Take a look at the questions and please post your own questions or discussion points for this short story collection in the comments below.
- A common theme of the books we have read for this reading group is that characters are haunted by their pasts. What events or traumas haunt the characters of Oates’s short stories?
- Oates writes a great deal about the relationship between the sexes in these short stories. What does she have to say about the role of women and the role of men in American society though these stories?
- In the title story of the collection, Oates paints a dark, brutal portrait of beloved American poet Robert Frost. In this story what is Oates criticizing, Frost himself, literary celebrity, literary biographies, biographical interpretations of literature, or a combination of these things?
- Including this short story collection, Joyce Carol Oates has been a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist 4 times (her other finalist books include her novel Black Water, finalist in 1993, her novel What I Lived For, finalist in 1995, and novel Blonde finalist in 2001). Why do you think she continues to be nominated for the prize, and why does she continue not to win?