Book Club: Questions posted for Brideshead Revisited

April 19, 2012


On Monday,  Jack Thornton introduced the most recent WOF Book Club selection, Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited.” Today, he follows up the introduction with a list of reflection questions on the novel:

1. What role does the house, Brideshead, play? What is the significance of the actual building itself?

2. While this book has certain themes that are undeniably Catholic, it appeals to people of all beliefs (the fact that it is on top 100 lists of secular publications is evidence for this). Why do you think a universal audience accepts and appreciates this novel when non-Christians reject so many Christian books, movies, etc.? What sets it apart?

3. Each character represents a prototype of certain attitudes towards religion. Understanding these roles helps us understand the tensions between the different characters. What type of person does each of the following characters represent? If any characters not on this list stood out to you then please share your thoughts.

Charles Ryder
Lady Marchmain
Lord Marchmain
Rex Mottram
Nanny Hawkins

4. Every single one of the characters displays virtues and major flaws, even the ones that are considered devout. Does the existence of major flaws in characters who identify themselves as Catholic enhance or detract from the overall impact of the book? Why?

5. Do you think that this novel presents an appealing view of Catholicism? Why or why not?

6. It would be a shame to read this book without noticing the beauty of Waugh’s writing, and drawing the connection between the beauty of his style and the message within. What sentence or paragraph most stood out to you as a snapshot of both Waugh’s skill as an artist and the tone or theme of the book?

Please join in the conversation on the Word on Fire Book Club Forum!