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1. Analyze Cal’s relationship to Detroit. Why, at the end, does he tell Chapter Eleven he loves it?
2. What purpose does Cal’s romance with Julie Kikuchi serve in the novel’s structure?
3. Many men in the Stephanides family command some sort of authority, from Milton’s military authority to Zizmo (in the guise of Fard) and Father Mike’s religious authority. Through these characters and others, what does the novel say about masculine authority and patriarchy?
4. What role does religion play in Cal’s family history?
5. Two doctors, Dr. Philobosian and Dr. Luce, play important roles in the novel. How do they differ and what do their characters reveal about medicine, ethics, and humanity?