1. The title of Benjamin Disraeli's novel is Sybil, or The Two Nations. The novel explains what the two nations are and allows passing between those nations: that is, movement between the polarities of rich and poor. The text, however, leaves room for other polarities to be seen as the "Two Nations;" what could those polarities be, and what impact might they have on the text?
2. Egremont's brother, Lord Marney, tells him to court Lady Joan for the money that her being an heiress will bring to him. The effort Egremont puts into the courtship is out of duty to his brother and concern for his own monetary situation. What does this circumstance say about marriages among the aristocrats? What else does the novel imply about what would have been the reality of their marriage?
3. In the first four and a half books of the novel, Sybil is vehemently opposed to a relationship with Egremont. What does the novel suggest about why Sybil's opposition came to be? When she changes her mind, what pieces of knowledge work towards that change? What does the climactic revelation of Sybil's heritage suggest about the change in Sybil's perspective on marriage to Egremont?
Disraeli, Benjamin. Sybil. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.
Last modified 6 May 2009