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Sarah Caskey (114)

2 - realism in canadian prairie lit.odt

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Sarah Caskey

Close reading – deliberate attempt to detach from plot and story of narrative and pay attention to imagery, allusion, intertextuality, syntax, and form in writing – active consumptation of texts – HOW meaning is structured and conveyed through its language – we do not attempt close reading of an entire short story – look at particular important sentences, phrases, or a single paragraph How to do close reading: • why the particular words, iamges, grammatical constructions, punctuations? • How do these choices affect your responses as a reader • what other choices may have been made? • Allusions or quotation from other works of lit or other texts? • HOW DOES THE VERBALTEXTURE OF THIS PARAGRAPH ILLUMINATE THE THME OF THE STORY? Prarie realism – Canadian writers have been traditionally sympathetic to women – have been criticized as too "real" – one story about a woman inducing abortion was considered pornographic Lazybones, by Grove • "energy betrayed herself" ◦ strives to keep things hidden ◦ betray: unintentionally reveal ▪ highlights Liz's problems – her capabilities makes it hard for her to conform to her gender role ▪ aligns the daughter with mother, and the boys with the father • the shoe problem is shared between the sons and Walt ◦ contrast against other women (pg57) ▪ Irene = a looker and a high stepper • objectification • gender roles also projected onto the children • Walt is almost unapologetically lazy ◦ contrast against John inAField of Wheat – the stereotypical ambitious midwest farmer ◦ also a non-conformer ◦ emphasis on his own good looks ▪ pg 52: "cowboy" ▪ pg 53: "handsome, big, tall, striking face, a figure to attract girls" ▪ pg 54: "shake handsome man, smooth milky skin" • Liz had married Walt against general dissent ◦ "he had done this one thing, he had stayed on the farm...enabled her to stay in her own tradition" ▪ her own tradition refers to her working on the farm, take on more of the management of the farm ▪ recasting of the notion of tradition ◦ in spite of everything, she loves him – so many "in spite of's": very compromised love ▪ Walt also has many "but's" – dog-gone poor etc ▪ "I suppose so", a muted demure reply from the robust Liz • a moment of love • entering into a compromise ◦ treats Walt as a child • her feelings for Walt echoed in her feelings during the day – notice the regularity ◦ beginning: joyful ◦ morning: critical, burdened ◦ midmorning: angry, rebellious ◦ after she starts helping: grateful that at least somethings are getting done ◦ when Walt takes a break: resigned ◦ when she sent her boys to go help out Walt: no longer angry ◦ milking the cows: at peace with herself and the world, when she knew contentment • she is constantly moving, contrasted against Walt, who is almost always still ◦ "still sleeping" ◦ Liz is described fully and named by her maiden name, whereas Walt is a "grunt", inarticulate •
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