Sixth Discussion (Week 12)

Background

Ever feel as though you have acceptance and power one minute, only to whipsaw back to outsider status the next? Perhaps you have had the unhappy experience of knowing that some part of who you are puts you at a disadvantage even as another part gives you status. This week, use intersectional thinking to examine the ways characters may simultaneously gain and lose power in different contexts. The lesbian speaker of “Ways the Philippines Can Talk” hears her family distort her life in the language she shares with them. She thinks, “Convictions of divide and conquer are tossed like habits” (Barrett). Midwestern-born Raúl decides how to feel about the ways his family, boyfriend, and culture at large classify him. In frustration, he thinks, “I felt supremely stupid, calling myself Mexican all this time without even knowing what the word meant.”

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Avoid summarizing the story! Instead, use  your intimate knowledge of the text and refer to whatever specific characters, events, conversations, and plotlines show Raúl’s position.  Do not quote full passages in your answer; however, you can  refer to key words or phrases from it if they give focus to your close reading. In Part 2

Tip: Write your own responses to the prompts fully before you post them and read classmates’ responses. We are well into the semester now, and you have demonstrated your ability to read and analyze literary texts. Put your time and energy into writing the best answers before you scan what others have chosen to say. Like every assignment in this class, your discussion responses should reflect your knowledge and skills. Please do not plagiarize or cheat in any form.

 

Part One

First, explore the ways in which Raúl does and does not identify with his heritage at various points in “The Moon’s Navel.” For him, does heritage mean family,  the Mesoamerican objects in the Museum, Spanish as a language, being a midwesterner,being ethnically Mexican, or some other intersecting part of his identity?  What roles (son, gay man, American, grandson, adult, non-Spanish speaker, New Yorker) allow him to have some power when it comes to his heritage? Which parts of his identity cause him to lose, detach from, or struggle to maintain his heritage?  By the end, what kind of control over his identity does he have, and what is he still working toward and/or learning to live without? The aim of your response should be to analyze, NOT summarize, Raúl’s relationship to being Mexican. When is he included and when excluded?

 

Part Two

Next, using specific details from both Brammer’s and Barrett’s works, explain how Barrett’s poem impacts your understanding of “The Moon’s Navel” (or vice versa). You might focus on the narrator/ speaker roles, settings, imagery, dialogue, or other literary devices of your choice to support your claim. Both speakers deal with family, language, and the problems of belonging, but how does one text direct your reading of the other?

 

 

Seventh Discussion (Week 13)

Background

We have no assigned reading this week. Most of your time can be devoted to researching and planning your upcoming essay. However, we still have a Discussion to participate in, and this week’s questions are designed to help you keep and perhaps deepen your focus on Circe.

Please remember to reply to at least one other classmate’s post!

Tip: Write your own responses to the prompts fully before you post them and read classmates’ responses. We are well into the semester now, and you have demonstrated your ability to read and analyze literary texts. Put your time and energy into writing the best answers before you scan what others have chosen to say. Like every assignment in this class, your discussion responses should reflect your knowledge and skills. Please do not plagiarize or cheat in any form.

 

Part One

“Famous,” by Naomi Shihab Nye, is a short poem we have read but not yet dealt with in class discussion. It is a self-description by the speaker and an indirect defintion of what it means to be famous. According to the poem, fame is shaped by a beholder sometimes, as in the line “The river is famous to the fish,” but the beholder is not always contained by what is famous. Since “The boot is famous to the earth,” it is evident that an object can also be famous. The poem leads readers in additional directions. It creates a complex understanding of what “famous” can mean, and it is a portrait of the speaker’s very particular, oddly humble dream of personal fame.

In a paragraph, apply some parts of the poem’s notion of “famous” to a particular passage or episode in Circe. In other words, present some images of fame from the poem and explain what insight they can give readers into Circe’s renown or self-image or desires. You may pick any passage, scene, or episode you want, to use as a basis for your response. Or perhaps you have already chosen a few parts of the novel to use in your Essay #2 analysis, and if you’d like, you can use one passage or section you already know well as the basis for this analysis.

Your response should use quotations from the poem (remember to use a / to indicate line breaks). You can use quotations from the novel  or refer to specifics of a section in a paraphrase. Either way, your response must make clear what part of the novel you are analyzing. A parenthetical citation of the page number will do the trick, but if you are paraphasing, you can refer to the chapter number.

 

Part Two

** I can do this part of the discussion***At this point in your planning, conceptualizing, and research for Essay #2, what is the most interesting idea you’re reading in your research or planning  to put into your paper? What do you like about it? In other words, what controversy, edgy interpretation, new piece of information, or previously unnoticed feature of Circeworld is grabbing you this week, and why? One paragraph. Please be as specific as possible, and remember that what will be valuable about your answer is that it is individual to you and gives a peek into what you are working on.

 

Third Discussion (Week 5)

Background

We often consider it an advantage to have a role model or a hero/ine whose advanced life helps us shape our own lives. In “Big Fan,” Tinsley thinks about Mia’s career, “It was the sum total of it all, sharpened to a lethal point with relatable cool-girl speak and flecks of references to the kinds of books most people never read but pretended they had,” and Tinsley reasons, “Who wouldn’t want to be like Mia?” (Cai). In “Playing Kerri Strug,” the narrator observes, “Mark played Kerri Strug so much that the couch cushion became discolored and limp on one side” (Reid).

Direct evidence from the stories will be necessary here; remember to use in-text citations (aka parenthetical citations) when you quote. You can see examples of in-text citations in the paragraph above. Another tip:  Every time you quote from any of this week’s texts, your in-text citation will be placed at the end of the sentence in which you quote, and it will include only the last name of the author.

 

Part One

In a paragraph, evaluate the hero-worshiper in each story and consider the top obstacles that get in the way of their admiration. Does the trouble come from the heroines themselves, their admirers, other characters, or the world in which they meet?

 

Part Two

After you read our course document “Critical Theory: Archetypal Criticism” and have an idea of Jung’s terms “Shadow,” “Anima/Animus,” and “Persona,” choose one of the main characters from this week’s stories and see if you detect a Shadow, Anima/Animus, and Persona for that character. Do you think that character achieves “individuation” as it is described in our class document “Critical Theory – Archetypal Criticism”?

 

Second Discussion (Week 3)

Background

People going into the woods is one of the most fundamental story plots in folklore and fairytales. In some cases, the forest is just a terrain to be traveled through; in others, it is a means of earning a living by hunting, chopping wood or finding medicinal plants;   in still other stories, the forest is a location where the rules of the town do not apply. Hawthorne’s mysterious narrator says Young Goodman Brown “had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind” (Hawthorne). To “mother in the woods” Daphne, her local forest seems “isolated, so much farther from their home than it really is, and there’s even something a little pagan about it” (Wisdom).

Direct evidence from the stories will be necessary here; remember to use in-text citations (aka parenthetical citations) when you quote. You can see examples of in-text citations in the paragraph above. Another tip:  Every time you quote from any of this week’s texts, your in-text citation will be placed at the end of the sentence in which you quote, and it will include only the last name of the author.

 

 

Part One: 

Comparing the two stories, explain what purposes are served by the women being in the forest. Are those purposes determined by the women themselves or by others? How much are the narrators (one of whom is a woman) allowed to know, and why are they allowed to know it? As you compare the two stories, use textual evidence to support your claims.

 

Part Two:

From one of the stories–either “The Mothers in the Woods” or “Young Goodman Brown”– pick a character  who is distressed and upset. Imagine you are a trainee  Psychoanalyst who has spoken with the character and read the account of what happened in the woods. Write your clinical evaluation of that character’s experience. Were the events real or imagined, and is the character coping well or not? Would you recommend further help for the person? Use at least one concept or question from our “Critical Theory: Psychoanalysis” document in your evaluation, and support your judgments with quotes from the story.

 

Eighth Discussion (Week 14)

Background

This is a philosophical week. On the one hand, in “Three Women of Chuck’s Donuts,”  Tevy is in a Philosophy class at college and finds herself motivated to discover how people come to know anything. However, it’s not only writings by the philosopher Wittgenstein that compel  Tevy but the everyday questions about knowing that she and her sister have asked for years, such as “How does one know what is and is not Khmer?” and “How can you tell?”. On the other hand, Warsan Shire’s poem shows many overlapping ways of intimately knowing a partner even as the speaker seems uncertain of whether there was ever love there: “so what did you want to do, love/ split his head open?”.

You should be using some paraphrase and a few brief quotes in each answer. Please remember to reply to a classmate in order to scoop up the most points.

 

Part One

In a paragraph, identify two moments in “Three Women” that are about the problem of knowing. You should paraphrase the moment and only quote up to a single sentence that best represents it. Which one more sharply or informatively conveys the difficulties of whether people can know? The passages you choose should not just be a series of questions, and they should not even be directly about the philosophy class. They should describe a thought, piece of conversation, or action that brings a character some revelation about whether we ever can, should, need to, or want to know. Be precise about what type of knowing each passage is about: knowing the causes behind an event, or knowing another person, the future, or our identity.

 

 

 

Part Two

Both the story and the poem for this week have “women” in the title. In a paragraph, do a gender-aware reading of them to answer the question “what does each work say about love?” Some ideas to keep in mind:

the gender requirement means that whatever message each piece has about love, it must involve women in some way. That may or may not result in a definition of love that you yourself have first-hand knowledge of, and that’s ok.

you don’t have to account for every notion of love throughout the entire text. Pick an observation or revelation about love from each text and go with it. If you find that they are similar or different in any way, you can mention that too.

this answer should be between 150-200 words long, so no need to write a dissertation, but be as specific as you can.

 

 

 
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