Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
Glory by Vladimir Nabokov
Glory is a 1932 novel by Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov, published first in Paris and later translated into English in 1971. The story centers around a Russian boy whose family flees Russia and receives his education throughout Europe. It's an enduring work of Russian literature and one that most students will find something interesting about. These discussion questions, designed for high school classrooms, can help your students engage deeper with the novel, its characters, and its themes.
Questions about Plot and Characters
- In your own words, what would you say Glory is about? How would you describe the plot of this novel? How does Glory begin? Why do you think the author tries to start the novel this way?
- Who is the main protagonist of Glory? How are we introduced to Martin Edelweiss? What are the events that shape his young life? How do these impact Martin? How do they shape his future?
- What is the central conflict in this novel? How is this conflict established? How does tension around this conflict rise and fall throughout the story? What do you see as the most significant plot points in how the author presents and escalates this conflict? How does Martin handle this conflict?
- Who are the other major characters in this book? How are they introduced? How would you describe their personalities? If there was one line from the book that best summarized each character, what would it be?
- What do each of the other characters mean to Martin? In what ways do they challenge him? Does this change? How do characters, including Martin, change throughout the story? Who do you think changed the most? Who do you think changed the least? What does this tell us about these characters? How has Europe changed? How has Russia changed?
- How does Glory end? What do you think this ending means? Why did Martin want to get back into Russia? Do you think it's fitting that Darwin is the one to look for Martin? Why? What do you think happened to Martin? Why do you think the author ended the story this way? What do you think he was trying to say?
Questions about Themes
- What do you see as the major themes in Glory? How are those themes established? Where do you see these themes in the book? What impact do they have on the plot?
- What motifs do you see in this book? Where do you see these? How does the author use certain imagery and ideas to tie events together over the course of many years? How do these motifs fit into the major themes of the novel?
- What is the significance of the watercolor painting that originally hangs over Martin's crib? How does Martin's life come to reflect this painting? What does this tell us about his ultimate fate at the end of the novel?
- Why do you think this book is entitled Glory? What do you think this refers to? Does it change your opinion to learn that the book's Russian title can also be translated as Feat? What would you call this book?
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