Study Guide

Angle of Repose Family

By Wallace Stegner

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Sometimes your family members can be your best friends in the whole entire world; at other times, they might as well be your worst enemies. If you don't believe us on that one, just ask Lyman Ward, star of Angle of Repose—he knows what we're talking about. Having set out to write an exhaustive history of his grandparents' lives, Lyman is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about his family's legacy. Spoiler alert: it's not all sunshine and roses. Although it can a pretty huge bummer at times, Lyman walks away from the experience with a better understanding of his family—and, ultimately, of himself.

Questions About Family

  1. How does Lyman's view of his family change over the course of the novel?
  2. Are the Wards a happy family? Explain your answer.
  3. How do Oliver's and Susan's views of family differ?
  4. In your opinion, why does Lyman's dad become a "difficult man"?

Chew on This

Although Lyman romanticizes his grandparents at first, his research ultimately teaches him that his family is as flawed as anyone else's.

While Oliver and Susan are both great parents, their marital turmoil ends up harming their family in irreparable ways.

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