Daily Archives: May 8, 2018

British Soc Con Novels: Blog Post 4 (Remains of the Day)

Kazuo Ishiguro – The Remains of the Day (1989)

Blog posts due / Presentations: Monday, May 21

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing the text. Choose one topic, or make your post a reply to someone else’s post.

For presentations, choose one topic per group. Your presentation must present an opinion or argument; it can’t just summarize the story. You must e-mail or speak to me before your presentation to have it approved.

  1. What does Stevens care most deeply about? Does he believe that he has lived up to his own standards?
  2. Miss Kenton threatens to leave when Lord Darlington fires the Jewish maids, and doesn’t. Is she less wrong, or more wrong, than Stevens, who does nothing?
  3. Realistically, do you think Miss Kenton could have been happy married to Stevens?
  4. Some critics feel the book is funny. Do you agree? Where is there humor in the story?
  5. Ishiguro is famous for having “unreliable narrators.” Give some examples of Stevens’s inability to see things as readers see them. What blinds him, or gets in his way of understanding, especially when it comes to Lord Darlington?
  6. What is the meaning of the “banter” which Stevens feels he should learn to do? Why does he return to that idea at the very end of the novel?
  7. One of the most beautiful scenes in the novel, and one of Stevens’s strongest memories, is him and Miss Kenton watching his father from a window. Why is this such a vivid memory?
  8. What do the characters Stevens meets and stays with during his vacation teach him about himself? Give some examples.
  9. Are there other themes or ideas in the novel you think are interesting?

British Soc & Lit 1 Blog Post 4: Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)

(You can skip chapter 11 if you are short on time)

Presentations & Blog posts due: Thursday, May 17

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing the novel. Choose one topic, or make your post a reply to someone else’s post.

For the presentations, choose one topic per group. Your presentation must present an opinion or argument; it cannot just summarize the story. You must e-mail or speak to me before your presentation to have it approved, at least a few days before.

  1. Can we define Dorian’s nature as either good or evil? Whose fault is it that he becomes corrupt?
  2. “All art is quite useless.” Do you think this is true? Why does Wilde write this? Does the novel prove or disprove this in any way?
  3. What impact does Sibyl’s death have on Dorian? Are there places in the novel where Dorian could easily turn away from evil and change?
  4. The characters in the novel seem selfish. Is it possible that the only person who loves anybody in the novel is James Vane, for his sister Sibyl? Do other people have real love or friendship for others?
  5. Does Dorian continue to derive actual pleasure from his actions as time goes on? If not, what motivates him?
  6. Does Dorian actually cause his own downfall, or is it Lord Henry’s fault? Who is the most to blame?
  7. Does Lord Henry suffer for his actions, or does he get away with what he’s done? Or has he actually done anything wrong?
  8. Is Dorian Gray an immoral book, or does it have a lesson? Do you agree with early critics who said the book was a bad influence on people?
  9. Are there other themes or ideas in the novel you think are interesting?