COMP-LIT 141 Lecture 4: White Castle Pt. 2

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Comp Lit 141: Good and Evil; East and West
Professor: Hande Gurses
Notes
Week 03:
Lecture 2/7:
Finishing White Castle
o How does the book relate to orientalism?
The narrator in the beginning talked of how ambitious he was. By the end
of the book, the narrator has gotten fat and lazy
Story was published in Turkish → wasn’t made for a Western audience
Criticism of orientalism
The Orient/Easterner has to fight for their education (Hoja) whereas the
Westerner take their education for granted (Narrator)
Distortion of “we” and “them”
No singular identity
When the characters trade places, there is no distinguish between the
Easterner and the Westerner → all human
o The Ending
No distinction between truth and false → the point was to have a good
story
No interest for the truth
o Hoja was interested in the truth → interrogated people in
his search for the truth and only ended up frustrated
because all he could get were stories → there is no truth
Did Hoja make up his past?
Doesn’t matter
You choose your identity
The ending is supposed to be confusing and it doesn’t matter that it is
o “Why am I what I am?”
Self identity is chaotic in this book
The debate of nature vs. nurture → biologically vs sociological
circumstances
A product of experience, environment and choice
o East vs. West = Hoja and The Narrator
Fools vs. Superiority
Hoja’s rejection of his culture
The characters’ assimilation into each other’s roles
Joining parties, getting fat where Hoja stays home on the Western
table
As the story goes on, there is no distinction of the two characters and thus
no distinction between the cultural ideals → everyone is a person and it
shouldn’t matter the origin(s)
o The white Doppio Castle
Doppio means “double”
The duo couldn’t get anywhere near the castle, meaning the ultimate truth
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