Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

To what extent is My Brilliant Career about a “brilliant career”? How do you think Miles Franklin intended the title to be interpreted?

Do you believe that Sybylla could ever find a “helpmeet” (helpmate) suitable to marry? Explain.

Some critics believe that All That Swagger really ends with Danny’s death and that Brian’s triumph does not “save” the novel. Do you agree? Explain.

Speaking of his father, Harry in All That Swagger says: “Perhaps when all our hides are in the tanyard, it will be difficult to say who were the failures and who the successes.” Is Danny, Harry’s father, a failure or a success? Explain.

Identify the successful marriages in All That Swagger and My Brilliant Career. What characterizes them?

Danny and Brian are the bookends of All That Swagger. Why is Danny a more interesting character?