Keep the Aspidistra Flying Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Why is Gordon so angry?

    Gordon is angry because he has a profound sense of entitlement that he pretends is actually a social conscience. He comes from a well-to-do family but has no family money to his name because previous generations have spent it. He feels that he should have family money to bankroll his desire to avoid a "normal" job like "normal" people have, and instead wants to dedicate himself to writing poetry which he believes is his calling, and he also believes this calling raises him above average, "normal" people. He is also angry because of money. He has persuaded himself that he is angry with money because money makes people judgmental and is the only yardstick that they are using to judge with. Actually, Gordon hates money because he doesn't have any. The less he has, the more resentful he becomes. This makes him angry. The more resentful and angry he becomes the less popular he is. People just don't want to be around him anymore. This also makes him angry. Generally speaking, when people give up something that they are philosophically opposed to, it makes them if not happy, at least relieved, or proud of themselves. Gordon has given up money but it is really that money has given up Gordon. This makes him angry. He is essentially a spoiled young man throwing an enormous temper tantrum and he is angry because life is not repaying that temper tantrum by dropping large sums of money in his lap.

  2. 2

    What is an aspidistra and why does it symbolize everything Gordon hates?

    An aspidistra is a large indoor plant popular in the English lower middle classes. England is an enormously class-obsessed society and divides the classes not only into upper, middle and lower, but also by rank within those classes as well. It tends to be the lower middle classes who are the most concerned about appearances, and "keeping up with the Joneses". The Joneses all tend to have large aspidistra plants in the windows of their homes, usually in the suburbs. These people are everything that Gordon hates and does not want to become. At the end of the book, when he purchases an aspidistra, it symbolizes the complete turnabout of his life, and the fact he has settled for becoming everything he had previously hated.

  3. 3

    Does Gordon like Philip Ravelston? Why do you think this?

    Gordon and Ravelston are friends. However, Gordon is also extremely jealous of Ralveston because he has the life that Gordon would very much like and feels that he deserves. Ralveston is a good friend; he was instrumental in getting Gordon's slim volume of poetry published - in fact, it would never have been published without his help although Gordon doesn't know this. This shows that Philip is a very good friend since he has done something nice for Gordon anonymously, without any need or desire to have the favor repaid. Philip is well-off financially and so is able to throw himself into his writing and his passion for politics, without having to worry about its profitability or lack thereof. Gordon wants this for himself too but does not have the financial means to do the same thing with his life as his friend. Gordon's general status emotionally is one of resentment and this also characterizes his friendship with Ralveston.

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