What does Norton claim is her purpose in describing events of her private life? What social change does she hope to help bring about?
Does her account bear out her view that recounting her history will serve her cause? Do you think that a more abstract, less personal plea would have served her argument better?
What are features of Norton’s style? Would you describe it as matter of fact? Dramatic? Does the mode of narration render her arguments more effective?
Can you see qualities in her style which made her a prominent poet and novelist?
In what does Norton take pride? (her writing, her earnings, her ability to obtain employment for her husband) How does her husband respond to her literary efforts?
What seem to be features of their interactions?
Is there any pattern to his violence? (seeks to prevent her from writing) Can you make sense of his motivations and/or character? Why had he married her?
Which aspects of English law most affected Mrs. Norton and rendered her unable to attain her purposes? (not able to gain custody of her children, not able to sue for divorce)
Would Norton’s audience have been aware of English marriage law at the time? Of its consequences in cases in which the husband was violent and vengeful?
Do any novels or poems of the decade deal with similar themes or situations?