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Key Issues

Textual geography: what kind of ‘mapping’ is going on in the text? How does it relate to questions of empire and/or gender? Consider travel: journeys, voyages, ramblings… How does the narrative move between localities, and what contrasts or connections are being explored?

Public/private: how are the boundaries between public and private explored and/or problematised? In what ways are they gendered? How are public spaces and institutions (eg. streets, parks, schools, prisons, theatres, shops) represented in the text? Consider spectacle and surveillance: who is looking? Who or what is being watched?

Inside/outside: how are houses – especially domestic interiors – depicted in the novel? Notice the presence of things: mirrors, pictures, furnishings, other cultural artefacts. What is their contribution to the narrative?

Nation: how is the relationship between ‘English’ and ‘foreign’ conceptualised and explored? What values/qualities/possibilities are implicit or explicit here?

Class: how are cross-class relationships and class differences portrayed? Consider the significance of clothes, gesture, food, language etc. as indicators of class/race/nation.

Embodiment and disembodiment: how and when do bodies figure in the narrative? How (and to what extent) are they sexed and/or gendered? Are some characters more ‘bodied’ than others?

Consider the meaning of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ in the narrative. Are they the same thing?