Why did George Corell arrange for the town officials to be out of town on the Sunday
morning when the novel opens?
Why does Steinbeck list the exact times for each step of the invasion? What does this
suggest about the invaders?
What does Doctor Winter mean when he likens the invaders to “Time and machines”?
What is Colonel Lanser’s purpose for saying that the invasion is “more an engineering
job than conquest”?
What is the significance of the coal mine?
Why does Colonel Lanser not understand the reason for Mayor Orden’s deference to his
What is Steinbeck suggesting when he writes that Major Hunter “was an arithmetician
rather than a mathematician”? How does this connect to invaders overall?
Why does Colonel Lanser have to remind himself that this war will be different?
What is the purpose of putting Alex Morden on trial?
What is Colonel Lanser referring to when he says that he is a man of “certain memories”?
How does the weather change after the invaders take over the town? Does this reflect
the mood of the soldiers and the townspeople?
How do the soldiers feel about the gas lighted lamps? Does this say anything about
their sense of progress?
What is the dominant mood of the soldiers after Alex Morden is executed? How does
this compare to the mood of the townspeople?
Why does Lieutenant Tonder visit Molly Morden? What is ironic about the poem he recites
How does the underground resistance movement operate in the town?
Why does Orden think small weapons will be effective for the resistance?
When Doctor Winter says, “[I]n a time of need leaders pop up among us like mushrooms,”
what does he mean?
What is significant about the discussion that Mayor Orden, Doctor Winter, and Colonel
Lanser have regarding the words of Socrates in the Apology? Does this say anything
At the end of the novel, Mayor Orden and Doctor Winter are still reciting the last
words of Socrates. How could Socrates’ debt apply to the situation here? Why would
Steinbeck choose to end the book this way?