What are Morrison’s intentions in writing his preface? Do you think that perhaps he protests too much in his claim not to be a realist?
What does he advocate as the ideals of art? (to write what one observes, i. e., “realist” art)
Can the reader take comfort from the fact that the “Jago” proper is being gentrified?
What level of society do we meet in the opening scene? What form of crime is routinely perpetrated?
What is added to the novel by the use of lower-class language?
What effect is achieved by Morrison's use of very short chapters?
What are traits of Dick Perrott as the protagonist? (eager, enterprising, combative)
What kind of upbringing and example have been provided for him by his parents? (father violent and thieving, mother weak and querulous)
Does he have redeeming traits? (fond of his sisters, resourceful and in a way stoic, would have loved a respectable job)
Does the narrator insert his/her views of the scenes and events presented, and if so, how?
What are some instances of violence suffered by Mrs. Perrott? (attacked by Sally Green)
What are Dick Perrott's first incursions into a life of theft? What motivates Mr. Weech to offer him food? (wishes him to steal)
How is he cheated by Mr. Weech? What mean action does Mr. Weech engage in in order to retain Dick's services as a thief?
What thefts occur in the Perrott's apartment building? Who makes an attempt to quell them, and is he successful? (the Vicar gets the Fishers to return the tools they have stolen from the Ropers)
Why is Dick Perrott not sent to school regularly? What form of instruction is available to him? (a Board school, attendance not required, he attends when food or clothing is distributed)
What happens when he attempts to atone for the theft of the clock by giving the Roper's a stolen music box? (they don't want it)
What is indicated by the quality of "medical" care given Looey? Why can't she be taken to a hospital? (this would cost money)
What kind of food is eaten in the Jago? (adulterated, greasy, grimy)
What actions does the Rev. Henry Sturt take in order to better the lives of his parishoners? Why are these effective, according to the narrator? (he is realistic, tries to limit harm, preaches little)
What may we infer from the fact that the novel is dedicated to Arthur Osborne Jay, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Shoreditch? (he was a historical person who had invited Morrison to visit his parish, and like the Rev. Sturt, had raised money for a church with space for recreational activities and a homeless shelter)
What expenses must he take from his 300 pound annual income? How much is left for him? (barely enough to live on)
What does the narrator think are flaws of more censorious/directly religious forms of philanthropy? (don't work, encourage dishonesty) Would Gissing and/or Harkness have agreed with him?
In particular, what kind act does he attempt to help Dick, and why is this foiled? Is Dick able to understand the forces which have undercut him?
Who does he blame for his dismissal from the shop?
What occurs when the floor of a local bar collapses? (melee between Dove Lane and Jago inhabitants) Whom does Dick Parrott attack in the aftermath? (Bob Roper)
What theft does Josh Perrott attempt, and with what consequences? (prison sentence)
What occupations are available to Mrs. Perrott while her husband is in prison? How does the vicar try to help?
In what ways does Dicky manage to be of assistance?
What act returns Josh to the prison system? Does the robbery of someone who lived nearby and could recognize them seem a wise idea?
Does the chase scene call to mind any previous famous scene in Victorian fiction? (chase of Sykes in Oliver Twist)
What results do Josh's deed have for him and his family?
What does the narrator suggest are circumstances which garner sympathy for a criminal sentenced to death? Does this seem fair?
What deeds in the end bring about Dick's death?
What is the significance of his dying words? What motivates his refusal to condemn his murderer? What final message does he send to Mr. Beveridge, and what is its significance?
Are there sensational aspects to Morrison's portrayal?
What are some features of Morrison's style? (roving point of view, irony, spare matter-of-factness)
Has the reader expected a happy ending? Why or why not?
How is the reader expected to respond to the disturbing aspects of the lives portrayed in this novel? What message does it convey? Does Morrison have any hope for a betterment of the East London slums?
Are there parallels between A Child of the Jago and The Nether World and A City Girl? What are some significant contrasts?