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4 - social issues.odt

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University of Toronto St. George
Sarah Caskey

• These stories may be a way for ppl to explore and talk about difficult subjects with respect • boarding school at four ◦ English schoolgirl in a French Catholic school ◦ Went to 17 schools ◦ some speculate this may be source of isolation as theme • Rejected by New Yorker for her first submission because story is too Canadian ◦ later had a very productive relationship with New Yorker • Highly regarded, critically acclaimed short story writer ◦ Henry James • Bilingual ◦ but only writes in English ◦ view = one needs a strong complete language fully understood to anchor understanding Both authors try to make their narratives a space for discussion of this sensitive topic • don't seek to represent Canadian landscape etc • but tries to discuss social issues and engage readers with these questions My Heart is Broken • Ashort story, not sociology • 2011: Osgoode Hall, a police officer said: women should not dress like sluts to avoid blahblah • story still raises relevant questions • pg 130: when that Jeanne Harlow died...her feet were bare ◦ lot of cues and signals in the first two paragraphs ▪ Jeanne Harlow and Jeannie – Jeannie is sexualized ▪ Mrs T is excusing the men on the bus ▪ Mrs T judgemental and always talking – verbal ▪ Jeannie is silent, passive, and objectified • don't have Jeannie as an overall description, but in parts (i.e. Legs, hands, etc) ▪ Contrast between Mrs T and J => age difference also ▪ Jeannie have not fully taken on the role of the wife – Mrs T has ▪ Jeannie is in a physically difficult position • putting herself in precarious position • ex. driving with the German – right after WWII ▪ Mrs T visiting her mother • canned stuff and preserves from her mother – handing down of ideas and judgements • ideas and thinking are simply handed down and canned, not examined ▪ Cutex (cute/sex) nail polish • Jeannie struggles with this ◦ on one hand JH is mythologized, her sexuality is celebrated ◦ Hollywood exploits sex symbols but romanticizes and sanitizes sexual relations ◦ Mrs T is linking JH's death to Jeannie's assault ▪ has no point of reference for rape • pg 132: ref to dwarf song ◦ about a young couple spooning in the park ◦ innocent description, coded as romantic, sanitized ◦ but Jeannie is scared to death ▪ the innocence can turn threatening • pg 132: Thompson's bedroom + pg 136 ◦ the dolls, the “innocence” ◦ author does not want reader to agree with Mrs T, wants us to question her • pg 133: subtlety in her defence, in her response • Mrs T cannot contextualize rape in her surroundings ◦ and perhaps there may be repression ▪ trying to remember how she was in 20, and how it would feel if her heart got broken • Ref to birthing of twins ◦ Jeannie cannot narrate her sexual assault, testifying to her own confusion • Ernie Shrank – in the story Jeannie is not only assaulted by the rape but also by movies and other sources that insinuate their way into the character's min
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