Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How does the lack of sentimentality in Jayne Anne Phillips’s fiction affect the presentation of its themes?

How is Phillips’s fiction a portrait of the cruelty, desperation, and violence of contemporary American life?

How is Phillips’s fiction an analysis of the mechanization of American life?

Can a case be made that Phillips is essentially a southern writer? Is she part of the southern grotesque tradition?

What does Phillips’s fiction say about the conflicts within families?

How has the Vietnam War influenced Phillips’s characters and themes?