Questions for Discussion

Questions about Style

  • Do you think that Everything I Never Told You is a thriller?
  • Do you like the writing style that Ng tells the death of the main character at the beginning of the novel?
  • How does Ng employ Lydia’s death throughout the whole novel?
  • Since the past and present of the story always cross with each other, do you like this narrative style of the novel?

Questions about Theme

  • The novel says a lot about the influences of the parents to children, do you think these influences will also affect the next generation of Lee’s family?
  • Do you think the interracial marriage between Marlyn and James is happy? Are there any problem in their marriage?
  • In the novel, Marlyn, as a ‘different’ girl, looks unsocial. Do you think the women like Marlyn in the 1930s tried to fight for women’s right or to break the stereotype of traditional women’s figure?
  • How do you think James’ suffering as a minority in the U.S.? Does James’ suffering lead to his cowardly personality?

Questions about Characters 

  • How can you describe the sibling relation in Lee’s family? Are they indifferent or friendly to each other?
  • Do you think Lydia is the most favorite child in the family?
  • Can you compare the differences between Marlyn and her mother, Doris? Are they opposite women figures?
  • Why does James struggle with his identity as a Chinese American in his whole life? Why does he cheat with Louisa?
  • Do you think Jack really understands Lydia and her life?
  • Doris died after Marlyn and James’ wedding, what is the influence of the mother’s death to Marlyn?

Questions about Author 

  • Celeste Ng, the writer of the novel, is also a Chinese American. Why do you think she wrote this novel? Why does she give the novel the title of Everything I Never Told You? Do you think Ng added her own experiences in the novel?
  • Are there any questions you want to ask the author?


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Huilin Qi ’19

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