-Seamus Heaney Reading Questions
To think about AS you read Heaney:

What is your mental picture of Ireland, or what it means to be Irish? How do Heaney’s poems fit that mental picture, and how do they complicate or even contradict it?

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The poems you’re reading today don’t use a lot of rhyme or consistent rhythm. What language choices/poetic techniques do you notice? What about the language sticks out to you?

How can poems about thousand-year-old mummified bodies be contemporary? relevant? political

-“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” reading questions
What do you think of the title? What does it make you expect? How might it make you expect contradictory things?

What’s new here–in terms of content/subject matter, or form/literary techniques–that we haven’t encountered yet this semester?

What images in this poem are off-putting or unsettling? What images are pleasant or comforting?

This is a poem of questions. Prufrock (the “narrator” of the poem) has a lot of questions for the universe at large; and in the first stanza he says he has one specific question for the addressee of the poem. But he never articulates what that big question is. What do you think his question is? Who might he be speaking

Mrs. Dalloway Reading Questions
To think about AS you read Mrs. Dalloway:

How important is World War I as context for this novel? How many characters still have the war on their minds, in big or small ways?

The book takes place over a day, and time is constantly emphasized in the novel. What might “time” have to do with the other themes of the book?

Woolf saw Septimus Warren Smith as an essential counterpoint to Clarissa Dalloway. What specific comparisons and contrasts are drawn between the two? What primary images are associated, respectively, with Clarissa and with Septimus?

Woolf shifts scenes between past and present, primarily through Clarissa’s, Septimus’s, and others’ memories. Does this device successfully establish the importance of memory as shaping the present?

Notice how the book shifts perspective/point-of-view. It can make the book more challenging to follow, but it also emphasizes different characters’ ways of seeing and understanding the world. What does it mean that characters have different perspectives on big events like falling in love, the war, the past, or even death?

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