At several points, Miss Lonelyhearts seems very aware of Melville’s Bartleby, The Scrivener. Do you think the city is alienating in the same way to Miss Lonelyhearts as it was to Bartleby? Does Miss L respond to the same way as Bartleby?
Why does Julius tell stories to John and Annie? Do they react identically or in different ways?
********I’m happy to see whatever people post here, and many of the posts have awakened me to unnoticed details, so write as you please. At the same time, my intention wasn’t to assign people six short papers over the semester. Even if I start with several questions, feel free to write only a well formed paragraph, to offer a single thoughtful idea, that others might respond to. This can be a conversation.***********
Vandover’s mental and physical degeneration through the novel is accompanied by a downward social spiral. How are these two movements connected? What is the relationship between the social structure of the city and Vandover’s degenerative pathology? Why does this happen to him, in particular, and not to other characters? What kinds of implicit fears of urban space does the novel seem to have?
What drives the actions of one or two characters in Vandover? Are these characters rational? Conscious and intentional about what they do? Look at one or two particular moments in the text as examples.
Do you have ideas about what makes up a conventional ghost story? Is The Turn of the Screw consistent with those conventions or not? How would you describe the way that the narrator listens to Douglass in the framing section at the start of the story?
How would you describe Edna Pontelier’s connection to reality, to the tangible world and social interactions around her? How would you characterize her emotional reactions? Is there a particular passage that speaks to your understanding of Edna’s way of seeing the world as it exists outside herself?