82 pages 2 hours read

Scott Westerfeld


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2009

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After Reading

Discussion/Analysis Prompt

Leviathan is told from a third-person limited perspective that alternates equally and consistently between two characters’ points of view. By doing so, the author suggests similarities between the viewpoint characters. How do Alek’s and Deryn’s journeys in the novel mirror each other? What similarities or points of connection exist between them, despite their entirely disparate backgrounds? How does the juxtaposition between the two protagonists allow the author to convey one or more major themes in the book?

Teaching Suggestion: If students are unfamiliar with the term, this prompt can be used to introduce the idea of character foils. Students might be prompted to consider Alek and Deryn as explicit character foils and to connect their analysis of the novel’s themes to the way that similarities and differences between the two protagonists highlight each one’s important qualities and reinforce narrative and character arcs in the text.

This prompt may be expanded further to reflect on the foil between Darwinist and Clankers in the novel. Students also may analyze other textual elements that juxtapose the two settings or the two characters. Many editions of the novel include illustrations that may be helpful; students might analyze the illustrations and compare the depictions of Alek’s and Deryn’s physicality, as well as the physical representations of Darwinist beasts and Clanker machines.