Welcome to the Unwind wiki!

Your task involves several parts. Read the site entirely and post in Google Docs what you think you will have to do. Label your entry - "On my own" and "As a group". Discuss this after you have posted your entry so that each member shares a his/her idea of the task. Ask any questions of me that you have, but do not ask questions that are obviously the result of failure to read the task closely. Other discussions, reflections, and group essays will be posted on your special space on Google docs.

About Unwind by Neil Shusterman

Get the hype! View these fan-made trailers:



SUMMARY: In the not-too-distant future, teens Connor, Risa, and Lev are on the run for
their lives. Following the Second Civil War, between pro-choice and pro-life
forces, the United States now allows parents to unwind their unwanted and
difficult kids between the ages of thirteen and eighteen: their bodies are
surgically taken apart and all the organs and tissue are used in other people.
According to the law, the kids aren’t considered dead, they’re “living in a
divided state.” But Connor, Risa and Lev, and thousands of other teens
slated for “unwinding,” don’t see it that way. They choose instead to “kick
AWOL,” or run away.

Before you read, on Google docs: Do some research when applicable and post your findings about each of the following that is edited by the group and signed by each group member:

1. In this country, who helped slaves escape before they were free and how did this system work? What were the risks?

2. In Nazi Germany, who helped Jews escape and what were the risks? Look up Oskar Schlindler, Raoul Wallenberg, and Chiune Sugihara and discuss their contributions. Would you ever take the chances they did? Support your answer.

3. The novel takes place after the “Second Civil War.” The real Civil War was
fought, primarily, over the issue of slavery. Learn about recent civil wars in
other countries, such as Rwanda and Sudan. What issues have they been fought over?

4. In your group, discuss the idea of a Second Civil War in this country, and what it might be fought over. Do you think it could happen here?

As a group: Talk about the following. Come to an agreement about your opinion of the statements. Copy and paste the table below into Google docs. Write "agree" or "disagree" in the Before Reading boxes. You must be able to support your opinions orally when asked. Sign your names.

Before Reading
After Reading

The blood ties among families usually are strong enough to overcome conflict.

Loyalty is the most important part of a relationship between family or friends.

Our successes in life often have as much to do with luck as with our choices or abilities.

When in danger, it is best to play it safe rather than take a risk.

In a life-or-death situation, almost any action is forgivable.
Routines for work in class:
  • Monday - review the tasks. Read part of a chapter out loud to each other. Begin your vocabulary work. Assign reading to each other for each night so that you all finish by Thursday or at the latest, the first part of Friday. You may also have a quiz on your vocabulary. Begin researching your essay assignment. Think about your final pieces.
  • Tuesday - Do part of your reading out loud to each other. Review the questions and answer as many as you can. Research and begin your essay, if it is assigned, by discussing online what you want to put in and how you will put this together into a finished post. Do your vocabulary templates.
  • Wednesday - Do part of your reading out loud together. Review the questions. Do the rough draft of your essay. Finish your vocabulary.
  • Thursday - Do part of your reading out loud together. Keep answering questions. Polish your essay. Pay attention to your final pieces. Help each other study the vocabulary.
  • Friday - Post your final weekly essay on Google docs. Finish your comprehension questions. Study your vocabulary. Think about your final project. Help each other study for the vocabulary quiz each Monday.
Routines for work at home:
  • Each night, do the reading that is assigned by the group. You also must write email me a summary paragraph of each chapter. Email instructions are on a separate page on this wiki. Do any work the group assigns you. You may post questions about the group assignments and have conversations with your group members on Google docs. Please sign your posts. Think about your final. Study your vocabulary for the quiz on Monday. You should answer the comprehension questions after you finish the reading. You will need to email me your answers by the due dates your group post on your Google docs space.



1. YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO READ EVERY NIGHT. Most weeks require you to read 50+ pages. Each night, after you read, you will need to write a 5 sentence paragraph about what happened in each section. You need to email these no later than the beginning of the next class; you can do this from home the night before or quickly at the beginning of class. Don't forget to include your name. Also, you should preview the questions and assignments for each time period/chapter before you read.

FYI: Unwind Slang
Kicking AWOL - a runaway teen, scheduled to be unwound, hoping to survive to age
18, said to be “kicking AWOL.”
Bill of Life - the law instituting unwinding.
Boeuf - a soldier, male or female (from the French word for Beef – also the
derivation of the word “buff,” as in muscular).
Chop Shop - the operating room where teen’s bodies are surgically taken
Clappers - suicide-terrorists who have replaced their blood with a
nitroglycerin blend. They blow themselves up by clapping their hands.
Harvest Camp (formerly called “unwinding facilities”) - where teenagers
awaiting unwinding are housed, as well as where the procedure is performed
Humphrey Dunfee - urban legend about an unwind whose parents go crazy
from grief and kill all the recipients of their son’s body parts, in an attempt
to reassemble their son.
Juvey-cops - Police officer specializing in taking down AWOLs.
“Living in a Divided State” -a euphemism for being unwound.
StaHo - State Homes, orphanages where wards of the state stay until their
18th birthday or they are sent to be unwound
Storked - babies who are left on doorsteps. The homeowner is obligated to
keep and raise the child.
Tithe - a child of a religious family who is born and raised to be unwound, as
an act of charity.
Umber - the socially acceptable way to describe someone who is Black. (In
contrast to sienna, the socially acceptable way to describe someone who is

2. Vocabulary for Unwind. Look at the vocabulary acquisition page on this wiki and follow the directions. When you see a page number after a word, you need to read the sentences around the word and make a prediction about the word's meaning before you look it up. You will need to keep these on your computer.

Vocabulary: Your vocabulary for winter term is in bold. You only have to do these words. Don't forget to use kids' Yahoo dictionary.

Week 1:
Part 1 - pp. 3-50
Chapter 1
AWOL , ferreting, arcing, acrid, forethought, sleight of hand, justified, baritone
Chapter 2
facile, premium, impacted, compromised, blatantly, contingencies p. 27
Chapter 6
revulsion p. 43

Week 2:

Part 2 - pp. 53-117:
Chapter 9
Chapter 11
dumbfounded p. 58, dismissive
Chapter 15
ordained p. 77, chiding p. 80
Chapter 16
brazen, exodus, expediency, regiments
Chapter 19
nihilistic, maniacal, anarchists, ferment p. 93, escalate
Chapter 20

Week 3:

Parts 3 & 4 - pp. 121-194:
Chapter 21
peeved, veneer, patois p. 124, lilt, mecca, temporal lobe
Chapter 22
penchant, rote, spartan, strategize
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
inevitability, pulmonary fibrosis
Chapter 28
decommissioned p. 179
Chapter 29

Week 4:

Part 5 - pp. 197-261:
Chapter 32
edict, sequestered p. 198
Chapter 33
douse, pecking orders. tribunal
Chapter 34
rancid, enviable, rueful p. 213, feigns p. 219, seniority, social manipulation, integrity, saunter, ultimatums, loose cannon, diabolical, impertinently, retroactively
Chapter 35
sentry, lax p. 227
Chapter 39

Week 5:

Part 6 - pp. 265-313:
Chapter 59
consolation p. 286, perish
Chapter 62
detonators, grafted, jeers p. 295, pompous p. 296
Chapter 64
Chapter 65

Week 6:

Part 7 - pp. 317-335
Chapter 67
indisputable, scaffolding
Chapter 68
inadvertently, obligatory, stifling
Chapter 69
redemption p. 335

Comprehension questions: Make sure your group posts its due dates on Google docs.

Week 1: Chapters 1-8

Chapter 1: A. Describe Connor. B. Why should Connor have been suspicious of the trucker?
Chapter 2: A. What are the expectations of Risa at StaHo? What’s your estimate of our class if they were all wards of this state; how many would escape Risa’s fate? B. What are the indications by the adults that Risa’s fate is not really a happy one? C. Other than their fate, how are Connor and Risa similar?
Chapter 3: A. Compare and contrast Lev’s experience with those of Risa and Connor. B. What are the differences between Marcus’s, Lev’s parents, and Pastor Dan’s attitudes toward Lev’s tithing?
Chapter 4: A. This book is obviously organized around separate points of view. Do you like this type of telling? Why or why not? B. Do you agree with Connor’s last statement, “ Whatever you’re running from, you won’t get away unless we work together.” What are the strengths and weaknesses of this argument?
Chapter 5: A. What’s the officer’s attitude toward the kids? What are two examples of this?
Chapter 6: A. Look up Stockholm Syndrome, and explain briefly its origin and what it is; how does Lev fake this condition?
Chapter 7: A. What is Connor’s proof that you shouldn’t look too closely at stories very sympathetic to those that are being unwound? B. Why do you think Lev doesn’t run? Do you agree with Connor’s opinion? C. Who do you think is doing the best thinking in this chapter? Explain.
Chapter 8: A. Each character finds out a bit more about the other in this chapter. Explain with examples.

Week 2: Chapters 9-20

Chapter 9: A. At the beginning of Part Two, there are two quotes. Which do you agree with and why? How does it relate to the Bill of Life at the beginning of Part One? B. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Storking Initiative?
Chapter 10: A. Risa’s plan seems to have brought results. Pretend you’re Lev, what would your plan be? What would Connor’s plan be if it were true to his character?
Chapter 11: A. There are hints in this chapter about Connor’s unexpected behavior. Why do you think he put everyone in more danger? B. What evidence in this chapter did you find that indicates this story takes place in the future? C. Analyze both Connor and Risa’s explanations about why they weren’t in the news? What if they’re both wrong; why do you think there isn’t any news of the kids?
Chapter 12: A. Look at http://www.thebody.com/content/art2418.html Read the article. What surprised you about the statistics? What were the explanations given for the higher numbers in some countries and lower in others?
Chapter 13: A. At what point do you think Lev will start to come around to the opinion of others? If he really thinks about it, what is all the “circumstantial” evidence that he should believe as Connor and Risa? What do you think it will it take?
Chapter 14: A. What DID happen to the next baby she found in the Nile? B. How could Lev’s attitude toward Connor change in this chapter? There are at least two reasons.
Chapter 15: A. Lev’s whole life is in crisis right now. There is a ball park analogy. Briefly explain how it works. B. This chapter demonstrates Lev’s ability to think quickly. Explain. C. If he meets Connor and Risa again, how do you think they will react to him? What could he say that would cause them to react differently?
Chapter 16: A. “In this case, necessity is the mother of compliance”. What does this mean in the context of Risa’s and Connor’s situation? B. Teachers seem to be out of compliance. Why do you think they would be? What are some other situations you can think of that teachers might break or bend rules or laws?
Chapter 17: A. Look at your Unwind slang. What are clappers? B. Why do you think Lev hails them?
Chapter 18: A. Why doesn’t Lev just call his parents? After all, they’re well off and connected.
Chapter 19: A. If Connor did not get unwound and was able to grow up, what do you think he would become? Support your answer. B. Hayden says (about Roland), “The only reason he’s being so nice to you is he believes in the sanctity of the nuclear family.” What does this mean, and can you figure out what Connor can’t seem to: Is Hayden being sarcastic or not? Support your answer with the information you know about Roland. C. What is the purpose of the letter writing? D. Write the letter you think Risa would write: Two full paragraphs.
Chapter 20: A. Which is worse…”To have tens of thousands of babies that no one wanted, or to silently make them go away before they were even born.” Risa doesn’t have an answer. What is your choice and why did you make it? B. Connor doesn’t think taking the baby was all that bad; Risa may think differently. Looking back on all they have gone through in Part Two, what were the advantages and disadvantages of Connor’s impulsive baby snatching?

Week 3: Chapters 21-31

Chapter 21: A. Do you think the “CiFi wisdom” on p. 125 would actually be appreciated? Why or why not? B. In this chapter, Lev makes a break from his parents. Compare and contrast what he says about his parents with what you know about yours. Do you think you will be like them or not when you grow up? Explain. C. How does CiFi’s situation make the Humphrey Dunfree legend more real? D. What evidence do you have that Lev has good survival skills, emotionally and mentally?
Chapter 22: A. What problems do these unwinds have being together? Is there something to why they were candidates for unwinding? B. What is redeemable about Connor that Risa doesn’t see? C. Explain why Roland thinks Connor is a threat; obviously Connor doesn’t see it.
Chapters 23 and 24: A. What is the purpose of these chapters?
Chapter 25: A. p. 153 – “He has no idea that Risa and Connor have him on an invisible leash. Connor knows it will only be a matter of time; however, until he chews his way through it.” What does this mean? Aren’t the two sentences contradictions?
Chapter 26: A. At the beginning of Part Four, a seller is turned away from eBay. Who do you think would buy his/her soul? Why would they do this? How much do you think it might be worth? B. What does chapter 26 illustrate? C. What other crimes can you think of that may be described as honorable?
Chapter 27: A. Hayden would rather die. Would you rather die or be unwound? Explain. B. About the idea of souls: Whose opinion to you share? Why? C. What is the purpose of Hayden in this chapter?
Chapter 28: A. What do you think about the sanctuary to which the kids have been brought? Is it all that it seems to be?
Chapter 29-31: A. Do you think Cy-Ty’s journey is truly over? Explain. B. Evaluate what good Lev has gotten out of the experience, and what bad, then explain what type of person Lev is now. Would Connor like this Lev better than the one he remembers and regrets?

Week 4: Chapters 32-50

Chapter 32: A. Check out http://www.roadlesstravelled.com.au/worlds-largest-aircraft-graveyard-tucson-arizona-usa/ and list five facts. B. Rewrite the rules, pretending they are for our class, but keeping their essence. C. How does the author's choice of this setting mirror the Unwinds situation? This is more than just one reason.
Chapter 33: A. How did Connor, the Admiral, and the tribunal impact Risa’s life?
Chapter 34: A. Who do you know that has characteristics like Connor? Like Roland? What are some examples of their behavior that relate to the two characters? B. In this chapter, some mysteries are solved and some are new. Explain. C. What are the Admiral’s real reasons for creating the camp? D. Do you think the author is setting up a show-down between Roland and Connor? Do you think Roland really committed the crime? Why or why not?
Chapter 35: A. It seems that Lev has joined an organization with ties to the outside world, and it seems the mystery of the dead Goldens is solved. What do you think their “game” is, and on what evidence do you base your opinion?
Chapter 36: A. What do you think Lev and his “friends” would be doing in Alaska?
Chapter 37: A. So the legend of Humphrey Dunfee has become more clear. What do you think Emby has to do with it?
Chapter 39: A. Why do you think Roland would want to sabotage the camp? What would conditions be like under Roland? Could the camp even operate under Roland? Why or why not?
Chapters 40-46: A. For each of these chapters, which are, as usual, from various perspectives, write a different title, one that reveals a bit about what’s happening, but is still mysterious enough to make someone want to read more.
Chapter 47: A. How has the medical field changed from what it’s like today? B. What makes Roland think he will not be rounded up with the rest of the Unwinds?
Chapter 48: A. Who wins this argument? Explain.
Chapter 49: A. This chapter reveals Roland’s character. How would you explain him to someone who hasn’t read the book? What actor could play him? Or is there someone you know who could do this character justice?
Chapter 50: A. Look up the terms “irony”, “hyperbole”, and “metaphor”. Which of the terms does this chapter represent?

Week 5: Chapters 51-65

Chapter 51: A. How could Connor’s reputation make a difference in the harvest camp? B. A euphemism is a nice or innocent label, word, or name that stands for something that is disagreeable or horrible. What are the two euphemisms on p. 265?
Chapter 52: A. Every Unwind seems to have to confront the question that Risa confronts, and sometimes more than once, “What good are you?” How does our society evaluate the worth of a person? Is this fair or unfair? B. How does Risa show her brains in this chapter?
Chapter 53: A. Why would the Terribles hate the Tithes? B. What does Roland do that is so “in character”?
Chapter 54: A. Lev is supposed to be in Alaska? What do you think happened? Do you think this is part of his plan? What might be his plan?
Chapter 55: A. skim the following site: http://www.cympm.com/orkest.html How is Risa’s experience both similar to and different from those of the prisoners in Nazi Germany?
Chapter 56: A. Does Roland’s decision surprise you? Do you think if Connor had the upper hand, he would have stopped? Why or why not? Compare Roland and Connor. What are the similarities and differences in them?
Chapter 57: A. What are the differences between terrorists we have today and clappers? B. Fill in the blank: Lev is not satisfied unless he _.
Chapter 58: A. What movie or book does this remind you of? Describe the similarities.
Chapter 59: A. What is really sad about this chapter?
Chapter 60-61: A. Why do you think everybody want to know about their own unwinding? B. Write a two-paragraph reflection about chapter 61.
Chapter 62: A. How can Connor’s phrase, “Nice socks” be applied here? Would Connor actually say this to Lev if he knew? Explain.
Chapter 64: A. Compare the way Connor accepts his fate with the way Roland accepted his.
Chapter 65: A. A series of lies are listed on p. 305. In your opinion, are they lies if you’re depressed and/or desperate, and/or you believe wholeheartedly in a cause? B. Is it strength, as the author writes, that causes Lev to change or is it something else? Explain. C. The author has omitted Risa from the latter part of this chapter. Why do you think he did?

Week 6: Chapters 66-69

Chapter 66: A. The first Einstein quote seems to support unwinding. How does it do this? B. Connor has to absorb quite a bit of good news. Do you think he also has to absorb some bad news? Explain. C. Now that you’ve learned about irony, what’s the irony in this chapter?
Chapter 67: A. What choice did Risa have? Do you think she will reconsider when she turns 18? Why or why not?
Chapter 68: A. Pastor Dan says, “No one knows whether you’re a monster or a hero.” To which Lev replies, “Is there a third choice?” Pretend there is, what would you label it? Use one word. B. Why do you think Lev, of all the characters, became a clapper? C. What do you think of Pastor Dan? In our lives, there are lawyers who defend those who are guilty. Compare and contrast them to Paster Dan.
Chapter 69: A. What is Purgatory? Why would it be appropriate for Hayden to greet someone this way? B. Why did Connor and Risa go back? C. There are many perspectives in this book, and they all seem to converge in this last chapter. How are they the same? How are they different?

Essay questions: Each essay needs to be between 250-350 words. The group must generate, edit and sign these documents. They must be posted on Google docs.

Week 1:
Find out how many people receive organs per year in the U.S. What is the process to donate organs? How are the organs handled and delivered? Is it better to have a live organ donation or an organ donated from a cadaver? What is the potential for abuse in live donations? Make sure with the last part of this question that you look at Third World countries and their organ donation policies or the lack of them.

Week 2:
In our country, there are thousands of "unwanted" teens who choose to run away rather than endure their parents' rules and/or abuse. What agencies do we have locally that help these kids? What are the current national statistics on runaways? What is their fate?

Week 3:
On p. 120, at the beginning of Part Three, there is a quote taken from a BBC investigation into the theft and deaths of babies in the maternity ward. The following site goes a bit farther into the "mystery": http://journalchretien.net/6620-death-for-dollars-ukrainian Read the article, then read the following article http://usliberals.about.com/od/stemcellresearch/i/StemCell1_2.htm Supposedly, the stem cells are harvested and sent to a clinic in Barbados that purports to use them to make folks feel and look better. How do you think stem cell harvesting can be accomplished ethically, or should it be accomplished? Where do you stand on this moral problem?

Week 4:
In Unwind, the Second Civil War was fought between pro-life and pro-choice forces. Where does your group stand on the issue of abortion? What is the reasoning behind your opinion(s)? Reread the first page of the book, entitled "The Bill of Life". Look up the fourteenth amendment to our constitution. This amendment has been used as the basis for pro-abortion "forces" in our country. How is it used to support their claim? There are quite a few sites in which people discuss whether this is a pro-life or pro-choice book. What do you think?

Week 5:

Imagine your reaction if you were the recipient of donated organs from unwound teens. How would you feel? What about if someone in your family was about to receive organs from unwound teens? Would you feel differently? What if our own society put into effect a law in which criminals would be unwound. Would you feel differently about the practice of unwinding?

Week 6:

Imagine you were the recipient of many of the body parts of the teen characters. Which parts of each character would you choose? Explain the reasons for your choices.


Individually: Risa’s band plays “Don’t Fear the Reaper” among other songs for the teens who are going to be unwound, the "song of the damned." Put together a set list of songs your band would play if you were performing at a Harvest Camp and burn a CD of 15 second clips of the songs. Explain your choices on the inside jacket. Create art and a title for the outside of the album.

With your group: Design a poster than supports unwinding. Design a poster that condemns unwinding. You may use collaging techniques from magazines or any other art medium available in the room. For some help, go to:
http://www.schooleymitchell.com/english/charity/och_common_questions2.php?id=1 This website asks the question, "What are my religion's viewpoints on organ donation? These viewpoints could be used to support the Bill of Life!

With your group: Revisit the anticipation guide that you filled out during prereading activities and fill it out. Be prepared to answer questions about it orally.

Individual reflection: 500 word minimum. 12 point, Times New-Roman

What are your own ideas about harvesting organs, euthanasia (look it up), and abortion? Has this book changed how you previously felt about these issues?

Reread Chapter 27 - What are your personal beliefs about the soul? Do you disagree with any of the characters?

Which character do you think you are most similar to in the story; think in terms of the character’s fight for survival and personal beliefs? Explain.

Did you like this book? Why or why not?