Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How does Ellen Glasgow’s early work illustrate the difficulty of managing a satisfactory relationship between ideas and characters in a novel?

What traits of southern society depicted in Glasgow’s novels provoke her theme of women’s rebellion?

To what extent does Barren Ground—and especially its conclusion—relate to Glasgow’s own problems of middle age?

In what ways did Glasgow influence later southern writers?

What raises Vein of Iron above a mere attempt to exploit the success of Barren Ground?

Glasgow was interested in the conflict of the “Old South” and the “New South.” What sorts of issues are involved in this distinction?