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Forgotten Fireby Adam Bagdasarian
Reading Group Guide
1. Why do you think the author included the quote from Hitler as the epigraph? Did your ideas change after reading Forgotten Fire?
2. Vahan Kenderian has never known fear until the Turks come to take his father away. He says, “I wished I could go to [my mothers] room and tell her I was afraid. But somehow I knew that I couldnt.” (p. 22) Discuss why Vahan doesnt feel that he can share his fear with his mother.
3. How did the attitude of the Armenian community change once the Turks took possession of the town and began the genocide?
4. Describe the Kenderian family before the Turks shatter their lives. Cite evidence from the novel that Vahan greatly admires his father. Why is Vahan considered the “black sheep” of the family? How does the memory of his father give him the courage he needs to survive?
5. Were you aware of the Armenian genocide before reading this book? What other ethnic wars have occurred since World War II?
6. How does Vahan react when he witnesses the murders of his brothers by the Turkish soldiers?
7. Vahan has several violent experiences during his journey to Constantinople. Discuss his behavior afterward. Did the graphic descriptions disturb your reading?
8. Vahan says that loneliness “transforms the heartiest of souls into a living ash of spiritual doubt and despair.” (p. 130) How does Vahan reveal his “spiritual doubt”?
9. What is Vahans first impression of Selim Bey? How does Vahan discover Selim Beys true nature?
10. Discuss what Vahan means when he says, “I knew that I was free, and that I would never be free.” (p. 270) Are there other countries today that deny freedom to certain citizens based on their ethnicity?
11. How do Dr. and Mrs. Tashian help Vahan on his journey toward a new life?
12. Think about all of the people in Vahans past. How does each of them contribute to his “freedom”? How does each give him courage, even in the smallest way?
13. What is the meaning of the title Forgotten Fire?
14. How does the quote from Hitler relate to the Armenian genocide?
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