The Seven Storey Mountain Topics for Discussion

This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Seven Storey Mountain.
This section contains 268 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)

Define contemplation and the "interior life" that shapes so much of Merton's thinking. What is the interior life? Why is it important? Is it important to everyone or only those who are called to be monks? How does your answer jibe with the last quote above?

Discuss Merton's communal perspective in which he promotes the notion that all men share the blame for all the evils in the world—from the poverty of Harlem to the atrocities of World War II.

Discuss Merton's family life. Unstable and constantly in flux as it was, his father, grandparents, and aunt still seem to be the most important people in his life.

What is a vocation and how do you think one discovers if he/she has one? Read the last quote above and discuss what your vocation might be.

Why do you think Merton never reconsidered his decision to enter the monastery like many of his fellow novitiates did? What factors in his journey prepared him for the ascetic life?

Thomas Merton was, at different times, a narcissist, a communist, an atheist, a Protestant, a Catholic, a monk, and a priest. Do you think it shows strength or weakness in his character for him to have made so many changes in belief and philosophy during his life? Why?

The Seven Storey Mountain is about an obscure man who achieved no great fame, received no notable awards, accomplished no historic victories. Yet it has been called one of the most influential religious works of our time. What's the secret to its popularity and influence?

This section contains 268 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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