James Dickey Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Can you trace the poet in James Dickey’s prose and the prosaist in his poetry?

Why is the struggle for survival so central to Dickey’s work? Is there any room for such a struggle in the modern civilized world?

Why would the writer identify with being called a grateful survivor? Can you trace this gratitude to any dominant experiences in his life?

Color imagery dominates Dickey’s later work, including To the White Sea. What role does it play, and is this role as prominent in the two earlier novels?

Dickey’s poetry is heavily and intimately influenced by his World War II experience, yet he has always been negative about confessional poetry. Can you explain how his verse is different?

The four men in Deliverance undergo assault, death, injury, pain, and trauma, as well as suspicion and investigation by the authorities. In what sense are they “delivered,” then, and from what?

Dickey is famous for commenting widely and intimately on his own works. What do these statements reveal about the writer and his art?