The Fall of Rome Discussion Points
1. Why does the author choose to switch points of view? How does seeing the story play out through three distinctly different vantages help in your understanding of the underlying themes and tensions therein?
2. What is the significance of the quotes at the beginning of the novel? How do they help inform your reading?
3.Nothing affects the choices, thoughts, and actions of these characters more than the lens through which they perceive the world. At times it seems as if Jerome, Rashid, and Jana often view those surrounding them not as unique, individual beings, but as hybrids of people and places that they have encountered before. Do you agree or disagree that this is true?
4. Similarly, how much of one's connection with another person has to do with a shared past? Mr. Washington quotes Cicero early in the novel, saying, "Our character is not so much the product of race and heredity as of those circumstances by which nature forms our habits, by which we are nourished and live." Do you agree with this? Is this viewpoint inherently limiting in terms of human relationships, or just harshly realistic? What do you think the novel suggests?
5. At one point Jerome Washington ruminates on what he calls "great kindness and openness," stating, "well, those are not the only virtues. And they are, after all, the ones that cost us the most." What do you think he means by this? Are these virtues more dangerous t