Uploaded by Elizabeth Price

“Babette’s Feast” --Socratic Discussion Guide

“Babette’s Feast” --Socratic Discussion Guide
● 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
● 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.
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
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?
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?