James M. Cain Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Trace several examples of musical influences in either the subject matter or the techniques of James M. Cain’s fiction.

Several successful Hollywood films have been based on Cain’s novels. What qualities do you see in his novels that might be expected to translate well to the screen?

How well do the denouements of Cain’s fiction exemplify his belief that a wish come true is a “terrifying experience”?

Is Cain’s work in general a denial of the validity of what is commonly thought of as the American Dream?

In what ways is Double Indemnity superior to the thematically similar The Postman Always Rings Twice?

Trace the stages in the development of the title character Mildred Pierce in Cain’s novel of the same name.