Because You’ve Been Pining For It – “Tenant of Wildfell Hall”: Chapters 2-5

Monday No-Obligation Book Club Study Questions!



Listen, Benedict loves my study questions.  He told me so himself.

Chapter 2: Autumn- a time to plant your winter garden

1) the chapter begins in the fall, which is the best time to begin your winter garden, or to plant
trees. How is this significant to the story, or to the relationship between Gilbert and Mrs.
2) Why do you think the men went hunting, as opposed to showing the men at work, at the
pub, etc.?
3) Why is the name and history of “Wildfell” important?
4) How does the description of Wildfell reflect on Mrs.Graham?
5) The opening of gardens and closing of iron gates with her first conversation with Gilbert:
how is this reflective of Mrs.Graham?

Chapter 3: Setting Boundaries

1) mrs. Mark ham and mrs. Graham really get into it in the beginning of this chapter. mrs. Mark
ham states her position as,” But my dear, I call that doting. You should try to suppress such
foolish fondness, as well to save your so from ruin as yourself from ridicule…” “…he should
learn to be ashamed of it (apron strings)Why do you think she feels this way? How does it
reflect the nature of the small, rural community in which she is raising her children?
2) How is mrs. Graham setting boundaries around her home, and her son, in particular? After
her stance on wine is exposed, what do you think is her motive for her boundaries?
3) Old views of parenting vs. new views of parenting?
4) Mrs graham has distinct views on virtuous ness. “Girls are prone to sin, while the nobler sex
there is a natural tendency to goodness, superior fortitude, further developed” “I would not
send a girl unarmed into the world, ignorant of the snares; nor will I guard her, till deprived of
self-respect and self-reliance, she lost the power or the will…” Where do you think she
came up with these ideas? Do you think she is trying to form a cultural rebellion, or is it for
5) Gilbert admits in the end that, “perhaps I was a little spoiled by my mother and sister.” Why
do you think the author included this?

Chapter 4: Study of Persons

1) The party begins on November 5th. This is a pretty significant date for Britain. Why did the
author plant this date in the story?
2) The party politics were interesting, but familiar. Why is it interesting that the persons at this
party are the same type of persons who we find at parties now, as well?
3) Piano: “there was plenty of skill, but precious little feeling.” Why is it interesting that this
would be important to Gilbert to notice?
4) Why do you think Eliza’s father wanted a moderation of dancing?
5) “As artful a little hussy as anybody need wish to see.” Gilbert’s mother doesn’t like Eliza.
Why not? Do you think this is contradictory to what she claims to espouse as well tempered
6) How does Gilbert respond to his mothers opinions of Eliza?

Chapter 5: Mrs. Graham, exposed

1) Rose and Gilbert visit Wildfell Hall, and first see an easel. Why is this interesting?
2) What is the significance of Fernley Manor?
3) She admits she is under cover. What does this mean?
4) Who do you think the man is who arrived “suddenly”?
5) Who do you think the portrait of the winking man is?) Is it significant that she apologizes? Why?
7) “When a lady condescends to apologize, there is no keeping ones anger.” How is this
important to Gilbert’s relationship with mrs. Graham?


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