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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
  1. $18.19 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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You Can't Go Home Again (Perennial Classics)

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You Can't Go Home Again (Perennial Classics) Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

Plot Summary
George Webber has written a successful novel about his family and hometown. When he returns to that town, he is shaken by the force of outrage and hatred that greets him. Family and life-long friends feel naked and exposed by what they have seen in his books, and their fury drives him from his home.

Outcast, George Webber begins a search for his own identity. It takes him to New York and a hectic social whirl; to Paris with an uninhibited group of ex-patriots; to Berlin, lying cold and sinister under Hitler's shadow. The journey comes full circle when Webber returns to America and rediscovers it with love, sorrow, and hope. Discussion Topics
1. Despite George Webber's belief that he was not influenced by his aunt's puritanical, mountain-clan upbringing, what effects do you think her " endless stories of death and sorrow" had on him? How was his character influenced by his father's abandonment of the family for another woman, and by his mother's death from a broken heart?

2. Of George's editor in the novel it is said, " Fox really has no hope that men will change, that life will ever get much better." What of George? Does he have hope? What does he see in the future for himself and America? How does George's attitude evolve over the course of the novel?

3. Discuss the author's use of the metaphor of the honeycomb throughout the novel and what the image symbolizes. Why do you think he says that " it seemed, then, not only entirely reasonable but even natural that the whole structure of society from top to bottom should be honeycombed with privilege and dishonesty?"

4. What does Wolfe mean when he says of Amy Carleton that " shehad slept with everybody. . . but she has never been promiscuous?" What does he mean when he says, " She had tried everything in life - except living?"

5. What is it about the party and ensuing fire at the Jacks' the causes George to conclude at the end of Book II that his love for Esther is not enough, that his aspirations for a life of wealth and privilege have been all wrong? Why is it that he concludes that privilege and truth - particularly for a writer - are incompatible? Moreover, is he right?

6. Consider the writing-school dictum of " write what you know" in terms of how it relates to George's - and Wolfe's - novel. Has George taken this advice too literally? Can you think of successful novels that have rung true to you, but which contained events that could not possibly have been drawn from the author's personal experience?

7. Within the world depicted in the novel, is social class and position more important than ethnic background and nationality in determining character? Is it true that, as Wolfe says, " one tells a good deal more about a man when one says he is a chemist than when one says he is an Englishman?" Would the same hold true today?

8. Is it possible for a person to eradicate his roots, a step that George deems necessary if, as he says, " a man was to win his ultimate freedom and not be plunged back into savagery and perish utterly from the earth?"

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060930059
Author:
Wolfe, Thomas
Publisher:
HarpPerenM
Author:
Wolfe, Thomas
Author:
by Thomas Wolfe
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Subject:
20th century
Subject:
North carolina
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Novelists, American
Subject:
Autobiographical fiction
Subject:
Novelists, American -- 20th century -- Fiction.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
Perennial Classics
Publication Date:
September 1998
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
720
Dimensions:
8.00x5.31x1.70 in. 1.18 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

You Can't Go Home Again (Perennial Classics) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 720 pages Perennial - English 9780060930059 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Wolfe wrote as one inspired. No one of his generations has his command of lanuage, his passion, his energy."
"Review" by , "If there still lingers any doubt as to Wolfe's right to a place among the immortals of American letters, this work should dispel it."
"Review" by , "[T]he long, crowded pages of imagined and lived scenes are as brilliant as any to be found in Wolfe's writings."
"Synopsis" by , When a successful novelist is ostracized by the family and friends of his hometown, he embarks on a worldwide search for his own identity and personal renewal.
"Synopsis" by , Story of an artist who flees scandal and despair as he journeys from his family home in a small Southern town to the capitals of prewar Europe.

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