Florida College Louise and Appearance and Reality Questions

Read these two lectures and respond questions:

Questions on “Louise,” by
Somerset Maugham

Louise does not seem to like
very much the narrator and yet she keeps quite close to him and invites him to
her gatherings. Why?

What seems to be Louise’s
health problem that makes her friends so concerned?

At one point in the story this
is said about Louise: “She was the most submissive wife a husband could have.”
Was Louise really a submissive wife? Explain your answer.

Give some examples or comments
that indicate the narrator thinks Louise is faking her condition.

How would you describe the
relationship between the narrator of the story and Louise?

Then, is Louise deceiving
herself or is she perfectly conscious of her acts and motives?

How many times did Louise
marry? Did she outlive her husbands? Did she have a similar relationship with
them? Did they sacrifice something when they married her?

What did Louise do when the war
broke out (First World War, 1914-1918)? Did that change her lifestyle or was it
a continuation of her previous one?

When Louise’s daughter Iris
falls in love, what prevents her initially from marrying her boyfriend? What is
the narrator’s reaction to this and what happens when he confronts Louise?

Did the ending of the story
surprise you? What is your final appraisal of Louise?

Do you think this story would
be different without its ironical style or without the narrator versus Louise
“match”? Explain your answer.

Questions on “Appearance and

What is Lisette’s occupation?
Is she successful in that job?

How would you describe Lisette

Who is Monsieur Raymond Le
Sueur? Refer to his marriage.

How does he meet Lisette?

After introducing himself to
Lisette, Le Sueur draws three conclusions about her. What are these

What pretext does Le Sueur’s
confidential secretary use to convince Madame Saladin and her niece Lisette to
accept an invitation to lunch from Le Sueur?

Where does Le Sueur take his
guests? What does he do to get more information on Lisette?

What happens that makes Le
Sueur change his doting attitude towards Lisette and revile her?

How does Lisette react to Le
Sueur’s anger?

What role does Madame Saladin,
Lisette’s aunt, play? How do you interpret Le Sueur’s reproach of Madame
Saladin: “But your aunt was there to defend you from the temptations to which a
young girl is exposed in Paris?”

Does Le Sueur think of
blackmailing Lisette at any moment? Explain.

What solution does Lisette
offer Le Sueur to restore their relationship?

What importance does the figure
of “one million francs” have in the story?

Is Lisette’s young lover
untouched by the social hypocrisy around him?

Somerset Maugham says in
“Appearance and Reality”: “There is no excuse for my making use of the title of
so celebrated a book except that it so admirably suits my story.” Is this claim
by Maugham justified? Explain your answer.

How does the combination of
satire and social hypocrisy work in favor of the story?

Compare briefly “Louise” and
“Appearance and Reality.” Point out examples of the use of irony/satire in both

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