March 27, 2013
ENGL 222 – Canadian Literature
English Final Paper
o Close Reading inspires P I (CA) E
“I Might Be Nothing” by Rachel Rose
o Place leads stepping stones destiny
o Different places produce different people
o Place being conditional, conditionality
o Place-specific outcomes
Poem perhaps suggests this kind of thinking is dangerous?
o Act of handing the toy back to the child – is it breaking the fix off blame loop?
Rather than calling it a toy, an artifact?
The word artifact immediately placing it in imagination as a thing in
the past the historical component to artifacts
o There is a history to it
But that history need not be read in the same way
Be invisible to the person reading the artifact
o Subjectivities – how we read things
o The puppet disappears in the basket of toys
Theme of absence and presence (I might be nothing / something; disappearing
and coming back)
Disappearing and coming back
Preserving old buildings – why?
Because their presence preserves an absence
o Historical landmarks
Remind us of bygones
How do we make things present / absent? Why? What does that say about our
roles at citizens?
Grandmother raises mother who raises daughter
What is passed on between each
Idea of inheritance
Inheriting our understandings of place
Speaker seems to suggest that there is value in inheritance, but also
problematic aspects of inheritance
o Who is Laura?
Dedicated to the daughter? Or dedicated to the mother? Is there a difference?
o Poem about prostitution, sexual abuse
o Learn how to belong in place by mimicking or performing
o Learn how to mimick love
Learn how to mimick Vancouverite so well that you can actually convince
someone you are from Vancouver
Vancouver as copying other cities
o Child-like voice