Synopses & Reviews
Erik has the voice of an angel, but the face of a monster. When he takes off his mask, people scream and run away. So he hides himself away in the darkness below an opera house. There, he falls in love with a beautiful singer. But will she be able to return his love?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Gaston Leroux, French journalist and writer of suspense fiction, was born in Paris in 1868. His experiences as a crime reporter and war correspondent for a French newspaper gave him the background to create his popular novels. He was one of the originators of the detective story, and his young fictional detective, Joseph Rouletabile, was the forerunner of many reporter-detective characters in modern fiction. Two of Lerouxs best-known mysteries are The Perfume of the Lady in Black and The Mystery of the Yellow Room, which is considered one of the finest “locked room” mysteries ever written. A second series of suspense adventures featured an old rascal named Cheri-Bibi. But Lerouxs most enduring work is, of course, The Phantom of the Opera, which was first published in 1910. Leroux died in Nice, France, in 1927.
Reading Group Guide
"The story of the monster man whose horrible deformities cause fear and terror, his search for love and acceptance, and his haunting of the opera house in Paris is told in very simple language. Beautifully adapted, the story flows along so easily that readers will be immediately caught up in the tangle of events and emotions. McMullan conveys all of the anger, grief, joy, and love that make the phantom a truly believable character. Will attract reluctant readers."--School Library Journal. From the Trade Paperback edition.
1. 1. Some modern critics feel the characters in The Phantom of the Opera are static and shallow, that Christine is too innocent, Raoul too noble, and Erik’s obsession with Christine never fully explained. Do you think Leroux purposely did this, and if so, why?
2. 2. The Phantom of the Opera was published as the romantic movement was slowly turning into the gothic movement. How would you classify it?
3. 3. Leroux wrote The Phantom of the Opera in a time when there was widespread French interest in Freudian psychoanalysis and particularly the libidinal/infantile/mother-seeking unconscious. How does Leroux work this into his novel? Are there characters that fit the infant or mother role?
4. 4. Some critics see the Phantom as simply the unconscious, the Freudian superego. Do you believe this is what Leroux was truly writing about, or did he give his monster more depth?
5. 5. Some see Erik as not shifting his class status, the theme of many gothic novels, but instead shifting his race. What scenes in the text help, or hinder, this assessment? Why would Leroux write of something so controversial?
6. 6. One of Leroux’s major themes in this novel is the changing of one’s class. Consider Christine, the daughter of a fairground fiddle player, now besting the most talented opera singer in Paris and winning the heart of a viscount. What is Leroux saying here? Is it meant to simply be a happy ending?