Group Discussion Questions on Wieland
Group #1 1. Why does Brown use Clara as his narrator? What kind of narrator is she?
2. What is Clara's relationship with her brother and with Carwin? (Look at her dream on p. 71 her reaction to Carwin's voice p. 59, and the closet scenes). Is she a trustworthy narrator? Why, since she knows the outcome anyway, doesn't she tell us the facts from the first?
3. Continue comparing the characters' reaction to the voices. How are they changed by the voices?
Group #2 4. On p. 56 (and 214, 243), Clara describes Carwin as the "author" of the evils: in Questions 4-6 what ways is he? does he redeem himself at the end? Is he evil or incompetent? If not evil, then where does the evil come from?
5. Speaking of authors; on p. 187 Wieland refers to God as the "Author of my being." Is He the "author" of these evils? What is the attitude in the novel towards the imagination and fiction?
6. Look carefully at chapter 19, Wieland's confession. Compare his version of the events with other versions. Who is crazier, Wieland, Clara, Playel, or Carwin or how is each a bit off?
Group #3 7. Is this society of friends a kind of American utopia, or is there something wrong
Questions 7-9 with it? Does Carwin destroy it, or does it self-destruct?
8. How does the final chapter work as a fitting conclusion to the novel? What is the relationship between Brown's advertisement and the novel?
9. Given the unrest in American society during this time, do you think this novel is meant to answer or explore social problems? If so, what advice would Brown give to Americans?
Group #4 10. Return to the idea of "transformation." After thinking about it, what kinds of
Questions 10-11 transformations occur in the novel, in the society, and in the reader?
11. Find examples of Calvinism, rationalism/science, and romanticism in this novel. How do these conflicting philosophies and approaches to life help explain some of the tensions in the book?