The Red and the Black
How did Stendhal derive the title The Red and the Black?
What role does French history play in the novel? How does it mold Stendhal's narrative technique?
What is triangular desire, and what role does it play in the novel?
How does Stendhal represent the political tensions that would lead to the revolution of 1830? Does he present this revolution as a foreseeable event or a complete surprise?
Who does Julien love more, Mathilde de la Mole or Mme. de Rênal?
Can Napoleon be considered a character in the novel? Why or why not?
How does life in Paris differ from life in the provinces? What is ridicule and how is it used by aristocrats to pass the time? Does Julien prefer living in Paris or the countryside?
Discuss the themes of corruption and hypocrisy in the novel. Do the two themes go hand in hand? Can someone be a hypocrite and still be a good person, according to Stendhal?
Discuss the importance of boredom in the novel.
Why does Julien refuse clemency just before his execution? Does he really want to die? Is he modeling this decision on a famous historical figure's desire to die?
Does Julien Sorel have free will? If so, how and when does he use it? If not, what aspects of French society constrain him from doing so?
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