1. Do you believe a woman like Mary might respond to a man like Jan differently today in the
same circumstances, or might she make the same choices, at age eighteen and later?
2. To what extent do you think Jan’s behavior is justified by the drive and focus he uses to produce his level of achievement and artistry? What do you think of one or more people being sacrificed in the service of a great talent or genius?
3. How important to the story is it that Mary has no friends or family around her? Where do you think this is most clearly illustrated? Do you believe people must have a support system in order to break free of an abusive situation?
4. What do you feel toward Mary? Do you have sympathy for her? Do you think she should have made different choices, stood up for herself better, or tried harder to get out? What other options do you think she had?
5. Do you believe you could ever find yourself in Mary’s situation? What factors might have put you there? Love? Economic dependence? Physical intimidation? Being awed by someone’s great gift, as Mary is by Jan’s? If so, what would you do about it?