August Book Club Pick – The Picture of Dorian Gray

August Book Club

Vocabulary

scandalous (adjective) shocking or upsetting behaviour

renowned (adjective) well-known or famous

delighted (adjective) extremely happy

self-indulgence (noun) behaving in a way that feels good, usually enjoying luxury

debauchery (noun) wild and reckless behaviour

depraved (adjective) morally corrupt or evil

reveal (verb) showing something which was a secret to other people

twist (noun) a (plot) twist is a surprising element in a story

icon (noun) a hero or idol

amusing (adjective) funny or humorous

flamboyant (adjective) attracts attention for being stylish or colourful

pariah (noun) a (social) pariah is someone who has been rejected by a community, an outcast

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you!
Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations.
Be afraid of nothing.”

― Oscar Wilde

About the Book

The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in 1891 and is Oscar Wilde’s only novel. It was a huge success and has remained in print continuously, despite the book’s themes being seen as ‘scandalous’.

The story is set in London towards the end of the 19th century. Basil Hallward, a renowned painter, completes a portrait of a handsome young man, Dorian Gray. Dorian is delighted by the beauty of the painting and wishes that he could stay as young and beautiful as he appears in the painting.

Dorian begins to enjoy a life of self-indulgence and evil. While his physical appearance should show signs of this wild lifestyle, it doesn’t. Then he realises that his behaviour is reflected in the portrait and he realises that his wish has come true. The effects of his debauchery are shown on the portrait instead of his real appearance.

Dorian becomes frightened of what is happening and worries that others will discover his secret. He hides the picture in a locked room. Over the next few years, Dorian continues to lead an increasingly depraved life, but his lifestyle appears to have no effect on him; he looks as young and handsome as ever. Then one evening he meets Basil, the artist who painted the portrait, and reveals his secret.

The story ends with a surprising twist… all will be revealed in our Wednesday Book Club!

Did you know that our Wednesday Book Club is free to join?
You can book a seat here.

About the Author

Oscar Wilde is one of the best-known icons of British literary history. He grew up in Dublin, Ireland and came to England to study at Oxford University. Oscar Wilde was known among the members of English high society for his witty conversation, amusing observations and flamboyant behaviour.

At this time in England, men only wore black or grey, but Oscar Wilde wore colourful clothes and had long hair. Wilde’s plays made him the most successful and popular writer in Britain between 1892 and 1895, even though his works subtly criticised the cruel morality of that era.

Wilde got married and had two children, but he secretly loved men, which was a serious crime at that time. He despised the strict morality of Victorian society but kept his love affairs with men a secret. When Oscar Wilde was found guilty of having a relationship with a man, he became a pariah and lost all his possessions. After he was released from prison, he had nothing. He lived the rest of his life in poverty and was unable to write again.

We’re back to the usual time for the Book Club in August:
10.00 am UTC, and you can book a seat here.

For those of you that do not have access to a physical copy of the book,
here’s a free version on The Gutenberg Project

The Picture of Dorian Gray
(front cover image)

Discussion

Here are some of the questions we’ll be discussing in the class:

1. Have you ever had your portrait done or painted someone else’s portrait?
2. What can you tell about a person by looking at their face?
3. Take a look at the image above. What kind of person do you think this man is?
4. Do you think you would like him? (Why or why not?)
5. What does the phrase ‘to sell one’s soul to the devil’ mean?
6. In your opinion, what makes a person ‘beautiful’?

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday! Please book a seat if you would like to join us.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer a one-to-one lesson, you can book one here.

If you’re new to Intrepid English, you are welcome to book a FREE trial lesson to discuss your learning needs with one of our friendly and passionate Intrepid English Teachers!

Teacher and Founder of Intrepid English Lorraine

This blog post was written and recorded by Lorraine.
You can find out more about Lorraine and connect with her
by visiting her Intrepid English Teacher Profile Page.

Book a free trial lesson today to discuss this topic in more detail,
and talk about your English learning goals with an
experienced and friendly native English teacher.

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