Study Guide

Brooklyn: A Novel Love

By Colm Tóibín


What a bait-and-switch. First, we get lulled into a false sense of security after witnessing the adorable romance between Eilis and her bae Tony. Things seem great. Then, suddenly—BANG—this seemingly perfect relationship bites the bust, ruined by the intrusion of Jim "Homewreckin'" Farrell (seriously, guys, our inner-shipper is dying).

But when we poke a little deeper into Brooklyn's seemingly simply love story, we realize that it's a shockingly complex portrait of a young woman with a lot of conflicting emotions and dreams for the future.

Questions About Love

  1. Does Eilis love Tony by the end of the novel? Did she ever love him?
  2. In what was does Jim differ from Tony? Does Eilis find these qualities attractive?
  3. How does Tony's romantic experience affect the power dynamic in their relationship?
  4. Should Eilis have married Tony? Why did she marry Tony?

Chew on This

The fact that Eilis would so quickly spark a romance with Jim Farrell shows that she doesn't love Tony, and might never have loved him in the first place.

Although Eilis' romance with Jim was real, that doesn't mean that she doesn't love Tony.

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