For those literary groups that will be using The Second Ring in bookgroups or library study, this is a list of suggested discussion points that will help to guide you through the story and its interpretation.
1. The prologue gives away the whole story. Why do you think the author decided to put the end of the story at the beginning?
2. When Axel was employed by the Baron, he was abused by Bruno, his nemesis from school. Why do you think he kept going back to the Baron’s, night after night, when he knew he would be abused again?
3. Why does the Baron say that operettas are worth listening to?
4. The author has stated that there were two other secondary themes that were not able to be used in the story. One was having Axel buy a set of gold rings for Klaus and himself (to be worn on fingers–or elsewhere), and the other was having a character read the book “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” Why do you think these might have been compelling images and ideas in this story? Why do you think they were set aside and not used?
5. Two short stories are stated as being inspirational to the form of this story. One is Ambrose Bierce’s “Occurrence at Owl-Creek Bridge”, and the other is Frank Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger?”. Can you tell what these very different stories might have contributed to the book’s structure and theme?