Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

What place do you think “fad” medicine such as the Graham diet plays in T. Coraghessan Boyle’s The Road to Wellville? Are there comparable modern-day diets or treatments?

In The Road to Wellville, are the patients of the sanatorium looking for physical cures? What ailments are they really trying to address?

Why does Boyle draw so often on history in his works? What does he accomplish by using American history?

What recurrences and echoes occur in World’s End? What cycles is Boyle trying to explore and what does their repetition say about the nature of history?

Boyle’s work often manages to combine humor and pathos. How do they influence and enhance each other?

Boyle has noted that he likes to defeat the expectations of readers, particularly ones that have read other pieces of his work. How does he actively work to defeat reader expectations and do the unexpected in his novels?

One of the central themes of Drop City is the desire of the hippies to remain in a state of innocence, like children. What is Boyle trying to say about the desire to postpone adulthood, and how does it connect to his view of American culture?