Discussion Questions for Death of a New American

Death of a New American takes place in 1912, a time when marriage was still seen as a social and economic necessity for women. How do we think of marriage today? Is it now a purely romantic decision or do economics still matter?


As the bride to be, Louise Benchley’s view of marriage changes over the course of the book. Is she any wiser by the end? How do you feel her marriage to William Tyler will turn out?


Lady’s maid Jane Prescott does not seem particularly drawn to marrying herself, even though she strongly supports Louise Benchley’s marriage to William Tyler. What explains the difference in expectations? 


There are several women in the book who present different visions of their roles and futures. Who would you say is the most traditional? Who is the most revolutionary? How do their attitudes contribute to their happiness?


What do you feel has gotten better for women since the 1910s? What has gotten worse?