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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmareby G. K. Chesterton
Reading Group Guide
1. Discuss the Councils role as a secret society. What is important about their ability to function as a group and their determination to keep their activities secret? What is the point of their conspiracy?
2. What is the meaning of the books title? How does the titles ambiguity and mystery characterize the book as a whole? Is personal identity less important than collective identity, in Chestertons view? Does Syme, in effect, lose his identity? What does he gain?
3. What is the significance of the books subtitle, “A Nightmare”? What does Chesterton mean by this? Discuss the dedicatory poem that follows. What kind of tone is Chesterton trying to establish? Does he succeed?
4. Discuss the idea of anarchy as presented in the book. What kinds of activities does Gabriel Syme find himself engaged in? Are they dangerous to society, in your opinion? How do you reconcile the council members being revealed as policemen?
5. Critics have discussed the book as an allegorical work, particularly in Christian terms. Do you agree with this assessment? Who or what, in your opinion, does Sunday represent?
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