Step into a world where love and friendship collide with creativity and fame. In the captivating novel, “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin, two lifelong friends embark on an extraordinary journey of video game design – a path that will change their lives forever.
Sam Masur and Sadie Green join forces, their hearts intertwined yet never romantically involved, as they set out to conquer the gaming industry. From the frosty streets of Harvard to the sun-soaked shores of Venice Beach, their story unfolds over three decades filled with triumph, tragedy, and the pursuit of immortality.
In this discussion guide, we will have a look at some amazing book club questions for Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, simultaneously exploring how Zevin’s intricate narrative explores identity, disability, and the power of connection in this spellbinding love story like no other.
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Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow Book Club Questions
- The book explores the interplay of friendship, business, and the pressures of a highly competitive, male-dominated industry. Sadie is frequently overlooked due to her gender and must adapt her personality to survive in the gaming world, a situation that exacerbates the creative differences between her and Sam.
Do you think Sadie’s experiences with sexism in the industry influenced her relationship with Sam and their professional collaborations, specifically her decision to consistently give in to Sam’s commercial game concepts rather than push for her own high-concept game ideas?
- The cultural, economic, and familial backgrounds of Sadie and Sam offer stark contrasts, potentially providing distinct perspectives on their shared journey. Sadie, who comes from a privileged, white, Jewish background, deals with the societal pressures of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Sam, part Korean and less privileged economically, suffers from the loss of his mother and subsequent upbringing by his Korean grandparents, as well as physical disability due to his injured foot.
How do these respective backgrounds shape their dynamic, both on a personal level as friends and on a professional level as collaborators in the gaming industry?
- The book offers a powerful narrative about the evolution of Sam and Sadie’s relationship from childhood friends to business partners and the struggles they encounter along the way. One pivotal point in their relationship is Sam’s revelation of his liberal political views and his decision to make marriages between all genders possible in his game.
Considering the era’s restrictive marriage laws, how did this bold move impact his personal journey and relationships, particularly with Sadie, and how did it affect their company, Unfair Games, in the broader societal context?
- Sadie’s journey through acute grief after Marx’s death, her withdrawal, and subsequent postnatal depression form a major subplot in the book. Sam tries to reach out to her by designing a game he knows she’ll love. However, when Sadie realizes the game was designed by Sam, she feels tricked and betrayed.
In what ways does this event illustrate the complexities and potential misunderstandings in their relationship, especially given the intersection of personal emotions and professional dynamics?
- We all know that Samson Masur experiences significant trauma in his early life due to the loss of his mother and a debilitating injury. These experiences, in turn, shape his personality and decision-making throughout the novel. Notably, his emotional defensiveness impacts his ability to express love openly, even towards the most significant individuals in his life like Sadie. However, as the narrative progresses, he begins to challenge his own emotional barriers, particularly after the death of his roommate, Marx.
Discuss the impact of trauma on Sam’s interpersonal relationships and his emotional evolution throughout the story.
- The character Marx Watanabe underscores the critical, yet often overlooked role of a producer in creative endeavors. Despite being branded as ordinary by Sam, Marx contributes significantly to Unfair Games and acts as a bridge between Sadie and Sam. Even in his tragic death, Marx demonstrates heroism, shielding a co-worker from gunfire.
In the context of Marx’s role and his eventual act of bravery, can we consider him as the true hero of the narrative? Also, how does Marx’s portrayal challenge traditional definitions of heroism and what might the author be suggesting about the value of behind-the-scenes contributions in creative industries?
- Throughout the novel, Sadie and Sam develop a complex, evolving relationship. Initially presented as a bright, self-aware 11-year-old who forms a deep bond with Sam, Sadie’s character evolves into an independent, assertive woman who is capable of standing up for her beliefs. Yet, even as she grows, Sadie continues to see Sam as both a confidante and a rival, struggling to express her deepest feelings openly.
How does their relationship illuminate the multifaceted nature of human relationships, and in what ways does it contribute to their individual character arcs? What might the author be conveying about the challenges and rewards of such deep-seated friendships?
- The concept of play, symbolized through the gaming world in the novel, serves as a beacon of hope amid the gloomy realities the characters confront. Zevin suggests that playfulness might be an inherent human trait, offering a buffer against despair. Furthermore, she asserts that video games, as an art form, allow individuals to momentarily escape the harsh realities of life and embrace a world of possibilities.
How do the characters in Zavin’s novel use play and the art of video games to cope with their losses and traumas, and how does this interplay between reality and the virtual world offer them a renewed sense of hope?
- The novel also introduces Sam’s mother, Anna Lee, another character who endures sexism. However, Anna’s experiences are magnified due to her racial identity, adding a layer of complexity to her struggle. She experiences harassment at her workplace from Chip Willingham, her co-host on the game show ‘Press that Button’. This harassment, paired with the expectation of maintaining a positive exterior, puts an immense burden on her.
Reflect on how the intersectionality of sexism and racism further exacerbate Anna’s experiences and what coping mechanisms she employs to navigate this hostile environment.
- The novel concludes with a candid discussion between Sam and Sadie about their long-held insecurities. These insecurities have shaped their relationship and prevented them from exploring potential romantic feelings. Yet Sadie declares that what they have is more exceptional than a common romantic relationship.
How does this conversation and Sadie’s statement serve to redefine their relationship and their understanding of their bond? Does this acceptance of an unconventional relationship make a broader commentary on the novel’s central themes of identity, love, and friendship?
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