Helen Fielding Analysis

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones books are clearly meant to be read as comic works of literature. Is it possible for something to be funny and “serious literature” at the same time? Explain. Do the Bridget Jones books achieve this balance?

Some critics of the Bridget Jones books feel that they trivialize feminism and do a disservice to women. Is this a valid criticism or not? How so?

Although Bridget spends much time worrying about men, she spends little or no time contemplating marriage for herself. Why is this?

Compare the plots of Jane Austen’s novels Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Persuasion (1818) to the two Bridget Jones novels. What are the similarities and differences between the plots? What is the significance of the differences and similarities?

Some reviewers have complained that the Bridget Jones books are not a realistic depiction of modern single life. Make an argument for or against this complaint.

Part of the cultural phenomenon of Bridget Jones is wrapped up in the Hollywood film adaptation of the two novels. Compare the characters, action, and setting of the books versus the films.

Helen Fielding Bibliography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Case, Alison. “Authenticity, Convention, and Bridget Jones’s Diary.” Narrative, May, 2001. Case explores Fielding’s astute use of eighteenth and nineteenth century conventions to create a convincing interior monologue and a universally identifiable character.

Cook, Rachel. “Bridget Goes Hollywood.” Telegraph, April 21, 2001, p. OS04. Profiles Fielding and describes how the success of Bridget Jones’s Diary has changed her life.

Whelehan, Imelda. Helen Fielding’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary”: A Reader’s Guide. New York: Continuum, 2002. Provides a biographical overview of Fielding’s career and examines the novel’s themes, characterization, cultural milieu, influences, and narrative strategies. The guide concludes with discussion questions and a bibliography of articles, reviews, and useful Web sites.