Literary Reflections

Discussion points for The Arabian Nights

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Leila Golestenah Austin suggests questions and topics to encourage and guide group discussion.


The Arabian Nights

How would you categorize these stories: moral tales, fables, fantasies, adventure, or a mix of these? Which aspects of these stories most interests you: the human or the supernatural?

Describe the roles women play in these stories. Does anything about their roles surprise you?

What is the significance of Shahrazad’s role as narrator, and how does she compare with the women in the stories?  

Do you sympathize with King Shahrayar’s outrage over his wife’s infidelity?  Do you think it justifies his madness? Does the story accept or question the King’s absolute power?

What is the role of chance in the stories? To what extent do the human characters determine their own destiny?

The Arabian Nights is known for its distinctive literary structure of stories within stories. Do you think this narrative style is effective? How do the stories relate to one another? Do they enhance each other? Work against each other?

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #283: Discussion points for The Arabian Nights", March 21, 2018