Brooklyn Discussion Points Essay

534 WordsFeb 26, 20133 Pages
Discussion points 1. Before she goes to America, Eilis believes that, ‘While people from the town who lived in England missed Enniscorthy, no one who went to America missed home. Instead, they were happy there and proud’ (pg 26). Why do you think the Irish had such a rosy view of America? How are Eilis’s expectations met upon her arrival? 2. As Eilis begins night classes in accounting, she notes the divisions between Italian and Jewish students, and the lack of English or other Irish students. At work, she must confront racial integration when Bartocci’s opens its doors for the first time to black customers. How does Eilis react to the divisions among European immigrants from different countries, as well as those between white and black Americans? How are the traditional ethnic lines of Brooklyn beginning to break down in the 1950s? 3. When Eilis and Tony first meet, she seems more interested in him as an escape from her troublesome housemates than as a genuine romantic interest. Tony, however, is clear about his love for Eilis from the start. Why do you think Eilis is hesitant in her feelings? Is a relationship with such uneven attachment doomed from the start, or do you believe that one person can learn to love another over time? 4. Some characters in the novel are referred to as Miss or Mrs., while others are identified by their first name. Does this reflect their relationship with Eilis? Why would Colm Tóibín make this stylistic choice? How would your perception of the characters in Brooklyn be different if Toibin had written the novel from the “first-person” perspective of Eilis? 5. Imagine Eilis in today’s world. Do you see her primarily as a career-motivated woman, or as a wife and mother? How does Tóibín present the conflict between job and family in the 1950s? How is
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