The Painted Veil Discussion Questions

Below are some questions to get us started. I suspect we’ll have plenty to talk about tomorrow night! Don’t forget: 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, Harnish branch.

We won’t necessarily discuss each of these questions in order or in so many words, but these are general ideas and themes for the discussion. I will bring print outs of the two poems tomorrow night.

  • Did you like The Painted Veil? Why or why not?
  • Kitty Fane. Walter Fane. Charles Townsend. Dorothy Townsend. Mr. Garstin and Mrs. Garstin. Waddington and the Manchu lady. How are each of these people similar/different? How do their relationships differ? Who is this novel about?
  • Kitty. In what ways did Kitty change through the novel?
  • Themes. What is the theme of The Painted Veil? (Some possibilities: Adultery; understanding one’s self/growing up; understanding others; reconciliation and forgiveness; Feminism.
  • The 1920s. What impact has the era (1920s) on the novel? How would this have been different (if a similar story were even possible) in modern times?
  • England. Hong Kong. Southern China. What is the significance of each location? How did each location change Kitty? The novel comes full circle by returning to each location as the novel winds down. Why?
  • The Title. Note the epigram before the title page: “The painted veil which those who live call life.” From “Lift Not the Painted Veil Which Those Who Live” by Persy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822).
  • “The dog it was that died.” An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog by Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)


Filed under Book Discussion

3 responses to “The Painted Veil Discussion Questions

  1. bob

    is it plagerism if we take these questions and use them as questions and ask the same questions to our class without stating where it came from/the source? +if we put our name at the bottom?

  2. bob

    sorry, let me type that again:
    Is it plagerism if we take these questions and ask them to our class without stating the source or where it came from and we put our name at the bottom?

  3. yes. Just say where you got them from!

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