Study Questions for Salman Rushdie’s “Reality TV: A Dearth of Talent and the Death of Morality”

  1. Before you read Rushdie’s essay, comment on the title of the essay. How do you think it would help you understand the author’s perspective?
  2. Comment on Rushdie’s tone in the first two paragraphs. How does the author set the tone of the essay?
  3. Why do you think Rushdie says that the success of reality TV shows “tell us things about ourselves”?
  4. In paragraph 4, why do you think Rushdie chooses to use the word “half” so often?
  5. Identify the author’s choice of words or phrases that express contrast in the essay and comment on why he uses such contrasting expressions. Do you find the author’s style effective? Explain.
  6. What is the significance of Rushdie’s expression of “engineered realism”?
  7. How does the “Colosseum” metaphor help you understand Rushdie’s perspective?
  8. Why do you think Salman Rushdie refers to Gore Vidal in his essay?
  9. Comment on the following quotation from Rushdie’s essay: “We are the Winstons now.”

© Ali Nihat Eken, Istanbul, June 2010.

Suggested film: Nineteen Eighty-Four
Suggested film: The Truman Show
Suggested novel: Nineteen Eighty-Four

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