“Babette’s Feast” --Socratic Discussion Guide GUIDELINES FOR SOCRATIC SEMINAR PARTICIPANTS ● Refer to the text when needed during the discussion. A seminar is not a test of memory. You are not learning a subject; your goal is to understand the ideas, issues, and values reflected in the text. ● It’s OK to pass when asked to contribute. ● Do not participate if you are not prepared. A seminar should not be a bull session. ● Do not stay confused; ask for clarification. ● Stick to the point currently under discussion; make notes about ideas you want to come back to. ● Don’t raise hands; take turns speaking. ● Listen carefully. ● Speak up so that all can hear you. ● Talk to each other, not just to the leader or teacher. ● Discuss ideas rather than each other’s opinions. ● You are responsible for the seminar, even if you don’t know it or admit it. PART 1--THE BASICS What is the setting? There are always two elements to the setting: 1) time (In what time period does it begin, does this change? when?) 2) place (describe the culture of the place and atmosphere/mood) What narrative perspective is used? Why do you think Blixen chooses this perspective? Does it ever switch? Discuss the following characters and relationships: ● The sisters and the community ● Martine & Lorens Loewenhielm ● Philippa & Achille Papin ● The Dean & The Brothers and Sisters ● Babette & The Sisters Consider what we are told about them directly and indirectly. Remember the elements of STEAL. How do you think the author wants us to feel about these characters? Are we supposed to like them, dislike them, feel sorry for them, admire them? Which characters are Stoic? Ascetic? Epicurean? Hedonistic? PART II---DEEPER LEVELS What do you think Blixen’s message to the reader is about the following areas: The material vs. the spiritual The natural vs. the supernatural mercy vs. truth, bliss vs. righteousness religion/ types of Christianity Speech and silence the role of food the role of the artist What do you think Blixen’s message may be to the reader with regard to these philosophies: Stoicism, Asceticism, Epicureanism, Hedonism?