Study Help Essay Questions


1. Justify, if possible, the political episodes as not being extraneous to Julien's individual drama.

2. Exemplify Stendhal's "tender irony" toward his "happy few."

3. Does the attempted murder of Mme. de Rênal by Julien contradict his character, or is it consistent with the hero's nature?

4. What could be an explanation for Stendhal's use of epigraphs preceding every chapter?

5. Is it the realism or romanticism of the novel that appeals to the contemporary audience of Stendhal?

6. Determine to what extent Julien is an aggressive protagonist, actively responsible for his successes and failures.

7. Compare the two parts of the novel from the point of view of structure and recurrence of motifs.

8. How does Stendhal maintain the reader's sympathy for his hero?

9. Which character — Mme. de Rênal or Mathilde de la Mole — do you find more convincing?

10. How does Julien's affair with Mathilde reflect the political conflict exposed in the novel?

11. Does Julien commit suicide?

12. In what ways is Stendhal's improvisational technique apparent in the novel?

13. To what extent are the characters the victims of self-delusion?

14. Define Stendhal's method of psychological analysis.

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