St. Burl’s Obituary
About the book:
Q. What do you think of Burl as the hero of the story? Is he an everyman? Do you think Akst wants the reader to identify with Burl?
Q. Burl’s weight is the central factor in his life, and perhaps in the book. What is the significance of Burl’s weight to his life and to the story?
Q. Many of the characters and even inanimate objects in this novel have odd names (Gardenia’s, Engel, Chrysalis Motor Lodge, and so on). How does Akst use names to reveal the significance of the characters and places?
Q. The epigraph is taken from the book The Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory about a pilgrim, Christian, who flees the City of Destruction with a great weight on his back. What does this tell us about St. Burl’s Obituary?
Q. Discuss die use of religion and religious metaphor in the book.
Q. What does Burl’s journey tell us about our culture?
Q. Burl goes by several different names during the course of die book. How does Burl’s identity change throughout die book? Does the surprise ending change it? Is Burl the same person at the end as he was at the beginning?
Q. What did you think of the ending? Do you think Burl will regain his weight? Does it matter at this point?