Everyman

by: Philip Roth

Suggested Essay Topics

1. Critics have often accused Philip Roth of misogyny in his novels. How does Roth present the female characters in Everyman? Is there a difference between how the everyman interacts with men compared to women?

Consider the relationship between the everyman and his brother Howie. How does this relationship shape the everyman’s life? What is Philip Roth trying to achieve with his characterization of Howie in relation to the everyman?

How does the definition of the philosophy of stoicism compare with the outlook the everyman has on his illnesses? Is the everyman truly a stoic in the strictest sense of the term?

Compare Philip Roth’s Everyman with the fifteenth century play Everyman (also known as The Somonyng of Everyman). Can you draw parallels between these two stories? In what ways do they differ?

How does the everyman view his body throughout Everyman? Use several examples in your analysis.

The ocean, the shore, and swimming are present in Everyman from the everyman’s boyhood right up until his death. What do these symbolize? Do their symbolic meanings change throughout the novel?

Diamonds are referenced at various points throughout the novel. What do diamonds symbolize? Do different characters perceive diamonds in different ways?