Compare the towns of Marney (Book 2: Chapter 3) and Wodgate (Book 4: Chapter 4). What are the physical descriptions of each? In what forms are hierarchies present? After finishing the novel, how do you think these two towns reflect two separate nations? (Consider the economies, hierarchies, class structures, and leaders within each town.) Which one does the novel seem to favor, and how does it do that?
Consider the novel's portrayal of the working classes, and its portrayal of the aristocratic class. Looking at class accountability and leadership, which class does the novel portray in a better light at the beginning of the novel? What about at the end? Specifically consider the last chapter and class status. Who has moved up, moved down, and/or stayed the same? What does the novel seem to propose as an ideal social arrangement?
How are chartists portrayed in the novel? One good example is in the third to last paragraph of Book 6: Chapter 6. How do these chartists compare to the chartist figures in Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton? What kinds of actions does each group of chartists take to further their cause? Which group is more sympathetic, and how does the novel accomplish this sympathy?
Disraeli, Benjamin. Sybil. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.
Last modified 6 May 2009