Study Guide

The Interestings Art and Culture

By Meg Wolitzer

Art and Culture

The Interestings is all about art and culture. Seriously—check out the "Allusions" section; it's full of shout-outs to other works. This book loves itself some references to authors, musicians, actors, and more. Interestingly, while Jules is obsessed with her oh-so-cultured friends and hates her mom and sister for not being the same way, when Jules sees that Dennis is artless, this is held up as a positive. There's a bit of tension there, we'd say. In general, art and culture in this book is a way of dividing people up as much as it is tied to bringing them together.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Does anything happen in Jules's life or mind that makes her go from despising her artless mom and sister to loving artless Dennis? Or is it something in the relationships that makes art and culture matter different amounts? Use the text to support your argument.
  2. What is Ethan's relationship to art and culture, both as an artist and not?
  3. What part does art and culture play in Goodman's exile?
  4. There are so many references to literature, history, and popular culture here—why? What do they bring to the story? How would it be different without them?

Chew on This

More than any good it accomplishes, art is a source of agony in this book.

It's the narrator that describes Dennis's artlessness so lovingly, and this admiration is at odds with Jules's vision of being embarrassed by Dennis during a conversation with Ethan and Ash about an artist.

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