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Thread: The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

  1. #1
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    Aug 2010

    The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

    I'm working on an AP Literature assignment that was given to me this summer. I've read the book, but when it gets to answering the questions i don't know or understand what exactly it is asking. I'm not expecting anyone to do my work but can some one please help lead me to the right answer.

    Chapter 1

    1. Why does Lord Henry insist that Basil should exhibit his painting of Dorian Gray?
    2. Why does Basil Hallward not want to put the portrait in an exhibition?
    3. How do Lord Henry's comments on marriage support the novel's motif of leading a double life?
    4. To what extent has Dorian Gray influenced Basil's art?
    5. What is Lord Henry's assessment of upper class involvement in philanthropy?
    6. What does Basil's hesitation to introduce Lord Henry and Dorian to each other reveal about both Basil and Lord Henry?

    Chapter 2

    1. What is Lord Henry's opinion of nature of influence?
    2. To what extent does Lord Henry's discussion of society reflect Wilde's criticism of Victorian culture?
    3. How does Lord Henry's assessment of the relationship between beauty and genius exemplify the principles of Aesthetic movement?
    4. Why is Dorian upset when basil finally finishes the portrait?
    5. How does Dorian enter into a Faustian Pact with the portrait?

  2. #2
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    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    I realize its been sometime since this was posted, so this might be coming rather late. However, in case any future students are stumped by these type of questions, I will attempt to help.

    First, I believe you are going about this wrongly in assuming there are "right" answers to these questions. Much of this is subjective. As Wilde suggests in this novel, art is neither moral or immoral. Well answers to these type of questions are neither right nor wrong in my mind.

    As for chapter one, consider what you've drawn from your readings. Question #1 asks why Lord Henry wants Basil to exhibit the painting. Well, what do you know of Lord Henry's character that might shed some light on this? What are his personal drives and motivations? For question 2, consider what we know of Basil and his contrasting views to Lord Henry's. Go beyond the need to draw "correct" answers, as these questions aren't black and white, they are shades of subjective gray.

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