1. Discuss Newland, Ellen, and May's characters in terms of your own judgements. How do you evaluate their actions, words, and motivations?
2. Wharton often uses surroundings — architecture, paintings, and interior design — to help describe the owner. Choose a person in the novel and use that person's possessions to describe their character.
3. One of the major conflicts of the novel is stability versus change. Where does Wharton use that?
4. Was Wharton being critical of 1870s America, or was she admiring it? Use evidence to support your view.
5. Justify the ending of the novel, staying consistent with Wharton's purposes, themes, and characters.