Letters for Emily
by Camron Wright
Reading Group Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. What is Harry's motivation for writing and collecting the letters and poems? Why does he address the letters to Emily rather than to one of his own children? Why do you think he chooses to use the poems to hide passwords instead of just compiling the letters in a scrapbook?
2. The reader comes to know Harry in the first few chapters of the novel and then through his writings, and even after this death he remains a central character in the story. What was your initial perception of Harry? Did your opinion change as the story progressed?
3. Through reading Harry's book of poems and letters, Bob and Michelle come to learn about their mother, as well as about their parents' courtship and marriage. Why did Harry not tell them about their mother when they were growing up?
4. Bob has a contentious relationship with Harry, believing that Harry was not a good father and even referring to him by his first name. After Bob has read a portion of the letters and poems, Laura says to him, "'I think you're starting to understand the old man, and that bothers you'" (pg. 168). Why does this bother him? How do Bob's feelings about his father change as he discovers more about him?
5. When the novel opens, Bob and Laura's marriage is dissolving. How does their relationship change as the story progresses? What role does Harry play in their relationship both before and a