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A Reliable Wife Study Questions & Topics for Discussion

Robert Goolrick
This Study Guide consists of approximately 59 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Reliable Wife.
This section contains 429 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)

Topics for Discussion

Discuss how the weather and the climate - the blizzard at the beginning, the cold and snowy winter of much of the middle section, and the thaw of the spring as the novel concludes - metaphorically and symbolically reflects the state of being of the various characters.

Discuss how the portrayals of Truitt and Catherine in the first two chapters set up both the conflict to come and the essential similarities between their experiences and their journeys of transformation.

What parallels, similarities, and/or differences are there in the pasts of Catherine and Truitt? In what ways do those pasts have similar effects on the presents of both characters?

What do you think are the reasons and meanings behind the author's portrayal of the similarities between Truitt, Antonio, and Catherine. What do you think he is saying about the nature and function of sexual desire, passion, betrayal, loneliness, and anger?

In what ways does Catherine's changing relationship with the truth reflect and manifest changes in her character? In what ways does Truitt's relationship with Catherine's truths reflect and/or manifest the changes in his?"

Discuss the different ways Catherine's clothes and what happens to them (i.e. her dress being savaged during Antonio's rape) represent and/or manifest her purpose, her state of being, and/or her intentions.

What is your experience of sexuality? Do you experience it as an opportunity for intimacy and connection, in the way that Truitt and Catherine grow to experience it? Is it, for you, an expression of simple desire? Do you see it as an opportunity to cover up and suppress more troubling feelings, as is the case with Antonio? Should sex, as Truitt's mother seems to have advocated, ever be about anything other than procreation?

Consider circumstances in your life in which the phrase "such things happen" might apply such as a coincidence, an unlikely choice, and a surprising action, either positive or negative, taken by someone. Did it feel like you were struggling to explain the unexplainable, or the unlikely? Did it feel like "such things happen" was the only possible explanation? Did meaning of that incident become clear after the fact?

What is your experience of isolation? Is it physical, moral, emotional, and/or sexual? How did that isolation come about? Was it chosen or was it imposed upon you? What effect did that isolation have on you? If negative, how did you get past it? If positive, how did you build upon it?

What do you think the book's title means? Is it ironic or literal?

This section contains 429 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Copyrights
A Reliable Wife from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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