Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Interpretation of Murder

The Interpretation of Murder
by Jeb Rubenfeld

The author's portrayal of women is noteworthy: Is Nora still a victim when she is empowered by a sympathetic listener? What are Clara's motives for the events in the novel? How are Betty the maid, Susie Merrill, and Greta depicted? Do these characters reflect the turn-of-the-century society, or do they represent a more timeless portrayal of women?

2. Is Younger the right man for the job of trying to unravel the attempted murder of Nora? Discuss psychoanalysis versus interrogation.

3. Younger asks, "How can human beings be loved if we carry within such repugnant desires?" Freud thinks that Nora wants to sodomize her father. Is this ultimately true?

4. Younger is obsessed with solving the riddle of Hamlet in the book. Discuss his analysis of "to be or not to be" in terms of Freudian/Oedipal theories. What does Younger finally decide is the correct interpretation?

5. Younger says, "Some people feel a need to bring about the very thing that will most torment them." How does this describe the characters in the book?

6. When he boards the ship back to Europe, Freud says that "America is a mistake... A gigantic mistake." What does he mea