35 pages 1 hour read

Tracy Kidder

Strength in What Remains

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2000

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Essay Topics


The title comes from an English Romantic-era poem, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.” This poem, which Kidder attaches to the book as an epigraph, is a nostalgic recollection of the state of youthful innocence, when death seems impossible. Does the poem seem relevant to Deo’s experience? Why did Kidder choose his title from it? 


Kidder’s portrayal of Sharon McKenna is unequivocally positive, but Deo’s recollection of her is more ambivalent. Why is there ambivalence on Deo’s part toward the woman that helped him at a crucial moment of his life? 


One of the most shocking moments during Deo’s escape is when he encounters a dead woman in a grove, with a live baby at her side. Deo continues to flee, leaving the infant behind. What do you think about Deo’s choice?