Study Help Essay Questions


1. Define the phrase "dangling man" by relating to specific qualities of Moses Herzog's character.

2. Explain the thematic significance of the water and the fish motifs.

3. Evaluate the traits and attitudes of Sandor Himmelstein and Simkin as stereotypes.

4. Explain the thematic significance of the motion imagery in the novel. How does it reflect Herzog's internal condition?

5. Briefly categorize and evaluate the various life views considered and rejected by the protagonist.

6. Relate the mirror imagery to the theme of identity.

7. What is Ramona's philosophy and what is her effect on the hero? Does he really need her?

8. Evaluate Madeleine's personality. Is she the victim of the marriage or is Herzog the victim?

9. Evaluate Gersbach's personality. Is he a complete fraud?

10. What are the purposes of Herzog's memories of the dead, especially of his family?

11. Who are the physically challenged characters in the novel? What does their condition signify?

12. Can Herzog be considered heroic? Explain your reasons.

13. Explain the motives that drive Herzog to the brink of murder. Why doesn't he kill Gersbach?

14. Is the protagonist mad or sane? Defend your conclusion.

15. Discuss the comic irony of Herzog as an intellectual.

16. Compare and contrast the life views of Himmelstein and Simkin; Ramona; Madeleine and Gersbach.

17. Explain with illustrations the conflict of the public self and the private self in Herzog.

18. Analyze in detail the theme of concealed identity with respect to characters, images, and philosophical backgrounds.

19. Examine carefully Herzog's train ride, his subway ride, and his drive through Chicago. At what level is his journey toward self-awareness at each stage?

20. Discuss the theme of death as it is developed through Herzog's memories, reflections, and his encounter with Lucas Asphalter.

21. Write an essay defining what you think are the crucial turning points in Herzog's quest for sanity and stability.

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