The Fall Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- At what point are we first certain that the narrator is male? At what point do we assume that the narrator is a male?
- How do the goings-on between the narrator and the reader (for example, when Jean-Baptiste talks about the speed of the boat moving on the Zuider Zee, or when he stops you to move under a portico because it’s raining) correspond to what’s happening in his story about his fall? Do they relate at all, or is the present-day Amsterdam stuff just a pleasant interruption?
- Are we supposed to hate Jean-Baptiste? Are you inclined to while reading The Fall?
- Think about some of the complexities of The Fall: the fact that a fictional "you" character is created, the way that time is manipulated in the narrative, the implications of the twist ending, the interweaving of goings-on in Amsterdam with the story of what happened in Paris. Is it all just a little bit much? Do these devices obscure the meaning of The Fall, or do they subtly help us to interpret it?
- Camus said that the content of The Fall was more important than the narrative technique – is this true? Or has he overwhelmed the function with form?
- If you’ve read Camus’s other two novels, The Stranger and The Plague, then this is an awesome question for you. How do the ideas in The Stranger and The Plague crop back up in The Fall? Does it seem like Camus’s philosophy evolved? How? Do you see contradictions between these texts? How does your knowledge of all three novels help you to understand and interpret The Fall?
- Do you think philosophical texts like this one should be read in the context of other related philosophical works, with background on important thinkers and theories, or should they be left to fend for themselves as independent works of fiction?