The two nations in Disraeli’s Sybil or The Two Nations are distinguished as the rich and the poor (66). Morley describes them as

Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts and feelings, as if they are dwellers in different zones or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws. (66)

Egremont demonstrates an aristocratic viewpoint through a statement early in the novel: "our Queen reigns over the greatest nation that ever existed" (66). The description of the two nations challenges the greatness of that nation.

1. The novel depicts Sybil as an angelic or perfect image that constantly faces the danger of being raped (417). How does her depiction represent Egremont’s view of the nation and support Gerard’s and Morley’s opinion of its corruption?

2. Sybil first resides within one of the two nations and later becomes a member of the other (419). What opinion does the novel take surrounding the two nations’ capability of converging into one?

3. ) Gerard and Morley suggest that the problem with England lies within the lack of community, an effect attributed to society’s stress on personal gain (64, 65). Does Harriet’s independence represent a selfish attitude (420)? What does the novel suggest is a woman’s role in the community?

Bibliography

Disraeli, Benjamin. Sybil. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.


Victorian Web Overview Benjamin Disraeli

Last modified 6 May 2009