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1 ENG370 Study Guide 2 TEXTS Season of Migration to the North, Tayeb Salih  • It was, gentlemen, after a long absence—seven years to be exact, during which time I was studying in Europe—that I returned to my people. I learned much and much passed me by—but that's another story. (Salih 3) o Beginning of the novel o Conforms to narrative of telling stories o Use of word “gentlemen” – who is his audience? o Where is this story taking place? o Makes readers feel like intruders • Introduction of Mustafa o People changing, but other things like water pumps are not changing o Swiftly undone by encounter with Mustafa o Mustafa immediately stands out from the crowd: he’s a part of it, but not engaged thus a type of outsider o Unease and uncanniness o Can sense by the way he’s introduced that he’s not going to be just another person but a key character in the book o Narrator unsettled by the fact that he had a connection to Britain • Soon I discovered in my brain a wonderful ability to learn by heart, to grasp and to comprehend. On reading a book it would lodge itself solidly in my brain. No sooner had I set my mind to a problem than its intricacies opened up to me, melted away in my hands as though they were a piece of salt I had placed in water. (20) o Kant’s idea of a person mastering everything o Later refers to brain as a weapon • The island was like a sweet tune, happy and sad, changing like a mirage with the changing of the seasons. For thirty years I was a part of all this, living in it but insensitive to its real beauty, unconcerned with everything about it except the filling of my bed each night. (Salih 31) 3 o “sweet tune” and “mirage” are words people would use to describe Sudan o Atypical description of London o Using these words despite having brain “as cold as ice” o You can’t be a part of a mirage – hints it’ll be failed o Element of detachment and attachment; living there but not seeing beauty until he gets back o Being charmed by sweet tune o Preoccupation of control • I told her that the streets of my country teemed with elephants and lions and that during siesta time crocodiles crawled through it. Half-credulous, half-disbelieving, she listened to me, laughing and closing her eyes, her cheeks reddening. Sometimes she would hear me out in silence, a Christian sympathy in her eyes. There came a moment when I felt I had been transformed in her eyes into a naked, primitive creature, a spear in one hand and arrows in the other, hunting elephants and lions in the jungles. This was fine. Curiosity had changed to gaiety, and gaiety to sympathy, and when I stir the still pool in its depths the sympathy will be transformed into a desire upon whose taut strings I shall play as I wish. (33) o Missionary’s sympathy o Describes relationship with Isabella as if he’s someone else o Novel not concerned with truth because it asks to focus on perspective and so it sets up mystery but spends rest of time confounding mystery that can’t be solved o Multiplicity of points of view • What was the use of arguing? This man—Richard—was also fanatical. Everyone's fanatical in one way or another. Perhaps we do believe in the superstitions he mentioned, yet he believes in a new, a contemporary superstition—the superstition of statistics. So long as we believe in a god, let it be a god that is omnipotent. (Salih 49-50) o Salih lets the man have his say o Cynical nature of history o No terrain (even statistics) allows you to build history that is always true • Though I was fifteen, I looked nearer twenty, for I was as taut and firm-looking as an inflated waterskin. Behind me was a story of spectacular success at school, my sole weapon being that sharp knife inside my skull, while within my breast was a hard, cold 4 feeling—as if it had been cast in rock. And when the sea swallowed up the shore and the waves heaved under the ship and the blue horizon encircled us, I immediately felt an overwhelming intimacy with the sea. (24) o Aware of what people think of him o Double consciousness o Violent metaphor of knife o Idea of education linked with sharp knife – dangers of being a mimic and falling into that system. Foreshadows the end where he doesn’t want his kids to travel but have a simple life at home o Empty success • He was fingering the cross on his chest and his face lit up in a big smile as he added: 'You speak English with astonishing fluency.' The language, though, which I now heard for the first time is not like the language I had learnt in school. These are living voices and have another ring. My mind was like a keen knife. But the language is not my language; I had learnt to be eloquent in it through perseverance. And the train carried me to Victoria Station and to the world of Jean Morris. (25-26) • Such a woman—there are many of her type in Europe—knows no fear; they accept life with gaiety and curiosity. And I am a thirsty desert, a wilderness of southern desires. (32) o Homogenizes western women • "Funny that no one remembers him, in spite of the fact that he played such an important role in the plottings of the English in the Sudan during the late thirties. He was one of their most faithful supporters … He's now a millionaire living like a lord in the English countryside." (46) o Exaggerated impressions of him o Examples of his own exaggerations of himself o Obscenities for everyone o Orientalist paraphernalia • "[Jean Morris] used to lie about the most ordinary things and would return home with amazing and incredible stories about incidents that had happened to her and people she'd met. I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't have a family at all and was like some mendicant Scheherazade. However, she was exceedingly intelligent, and exceedingly charming when she wanted to be, and wherever she went she was surrounded by a band of admirers buzzing around her like flies." (129) 5 o A lot like Mustafa (both charmers with an ability to lie) o Like Mustafa, she doesn’t have a place o Can’t draw self • "Here are my ships, my darling, sailing towards the shores of destruction. I leant over and kissed her. I put the blade-edge between her breasts and she twined her legs around my back. Slowly I pressed down. Slowly. She opened her eyes. What ecstasy there was in those eyes! She seemed more beautiful than anything in the whole world. 'Darling,' she said painfully, 'I thought you would never do this. I almost gave up hope of you.'" (136) o Violence of certain relationships o Inability to orient himself outside of text; conflicting metaphors of “my ships”, knife mind, rock heart • He asked me this question though he too was unaware of why he had uttered these words, knowing as he does full well who I am … So in an instant outside the boundaries of time and place, things appear to him too as unreal. Everything seems probable. He could be Mustafa Sa'eed's son, his brother, or his cousin. The world in that instant, as brief as the blinking of an eyelid, is made up of countless probabilities, as though Adam and Eve had just fallen from Paradise. (47) o Duality in novel o Narrator/Mustafa o Mustafa/Jean Morris o Exaggerated convergence of birth/death; timing suggestive o Mustafa characterized by something of absence; nothing is just his o Doubling seems to mock reduction of things because even the person who asks if he’s Mustafa’s son knows he’s not • “Your grandfather was cursing and swearing, laying about him with his stick, yelling and weeping … It was the same thing with the whole village that night—it was as though they'd been visited by devils … And it was all without rhyme or reason. She accepted the stranger—why didn't she accept Wad Rayyes?” (106) • I went up to the photographs ranged on the shelf: Mustafa Sa'eed laughing; Mustafa Sa'eed writing; Mustafa Sa'eed swimming; Mustafa Sa'eed somewhere in the country; Mustafa Sa'eed in gown and mortarboard; Mustafa Sa'eed rowing on the Serpentine; Mustafa Sa'eed in a Nativity play, a crown on his head, as one of the Three Kings who 6 brought perfumes and myrrh to Christ; Mustafa Sa'eed standing between a man and a woman. Mustafa Sa'eed had not let a moment pass without recording it for posterity. (114-15) o Inability to let go of past o Onthing behind the mask o Just a series of representations o Nothing of the man to take away from • Mustafa Sa'eed had no doubt spent long hours searching for the right word to fit the metre. The problem intrigued me and I gave it several minutes' thought. I did not, though, waste too much time on it, for in any case it is a very poor poem that relies on antithesis and comparisons; it has no true feeling, no genuine emotion. This line of mine is no worse than the rest, so I crossed out the last line of the poem and wrote in its place: Heads humbly bent and faces turned away. (127) o Taking mask off and revealinjg emptiness o Writes a line about being submissive and the narrator rewrites it • It is not my concern whether or not life has meaning. If I am unable to forgive, then I shall try to forget. I shall live by force and cunning. I moved my feet and arms, violently and with difficulty, until the upper part of my body was above water. Like a comic actor shouting on a stage, I screamed with all my remaining strength, “Help! Help!” (139) o Necessity of performance at the end o Ambiguity of whether he lives or dies o Call for help: he has acommunity there for him o Double in novel isn’t just replication, but double used to alert us that doubling as a technique isn’t sufficient Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid  • It was my first day. I had come the night before, a gray-black and cold night before—as it was expected to be in the middle of January, though I didn't know that at the time—and I could not see anything clearly on the way in from the airport, even though there were lights everywhere. (3) • The sun was shining but the air was cold. It was the middle of January, after all. But I did not know that the sun could shine and the air remain cold; no one had told me … I was no longer in a tropical zone, and I felt cold inside and out, the first time such a sensation had come over me. (5-6) 7 • Lewis made a clucking sound and then said, Poor, poor Visitor. And Mariah said, Dr. Freud for Visitor, and I wondered why she said that, for I did not know who Dr. Freud was. Then they laughed in a soft kind way. I had meant by telling them my dream that I had taken them in, because only people who were very important to me had ever shown up in my dreams. I did not know if they understood that. (15) • She spoke of women in culture, women in society, women everywhere. But I couldn't speak, so I couldn't tell her that my mother was my mother and that society and history and culture and other women in general were something else altogether … "Woman? Very simple, say the fanciers of simple formula: she is a womb, an ovary; she is a female —this word is sufficient to define her." I had to stop. Mariah had completely misinterpreted my situation. My life could not really be explained by this thick book that made my hands hurt as I tried to keep it open. (Kincaid 131-32) • One morning in early March, Mariah said to me, "You have never seen spring, have you?" And she did not have to await an answer, for she already knew. She said the word "spring" as if spring were a close friend, a friend who had dared to go away for a long time and soon would reappear for their passionate reunion. (17) o Subconscious investment that Mariah has in the environment o Certain things have historical weight for Lucy because of her past • The yellow light came through the window and fell on the pale-yellow linoleum tiles of the floor, and on the walls of the kitchen, which were painted yet another shade of pale yellow, and Mariah, with her pale-yellow skin and yellow hair, stood still in this almost celestial light, and she looked blessed, no blemish or mark of any kind on her cheek or anywhere else, as if she had never quarreled with anyone over a man or over anything, would never have to quarrel at all, had never done anything wrong and had never been to jail, had never had to leave anywhere for any reason other than a feeling that had come over her. (27) o No mark or blemish compared to her friend or her mom o Ethereal quality o World of privileged o Innocence o Sameness: family picture where they all look the same o Lucy can’t stop seeing their diference • ..she had wanted me to see some paintings by a man, a French man, who had gone halfway across the world to live and had painted pictures of the people he found living there. He had been a banker living a comfortable life with his wife and children, but that 8 did not make him happy; eventually he left them and went to the opposite part of the world, where he was happier … immediately I identified with the yearnings of this man; I understood finding the place you are born in an unbearable prison and wanting something completely different from what you are familiar with, knowing it represents a haven … Of course his life could be found in the pages of a book; I had just begun to notice that the lives of men always are. (95) • He brought us a large bouquet of yellow roses, and he gave me a photograph he had taken of me standing over a boiling pot of food. In the picture I was naked from the waist up; a piece of cloth, wrapped around me, covered me from the waist down … He loved ruins; he loved the past but only if it had ended on a sad note, from a lofty beginning to a gradual, rotten decline; he loved things that came from far away and had a mysterious history. (155-56) The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy • In those early amorphous years when memory had only just begun, when life was full of Beginnings and no Ends, and Everything was Forever, Esthappen and Rahel thought of themselves together as Me, and separately, individually, as We or Us. As though they were a rare breed of Siamese twin, physically separate, but with joint identities. (Roy 4- 5) o Questions why the twins share this connection even though they aren’t identical o Language as performance o Drama of Sophie Mol o Novel intersects with different plays • Rahel froze. She was desperately sorry for what she had said. She didn’t know where those words had come from. She didn’t know that she’d had them in her. But they were out now, and wouldn’t go back in. They hung about that red staircase like clerks in a Government office. Some stood, some sat and shivered their legs. (112) o Parallel to scene where Amu yells at them o Innocence of kids who mistakes figurative speech with something real • The fact is that there wasn't an "exactly when." It had been a gradual winding down and closing shop. A barely noticeable quietening. As though he had simply run out of conversation and had nothing left to say … It wasn't an accusing, protesting silence as much as a sort of estivation, a dormancy… (12) o “exactly when” – maybe when he was molested o Seasonal change 9 o Distinguishes between types of silence: he’s completely withdrawing from all communication o Text foregrounds silence as something for us to think about o But novel constantly vocalizes what’s happening o Another example of silence is when Amu doesn’t slap him back; negative action. Unspoken consequences • This man tonight is dangerous. His despair complete. This story is the safety net above which he swoops and dives like a brilliant clown in a bankrupt circus. It's all he has to keep him from crashing through the world like a falling stone. It is his colour and his light. It is the vessel into which he pours himself. It gives him shape. Structure. It harnesses him. It contains him. His Love. His Madness. (220) o Formal break in the story o Takes place in present o Formal digression to Hindu myth and narrative o Novel pauses to present a great story to make us aware of how its compared to Mahabartha • “went home to beat their wives” o Roy doesn’t present us with “regional flavour”; instead makes it realistic by showing violence • Perhaps it was just a lack of hesitation. An unwarranted assurance. In the way he walked. The way he held his head. The quiet way he offered suggestions without being asked. Or the quiet way in which he disregarded suggestions without appearing to rebel. (Roy 73) o Velutha a sacrifice for having sex with upper caste woman o Not submissive without being overconfident o Lack of hesitation – negation o Way he held his head – just a suggestion; deoesn’t describe how he held it o By holding him at a distance from the reader, its like holding at a distance the way he is with community members o Is Velutha a subaltern figure? 10 • She saw the ridges of muscle on Velutha's stomach grow taut and rise under his skin like the divisions on a slab of chocolate. She wondered at how his body had changed—so quietly, from a flat-muscled boy's body into a man's body. Contoured and hard. A swimmer's body. A swimmer-carpenter's body. Polished with a high-wax body polish. He had high cheekbones and a white, sudden smile. (167) o Inward process o “so quietly” – like silent rebellion o “swimmer/carpenter” – same body in different environments o Objectification o Almost fetishing dalet body; something that can be consumed (slab of chocolate) o Moment that’s not supposed to happen o Complete opposite of other men in the novel • There is very little that anyone could say to clarify what happened next. Nothing that (in Mammachi's book) would separate Sex from Love. Or Needs from Feelings …But what was there to say? Only that there were tears. Only that Quietness and Emptiness fitted together like stacked spoons. Only that there was a snuffling in the hollows at the base of a lovely throat. Only that a hard honey-coloured shoulder had a semicircle of teethmarks on it. Only that they held each other close, long after it was over. Only that what they shared that night was not happiness, but hideous grief. Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much. (Roy 310-11) o When one love law is broken, another love law is broken (eg. Twins’ inceset) o Gives perception of Velutha/Ammu’s love affair o Necessity draws them into this act o Early in novel they’re “we” so maybe regain connection after long separation  Attempt to achieve/get something • Unlike the custom of rampaging religious mobs or conquering armies running riot, that morning in the Heart of Darkness the posse of Touchable Policemen acted with economy, not frenzy. Efficiency, not anarchy. Responsibility, not hysteria. They didn't tear out his hair or burn him alive. They didn't hack off his genitals and stuff them in his mouth. They didn't rape him. Or behead him. After all they were not battling an epidemic. They were merely inoculating a community against an outbreak. (293) o Economy of violence that isn’t matched by rhetoric being used 11 • He took her face in his hands and drew it towards his. He closed his eyes and smelled her skin. Ammu laughed.Yes, Margaret, she thought. We do it to each other too. She kissed his closed eyes and stood up. Velutha with his back against the mangosteen tree watched her walk away. She had a dry rose in her hair. She turned to say it once again: "Naaley." Tomorrow. (321) • Novel ultimately ends with action that starts the story (hyperbolic style) Traplines, Eden Robinson  Contact Sports • They'd smoked some pot in the garage and it was already wearing off. He was getting melancholy. The high had been short and mild, barely even a buzz. Lousy skunkweed, he thought. Oh well, you get what you pay for. ("Contact Sports" 73) Traplines • We tramp through the snow to the end of our trapline. Dad whistles. The goner marten is over his shoulder. From here, it looks like Dad is wearing it. There is nothing else in the other traps. We head back to the truck. The snow crunches. This is the best time for trapping, Dad told me a while ago. This is when the animals are hungry. (“Traplines” 3) • Will’s interiority (34-35) • The parallel life of the Smythes • “She practically said she didn’t want to see me again. I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t want to see me again either” (35) • Poverty as ongoing trauma – absence or loss? Dogs in Winter • Ambiguous Indigenous identity • Mama more understandable at first • “A-hunting we will go” (68) o Hunting/hunter of indigenous blood o Not clear of Mama/Lisa are indigenous • The moose (41, 58, 69-70) o Moose an ambiguous symbol (Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadian symbol) 12 o Moose a subaltern haunting Lisa; comes back “mouth open dribbling” “whispering” (whispering secrets but we don’t know what those are • Missing people (67) • Lisa’s suicide attempts • “I can betray, but I can’t kill” (67) • Mama wore no makeup. Her hair was pulled back and gray streaks showed through the brown. She looked wan. Sometimes, when she gestured, I could see the belly shackle that bound her wrists to her waist. The talk-show host gave the microphone to a man from the audience who asked, "When was the first time you killed?" For a long time Mama said nothing. She stared straight into the camera, as if she could see the audience. "I lost my virginity when I was twenty-seven," Mama said. "That wasn't the question," the talk-show host said impatiently. Mama smiled, as if they hadn't gotten the punch line. "I know what the question was." (46) o Implication of violent incident during her loff of virginity o Voyeurism: invites rogue answer, allowing them to indulge in blood lust o Making her the other o “lost my virginities” illustrates humanness • Death should have a handmaiden: her pale, pale skin should be crossed with scars. Her hair should be light brown with blond streaks. Maybe her dress should only be splattered artistically with blood, like the well-placed smudge of dirt on a movie heroine's face after she's battled bad guys and saved the world. Maybe her dress should be turquoise. She should walk beside a dark, flat lake. In the morning, with rain hissing and rippling the lake's gray surface, a moose should rise slowly from the water, its eyes blind, its mouth dripping mud and whispering secrets. She should raise a shotgun and kill it. (“Dogs in Winter” 69-70) o Blue dress when moose killed and dress Mama wears o Huntress/protectress/stereotype of savage o “her pale skin” – pale in what context? White? o Subaltern representation? o “moose…mouth dripping…” – hybridity (Indigenous or nonIndigenous) o “she should raise a shotgun and kill it” – hunter or hunted? 13 Disgrace, J. M. Coetzee  • Post-apartheid trauma story • Get the story through Lurie’s POV • Person telling us the story has a big stake in what’s happening • David refuses to confess to one crime while acting as a witness for another • Coetzee, like David, questions what a white male South African represents • For a man of his age, fifty-two, divorced, he has, to his mind, solved the problem of sex rather well. On Th
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