1. In Book II, chapter 5, when Charles Egremont first meets "the strangers of the Abby ruins" (80), they discuss "The Two Nations," which they describe to Egremont as "The Rich and The Poor" (66). At this moment, "A sudden flash of rosy light, suffusing the grey ruins, indicated that the sun had just fallen" (66). What is the significance of the sudden twilight? What is the significance of describing the sun as having "just fallen" (66)?
2. In the very first chapter, the reader meets Egremont as he and his companions bet on a horse race. Egremont debates whether betting on Phosphorus is the best decision: "It was scarcely worth while to mar the symmetry of his winnings; he stood 'so well' by all the favourites, and for a horse at forty to one. No; he would trust his star, he would not hedge" (7). What is the significance of this passage, and what is the importance of including the horse race at the beginning of the novel?
3. In Book 3, chapter 8, Mrs. Trafford, excited to see Sybil and also anxious to welcome guests to a party in her home, asks Sybil to receive the guests with her. Feeling uneasy because these guests are not among "the people," Sybil politely declines. Later in the day, Mrs. Trafford sends for Sybil, and Sybil is under the impression that Mrs. Trafford's guests have already gone. When Sybil arrives, however, Mrs. Trafford's guests are still there. Sybil, "said not a word, but answered each flood of phrases with a cold reverence" (189). How does this compare or contrast to the way she treats Egremont after she discovers he is not a part of "the people"?
Disraeli, Benjamin. Sybil. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.
Last modified 6 May 2009