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Assuming that this is an academic group, one question would touch upon the use of hybrid genres in the story: How does Yourcenar blend the nouvelle (short story) and the conte (fairytale)? You could discuss the elements of both: the nouvelle being characterized by a brief sequence of events, static characters, and a tragic or comic climax that seems both surprising and inevitable. The conte is generally characterized by fantastic events that are outside of the normal realm and is set in an indeterminate time or place ("once upon a time...").
You might also ask how this story portrays the role of the artist. Wang-Fo is an inventor of magical worlds, and the emperor finds them more enticing than the real world. The world of art is both an escape and a trap, for it makes the real world seem less interesting by contrast. Is the artist a criminal, as the emperor believes, or is he a crafty hero?
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