Circus in the Attic Study Questions & Topics for Discussion

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Since Warren based the novella on what he heard of Jon Wesley Venable, Jr.'s life in Hopkinsville, one possible approach might be for someone to research Warren's use of his sources as it is discussed in Joseph Blotner's biography, Robert Penn Warren (1997). Another fruitful approach would be to do some research on fiction by other authors who were Warren's contemporaries, such as Sherwood Anderson, Eudora Welty, Peter Taylor, and William Faulkner, and who also wrote about characters attempting to escape from stultifying small town environments.

Another useful approach to the story's setting might be to look at the ways Warren deliberately undercuts and treats ironically the founding and growth of Bardsville. Some information is given in the novella about the impulses of the pioneers who eventually settled Bardsville, and the quasi-satirical treatment of the unimpressive battle memorialized in the monument to Cassius Perkins and Seth...

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This section contains 512 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Circus in the Attic Short Guide
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Circus in the Attic from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.