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Themes

Brideshead Revisited is told as a first-person narrative by a middle-aged man recalling what, for him, were much better days: his college years at Oxford and the decade that followed. While his memories are laced with the bitter melancholy of nostalgia, the act of remembering is ultimately a positive one. The narrator learns from his recollection and, despite the sad and destructive end to his story, is enlightened and buoyed by the process.

Questions About Memory and The Past

  1. How honest is narrator Charles about the actions and feelings of his younger self?
  2. How does Charles view the past? With bitterness? Nostalgia? Regret?
  3. Does it seem from his narration that Charles has forgiven Julia for leaving him?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

It is only through the process of recollection – through revisiting Brideshead and everything it represents to him – that Charles is able come to peace with his past and end the novel on an optimistic note.

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