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1. What does Anthony Blanche really mean when he criticizes English charm in both Charles and Sebastian? What does this criticism mean about his role in the novel?
2. Cordelia says that people hate Lady Marchmain because they can’t hate God. Do you agree? Is Lady Marchmain justly or unjustly disliked?
3. Sebastian associates a loss of youth with a loss of joy. Does the novel ultimately support or challenge this view?
4. One of Waugh’s contemporaries, American writer Edmund Wilson, called the ending to Brideshead
Revisited “painfully absurd” in reference to Lord Marchmain’s death bed repentance. Does the ending fit the novel, or does the vindication of Catholicism come as a surprise?
5. What do the four Marchmain children’s differing relationships to Catholicism say about the novel’s ultimate understanding of religion?
6. Julia accuses Charles of experiencing life secondhand. What does she mean by this, and is it an accurate assessment of Charles’s character?