Florida (Groff) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our talking points to help start a discussion for FLORIDA … then take off on your own:

1. Talk about some of the ways the stories, as a whole or separately, portray the state of Florida—sometimes, for instance, it is a "dense, damp tangle," or perhaps "an Eden of dangerous things."

2. (Follow-up to Question 1) How, then, might Florida, reveal the complexities of human life (or human psychology)—our desires, fears, sorrows, illnesses?

3. Although the stories in Florida are not quite magical realism, describe how they tend to blur what is real and what is imaginary.

4. Consider the appearance of the cougar at the beginning of "The Midnight Zone"—described as "the glimpse of "something terrible," "the darkest thing," which seems to portend the mother's cancer. What other symbols does Lauren Groff use in these stories that carry the weight of the human condition?

5. After reading this collection of stories, will you ever visit Florida again? If you live in the state, does Groff write about the Florida you know—do you recognize this Florida?

6. Which story is your favorite—and your least favorite? Do all the stories work, or are some less successful than others?

7. In "Ghosts and Empties," what stokes the wife's anger as she walks at night and peers into her neighbors' windows? When she enters the drugstore to buy Epsom salts, she leaves without buying what she has come for. Why? What does she mean when she says "I am not ready for such easy absolution as this. I can't"?

8. In "Above and Below," what prompts the graduate student to leave her life as a student and take up that of a homeless person? Is her decision an act of escape… or protest? Or is it neither? Perhaps it's something else.

9. Overall, how would you describe the tone of these eleven stories?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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