The reader sees the world through Patrick's eyes. Like real people, first-person narrators are subject to errors in judgment. They may misinterpret the meaning of events, misunderstand other characters' motivations, or lack the self-insight necessary to understand their own motivations.


Patrick retells his story so that he can get closure and understand why his life has turned out so badly. What are Patrick's limitations as a narrator and an interpreter of events?

1.        What are Patrick's core beliefs about the world and life at the end of 1950?

2.        Once Patrick begins to work for the CIA, his perspective about our government and the world begins to change. What experiences most influence Patrick's career path?

3.        Patrick begins his career as a patriotic young man but ends up as the gunman on the grassy knoll. What is his philosophy of life in each chapter, and how does his philosophy change as he grows older and more experienced?

4.        How does Patrick's voice as a narrator change as he travels from a world of idealism and naiveté to a darker world of experience and knowledge?