Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

In what significant ways does Henry Adams differ from his father and grandfather?

Are Adams’s political and religious ideas more effectively presented in his fiction or in nonfiction works such as his autobiography?

Does Adams offer a convincing interpretation of Roman Catholic devotion to the Virgin Mary in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres?

Why is Adams so critical of his formal education? Does it seem to have benefited him more than he realized?

Characterize Adams’s attitude toward the time in which he was living.

How convincing do you find Adams’s assertion of his own “failure”?