Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Ann Beattie is said to be nonjudgmental about her characters. Does this detachment makes her characters more or less realistic and complex?

How does Beattie create ironic distance between her narrators and the characters and events being described?

Show how Beattie’s treatment of the struggle for happiness differs in two of her short stories.

How does “Dwarf House” question the idea of normality?

How is driving a metaphor for the complexities of life in “Shifting”?

Is Falling in Place only the story of a dysfunctional family or does it say something about such themes as individuality and responsibility?

What does Picturing Will seem to be saying about the nature of parenthood?