English 1022E Lecture Notes - Bildungsroman

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Published on 16 Nov 2011
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English Lecture “As for me and my House” April 5, 2011
Bildungsroman (building-apprentice-novel)
Kunstlerroman (artist-novel)
Deus ex machina (God from machine)
Urban Fiction
Sister Solph The Coldest Winder Ever (1999)
-Fourth act of a play/book is usually the weakest. We kind of know what’s going to happen
-Odd: he sometimes reaches out and addresses a hypothetical reader which attributes values
to us that we may not have or wish to have
-p.9: you probably think I could’ve been a better person. Don’t be sentimental; who are
you to judge?
-Surprise, because we weren’t judging him. Kind of annoying if you weren’t
-p.74 “you see what I’m talking about” can you see the echo there?
-Troubling about Que’s narrative p.312
-“I’ll find someone to tell my story to. I’m going to wait here.” Why, since all the previous
narrative been in the past tense, why doesn’t he talk in the past tense? Why the sudden
weird shift.
-On page 308 Que is described as ‘half dead’ presumably he survives to tell his story. In
which case, why doesn’t he tell it in the past? The sudden switch in tense might be an
attempt to heighten the tension. Contrived, and Bentley doesn’t think it works.
-Biggest problem seems to be the shooting of Que
-Doesn’t think it’s credible that Jamal would drive the beamer up to that particular
intersection in Richmond Hill.
-Doesn’t think the conclusion is satisfying. Doesn’t fulfill one’s expectations; seems too
sudden, too quick, too incredible
-“Deux ex machina” (God from a machine) sense that the shooting of Que is a quick
wrapping up of plot.
-Not just where and how the novel ends, but when it is. We have so much tedious
backstory at this point; don’t we want to know what happens in the future, to find out
what happens to Que? We are just told that this is going to happen, and then he gets
shot. Don’t we want to know if Jamal goes to prison? If Carla becomes a lesbian and
hooks up with Tuyen?
-Maybe Brand is going to write a sequel?
-Structurally, this text relies on a crossroad idea, intersection idea which links it to Brand’s ___
-Satisfying: we can see a consistency of thought interest and high quality writing
-page 54
-he’s going west, not east (in the traditional islam and christianity, but into western
-figure of woman reaching out, woman as commodity. If not a commodity, someone who
supports commercialization.
-Brand is a Marxist, and you can see this written on the passage. It’s not extrusive, it doesn’t
bludgeon you with a political position.
-The two narratives of Que and the others are parallel through much of the novel, and then they
intersect like a grid pattern in a city.
-In that way, the narrative structure of the novel reflects the subject : Toronto, the inner city
English Lecture “As for me and my House” April 5, 2011
-Finally, a question: Is Que really the brother of Tuyen? Can we be absolutely certain?
-Bentley thinks he is, but sometimes he isn’t sure.
-page 295: Tuyen meditates about Que
-Easy way of being sure: A DNA test, but this isn’t run.
-page 298: “of course it was her brother Que, of course it wasn’t” throughout the section
Que’s voice is weird, and Tuyen sees that. “overly confident, over formal, like someone
trying to hide a more ravenous side” true, but is she also seeing someone trying to
become someone else, to create a different self. If she’s an artist, we shouldn’t
disregard her suspicions about Que
-page 284 what Que says about himself:
-page 288: “monks been taking money from that woman for more than 10 years, to find
Que. I came to think that I was Que.” - is he making up a narrative to go with the story
he is telling to Tuyen
-By some coincidence “if you believe that kind of thing” I come to the name of a guy
-“It’s so great that Binh loves cats”
-The guy
-huxley says “nations are to a very large extent invented by their poets in novels” partly true, it
would be hard to imagine England without Shakespeare, Wordsworth. Certainly writers
represent nations to themselves and to other people. They hold upa mirror where we recognize
something. Brand is holding up a mirror to globalized Toronto where there are problems of
identity, race, that young people are trying to walk through.
-Last passage on handout: from the poem Brand wrote driving to Chatham and they were
stopped by a cop.
-In this country the heart of darkness is these white roads, white with snow (racial
prejudice) snow at our throats with a windshield, a thick white cop peering into the car
suspiciously, perhaps not suspicious, but a man looking at aliens, the psat comes back
to haunt us and they are suddenly made aware. to this policemen they are not
canadian, not white, they don’t fit in.