Monday, December 03, 2007

Angels Reset

Consider the HBO spectacle we part-took on Tuesday.

Identify for us the following:

1. 5 overriding questions - what you must/need to/ feel you should ask when dealing with the agenda of this representation: play with the following interrogative words, WHAT, HOW, WHEN, WHO, WHY;

2. 5 decisive statements - what you need/want/ feel you ought to share with the rest of our community of learners when it comes to the way this representation 'reads' Kushner's dramatic text: play with the following words of cognition and sensation, BECOME, BE, SEE, TOUCH, GROW, FATHOM.

Kushner references

These few links might prove insightful:

Do look at them!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

M Butterfly: a story of victimization


Do you see Rene Gallimard as:

1. a victim
2. an acomplise
3. an escape artist?

Do you read the story of Gallimard's downfall, as presented by Hwang's text, as one of:

1. victimization
2. cultural coding
3. futile reflexivity?


The Dumb Waiter: commentaries

Post your thoughts on the following suppositions -

1. Why call the play 'The Dumb Waiter'? Any significance besides the bare obvious, that there is a dumb waiter involved? any symbolism in an 'absurd' play?

2. Who could Ben/Gus resemble from the contemporary world? (think stories, films, graphic novels)

3. To what extent is the langugage of the play a communication tool?

4. What do you make of the ending of the play?

5. Who could be the people up-stairs? What could their conversation be about?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Research Paper: Initial Step

This weekend, I need to hear/write down/briefly discuss with all of you (those that submitted their summer readings and those that didn't) the QUESTION you are going to wrestle with for your longer research paper. These cyber meetings can be as brief as possible (you might use this forum to let me know if you prefer it that way), as long as you have something to tell me.

My task is to help you read/build up the paper's bibliography.

So. Let's work. It can be both useful/utalitarian and seemly.

The Bluest Eye

'Passing' (for white) is a cultural phenomenon that has captivated writers throughout American letters (the list includes names as diverse as Charles Chesnutt, Sinclair Lewis, Nella Larsen, Mark Twain, William Faulkner). Today this American trope seeems as far removed from the American literary conscience as the Ice Age.

In each of her seven novels and in her sole short story, Toni Morrison invokes the passing myth, sometimes in only one or two paragraphs, often done indirectly.

The Bluest Eye features a dark-skinned child who cannot possibly pass for white, yet Pecola Breedlove ignores biology and becomes (if only to herself) a blue-eyed Shirley Temple. Although some might consider Pecola's delusion a weak (or perhaps specious) representation of passing for white, The Bluest Eye artfully reinforces its interest in racial passing by alluding to Peola, the passing figure in Imitation of Life. This intertextual play effectively evokes the myth without actually representing the phenomenon of passing, and in this way Morrison decenters and deforms the traditional passing figure. In your opinion, why is this an important strating point for the novelist?

The Toni Morrison society

Check it out at: and give me your thoughts on what is there...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

bell hooks

Cultural theorist bell hooks (aka, Gloria Watkins), writes in her essay 'Ain't She Still a Woman':

Increasingly, patriarchy is offered as the solution to the crisis black people face. Black women face a culture where practically everyone wants us to stay in our place.
Progressive non-black folks, many of them white, often do not challenge black male support of patriarchy even though they would oppose sexism in other groups of men. In diverse black communities, and particularly in poor communities, feminism is regarded with suspicion and contempt. Most folks continue to articulate a vision of racial uplift that prioritizes the needs of males and valorizes conventional notions of gender roles. As a consequence black males and females who critique sexism and seek to eradicate patriarchy in black life receive little support.

How can we relate this to the pulsating core (i.e., the effects of 'whiteness') of The Bluest Eye?

Punctuate the following sentence...

woman without her man is savage

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

SAR: a reversed journey


Do you share Bill’s take on the issue, or do you feel that Jake and the rest are on to something: going back to their ‘ancestral roots’ as the only viable thing to do when searching for meaning, lost values?


During this week(end), try to:

1. Identify a motif (developing in so far);

2. Read its significance against ONE of the (literary) critical approaches we've workws with in the past, or have mentioned recently;

*hint - for instance, the male/female domination motif read through psychological criticism; or alienation/ambivalence read through new (formalist) criticism; or 'flight'/movement/restlessness read through mythological criticism, etc.

3. Then, post your findings on the blog!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ernest links

For anyone who might be interested in the complex nature of EH's life and work: (which includes the full context of Gertrude Stein's infamous quote)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

NOVA's AP Class, 2007/2008 - WELCOME

If you are reading this - we have moved in our forth year together, looking at, and arguing about literary texts.

Please feel free to roam around, and look at the work of the previous three AP English Literature and Composition classes at NOVA. During the course of the year, we are going to add to these posts and comments, by playing around with the present work and amending it by adding on a few more.

See you in class. Do not forget the Friday, September 6th deadline for the Summer Reading.

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