50 pages 1 hour read

Angela Carter

Nights at the Circus

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1984

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Essay Topics


The text is rich with cultural, political, religious, and artistic allusions. Pick one of the allusions and analyze its significance in adding a layer of meaning to a character, situation, or setting in the narrative.


The clowns, and Buffo in particular, are consistently compared to Christ and other Biblical figures. What is the significance of these allusions? How does it denote the role of the clowns in the narrative? What does it say about the juxtaposition of chaos and order?


In Part 1, how do Ma Nelson’s brothel and Madame Schreck’s “museum” foil one another? What is the significance of this foil? What does it say about the role of observer and objectification/dehumanization of others?