James T. Farrell Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How does James T. Farrell’s most famous character, Studs Lonigan, change through the course of the trilogy? Do these changes constitute maturation and self-development?

Can Farrell’s concept of naturalism be distinguished from that of Theodore Dreiser?

Do the second and third novels of the Studs Lonigan trilogy come to be more about the south side of Chicago than about Studs?

Is Farrell, as one critic has called him, a “revolutionary,” or does his naturalistic outlook preclude a revolutionary attitude?

Farrell was regarded as a major literary figure in the 1930’s but not often thereafter. Review his fiction from the following four decades. What value would you assign to this later work?