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Southwest Book Club Discussion Questions - Everyman by Philip Roth

everyman.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. to discuss the book, Everyman by Philip Roth. Roth's novel is a fiercely intimate yet universal story of loss, regret, and stoicism. The best-selling author of The Plot Against America now turns his attention from "one family's harrowing encounter with history" (New York Times) to one man's lifelong confrontation with mortality. Roth's everyman is a hero whose youthful sense of independence and confidence begins to be challenged when illness begins its attack in middle age.

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, each month questions related to the book will be posted to our blog prior to the meeting date. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Share your thoughts and comments, then click "post". Comment on one question or all of them. Join the discussion!

Discussion Questions: Everyman
1. What is the relevance of the title to the story that is told in the novel?

2. What do you learn about the man being buried from the opening scene at the cemetery? What would the book be like if this scene came, as it might if the story were told chronologically, at the end rather than the beginning?

3. Why does he refuse the consolations of religion despite his sharing in the universal terror of death?

4. Why does he take up painting, and why does he abandon it? Why does he begin teaching painting classes to his fellow retirees, and why does he stop teaching?

5. What is his relationship with the dead? a. With his dead parents b. With Millicent Kramer c. With those of his family who are long dead.

6. Some readers have said they wept when they finished reading the book. Did you weep? If so, why? If not, how do you understand the response of those who did?

(Questions were either obtained or adapted from www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com)

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