Foreign Affairs Topics for Further Study
by Alison Lurie

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Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

  • To what extent is the United States still an Anglo culture with a special relationship to England? Using Internet research, analyze how immigration patterns to the United States have changed over the last century. From what countries do most immigrants now come? How does this compare to the nineteenth century? How are changing immigration patterns changing America? Write an essay on your findings.
  • Write a short essay in which you analyze the technique by which Lurie builds up to the revelation that Mrs. Harris and Rosemary are the same person. How do the narrator's comments about Rosemary's character, her acting ability, etc. ensure that the revelation is believable while at the same time a huge surprise for the reader?
  • Chuck says in Foreign Affairs that the English talk funny, and sometimes he has difficulty understanding them. Form a group with three or four other students and listen to one another talk. What accents do you hear? Are they all the same or are they different? In what way? How does a Brooklyn, New York, accent differ from, say, a Midwestern accent? Do you think that the prevalence of a national mass media is reducing the variety of regional accents? If it is, is this a good trend or something to be deplored?
  • Select a British show from PBS, BBC America, or any other source. What image of England does it present? Is it romantic and idealized, or does it seem realistic? What are the main differences that strike you between the culture as presented in this program and the American culture with which you are familiar? Make a class presentation to illustrate your points, using clips from the program, if possible.