.g., fathers, mothers? What happens if people don’t have those stories?