1. There are many widows within the novel, but each of them chooses a different fate by the end of the story. Arabella joins a convent; Lady Marney remarries; and, Widow Carey remains single, albeit unhappy. What does the text imply concerning women post-marriage and their happiness in relation to men?
2. What evidence is there within the text to suggest that "The Two Nations" could also be referring to the two genders of male and female? Is there any evidence to support this argument? If so, what idea does the text seem to enforce concerning whether the nations should come together or remain apart? What similarities exist between this power struggle and the one between the classes?
3. What does the text suggest concerning women and men in relation to finances? Lady Marney has a large amount of funds as a result of her diseased husband's will and yet her son, Lord Marney, seems to believe she has no right to it. Harriet is a hardworking woman that earned the money she had, but the novel paints her character in an extremely bad light because she doesn't marry and keeps her money to herself. Are poor women and rich women given different amounts of freedom in regard to their finances? Is one group portrayed by the text as more capable of making rational decisions concerning money, or are they both seen as incapable of sensible decision making? How? Explain.
Disraeli, Benjamin. Sybil. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.
Last modified 6 May 2009