Reading Guide for Petronius’s Satyricon and Egalia’s Daughters


The Satyricon

Background Information on Petronius:

The author of the Satyricon is Gaius Petronius   (c.27-66 CE)
Author of the satire, "The Satyricon"

Writes about status, style (as in dress) and describes the high and low strata of society in his culture

Silenced by the Roman Empire: Forced to commit suicide by the emperor Nero

Reading Questions:

While the concept of gender is modern, in the Roman world, one’s clothing, gestures and behavior (all associated with modern gender concepts) can in part determine one’s power and status in the Roman World.

How does the character Trimalchio in Petronius’s Satyricon appropriate the symbols of high status individuals in the Roman world?  
 
How do Trimalchio’s guests react to his behavior?  What are the appropriate behaviors in this society?

What problems in Roman society do you think that this text is commenting on?  

How are the excesses in Roman culture taken to extremes?

Egalia’s Daughters

Background Information on Petronius Bram:

The character of Petronius Bram is named after the author of the Satyricon
Petronius Bram writes a satire, "The Sons of Democracy"

Writes about status, style (as in dress) and describes the high and low strata of society in his culture

Silenced by a government official: His mother tells him to be quiet
"And as always, Ruth Bram had the last word."

Reading Questions:

Who has status in Egalslund?  How can you tell by looking at them?  

How does the author indicate her views on the ways in which language is biased?

Is there anything that prevents men from having a positive self-image in this book?   

How does Petronius rebel against society?

Who is horrified by his rebellion?

Why do you think Brantenberg describes the men at the end of the novel as "laughing in a liberating defiance?"

What are the codes of conduct in this society? How, for example, did the society of Egalslund deal with environmental violations?  

Do you think this work is meant to portray a utopia? 

Why do you think the Norwegians consider this to be a science fiction novel?

Do you think this book is funny?  Why or why not?