Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Does Tom Wolfe appear to be a “conservative” writer, as some have characterized him? If so, in what ways?

Should actual events, such as those in The Right Stuff, be enhanced for literary effect? If not, why not?

Wolfe writes very long books. Do his subjects warrant the extensive treatment that he gives them?

Would you agree with Wolfe’s assertion that the realistic novel should still be the major fictional form in the twenty-first century?

The eighteenth century satirists believed that their purpose was to identify and to correct through ridicule human error. Is their evidence in Wolfe’s work that he, like these satirists, is a moralist?

Some have argued that a seventy-three-year-old writer was ill prepared to write about contemporary college life in I Am Charlotte Simmons. How well do you think Wolfe accomplished this task?

In what ways, if any, does The Right Stuff predict the form of Wolfe’s later fiction?

Wolfe has often introduced black characters into both his fiction and his nonfiction. What does his work seem to say about race relations in America?