Herzog Essay Questions

  1. 1

    In what light does Herzog view the female sex? In what way do his views change throughout the novel, and in what way do they remain unchanged? Why?

  2. 2

    Consider the characters Herzog despises throughout most of the novel. Are they truly hateful to the reader? Why or why not?

  3. 3

    What role does the theme of water play in the piece? How does it relate to another dominant theme?

  4. 4

    Consider the philosophies and the environments towards which Herzog is drawn. Discuss their similarities and differences.

  5. 5

    The narrative alternates three different voices: first person, third person, and epistolary. Does their application seem simply random, or is there some logic to the way they are divided? Why or why not?

  6. 6

    Compare Moses' lovers and wives: Daisy, Madeleine, Ramona, and Wanda, with Phoebe, in whom he expresses no interest. What renders Phoebe so unappealing to Herzog? Does Gersbach's involvement play a role? Why or why not?

  7. 7

    Does the character of Herzog inspire more sympathy or frustration in the reader? Why? How does this reaction shape the novel as a whole?

  8. 8

    Herzog is devastated by Madeleine's infidelity, yet feels no guilt for his multitude of affairs. Analyze this double standard and apply it to his character.

  9. 9

    What inspires Moses' guilt as he arrives in Martha's Vineyard? What thirst has his journey allegedly satisfied? What actually feels resolved?

  10. 10

    Is Herzog actually as crazy as Madeleine suggests at the end? How trustworthy is the narrative/narrator?