A Silver Dish Topics for Further Study
by Saul Bellow

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

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Woody is divided between the religions of his father and mother, who are, respectively, Jewish and Christian. Explain the central event of “A Silver Dish” to a rabbi or minister and record the advice that they would give to a young person who witnesses a parent committing a crime.

Many YMCAs, including the one in Evanston, Illinois, that is mentioned in the story, have rooms to rent. Contact one near you and find out their policies: who rents their rooms, how much they charge, and what reservation policies are followed.

Woody and his father have a bond that Morris does not have with his daughters, nor Woody with his mother. Research Sigmund Freud’s theory of the “Oedipal Complex,” and explain its possible relevance to the relationship between Woody and each of his parents.

The music of the 1930s was generally about hope for a better future. Listen to the lyrics of a few songs from the Depression and describe which character would approve of it more, “Pop” Selbst or Mrs. Skoglund. Explain your reasons.

Bellow explains that Woody is responsible for his sisters, who live with their mother. What social services could they apply for after their mother’s death, so that they would be able to live independently?