As you continue reading the book, use the following 8 questions to enhance your reading experience.
  1. Consider the atmosphere of suburban St. Jude (named for the patron saint of hopeless causes) in comparison to the more sophisticated surroundings of Philadelphia and New York. Why has the Lamberts' neighborhood evolved into a gerontocratic refuge? "What Gary hated most about the Midwest was how unpampered and unprivileged he felt in it" [p. 178]. What negative and positive qualities are attributed to the Midwest? How are the characters shaped by the cities or towns they live in?
  2. What is the significance of "one last Christmas?" Is Enid's obsession with the holidays predictable for a mother of her generation or is it, as Gary fears, "a symptom of a larger malaise" [p. 148]?
  3. Why does it take so long for the Lamberts to acknowledge the seriousness of Alfred's illness? Is Alfred's deteriorating mental health solely a result of Parkinson's disease? How are his physical and mental deterioration linked? "Irresponsibility and undiscipline were the bane of his existence, and it was another instance of that Devil's logic that his own untimely affliction should consist of his body's refusal to obey him" [p. 67]. Why are these ailments especially humiliating for Alfred?
  4. What is your impression of Enid and Alfred's marriage? Which version of their marriage do you believe—Enid's image of Al as a pessimistic brooder or Al's image of Enid as an unrealistic optimist? In what ways do Enid's capacity for hope and Alfred's low expectations manifest themselves? How do their temperamental differences play out in the course of the narrative?
  5. "The family was the house's soul" [p. 269]. Analyze the symbolism of the Lambert home in St. Jude. How does its meaning change over the years? Consider Enid's stockpiles of expired coupons and Al's catalog of compulsive repairs. Compare this home with the other domestic spaces in the book. How have the Lambert children reacted to the clutter and careful economy of the house they grew up in?
  6. How would you define the members of the Lambert family based on their traits? Which are shared traits and which are specific to an individual? How would these characters describe themselves? If "who a person was was what a person wanted" [p. 539], who are the Lamberts?
  7. Discuss the alliances that formed in the Lambert family after the children left home. What occurrences might account for Denise's loyalty to Al and for Chip and Gary's sympathy for Enid? How do these alliances shift during the course of the novel?
  8. What is the significance of the title The Corrections? How does the idea of "corrections" play out during the course of the story? What does "What made correction possible also doomed it" [p. 281] mean?