Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Discussion Questions for The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

  1. Do you think Dr. Faraday is a reliable narrator? Why? Or why not?

  2. What do you think is responsible for the disturbances at Hundreds Hall? Is it something supernatural or the effects of mental illness?
3. We never learn Dr. Faraday’s first name. Why?

4. What do you think about Dr. Faraday’s relationship with Caroline? Are his feelings for her genuine? What about hers for him?

5. The Ayres family had land, wealth, and power for generations--while their neighbors lived in relative destitution-- before their post-war decline. Given this history, did you sympathize with them when it became clear they were passing out of favor?

6. How does Mrs. Ayres’ attitude toward Dr. Faraday change over the course of the novel? Why?

7. What you think of the decision to commit Roderick to an institution? Is it justified? Do you think it spared his life?

8. Were the Baker-Hydes correct in insisting that Gyp be put down? Or was their reaction to their daughter’s injury unjustified?

9. It is Betty’s unease living at Hundreds that causes her to feign illness and bring Dr. Faraday back to Hundreds for the first time since his youth? Do you think she was unusually prescient, sensing something ominous was about to take place at Hundreds?

10. How is Dr. Faraday's role as a country doctor in the 1940’s different from practicing medicine now? Given these changes, do you think a story like his could take place today?

11. Caroline’s decision to sell off her family’s land so that council houses could be built is just one of the ways The Little Stranger speaks to the changes happening in Britain at the time. How else does the book reflect the reconfiguration of post World War II British society?

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