The Hour of the Star
by Clarice Lispector
The Hour of the Star Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- What does it mean to be (exist)? The Hour of the Star poses many ideas around this central question, but it never offers any definitive answers. Is that the point—that there is no definitive answer?
- The narrator insists that Macabéa does not believe in God, yet God keeps popping up in the book. Does the narrator seem to believe in a God? Does the text as a whole? How does the text seem to answer this question?
- Macabéa's life is awful. She's ugly, unhealthy, lonely, abused, uneducated, and pretty much ignored by society. Then, in the end, when she finally has some hope for a better future, she's turned into road kill. We have to ask: what was the point of her life, and what is the point of ours?
- Would the story have a different impact if 1) the protagonist was male instead of female, and 2) if the narrator was female instead of male?
- The word "bang" appears throughout the book. They seem randomly placed, but are they? Is there a connection between the word "bang" and what comes right before or after it?
- Our narrator tells us that Macabéa was not aware of her own unhappiness, that she simply wanted to live. As far as she's concerned, she is happy. So what does it mean to be happy? Is being happy as simple as being glad to be alive? Or is it more complex than this? Is happiness simply being unaware of one's own unhappiness? Is ignorance really bliss?
- Why does the narrator take such an interest in Macebéa? He says he must write about this girl or he shall choke. Why? What's his motivation for telling her story?
- Macabéa dreams of someday becoming a famous star like Marilyn Monroe. Everyone else thinks her dream is ridiculous, given her ugly appearance and her substandard life. Given what you know (or find out) about Monroe, what might this dream really mean within the context of her story?
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