Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

All of Charles Portis’s protagonists are similar in a number of ways. However, what character traits contrast Norwood Pratt and Mattie Ross? What character traits contrast Ray Midge and Jimmy Burns?

Portis is said to be a regional writer. What universal elements, if any, can be found in his work?

How does Masters of Atlantis differ markedly from Portis’s other four novels?

In what ways can the quests of Mattie Ross and Jimmy Burns be compared?

Many American novelists have treated expatriates in their work. What common characteristics do Portis’s expatriates in Mexico and Central America share?