Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Midnight’s Children (The End)

Friday, May 11th, 2012

It’s been moved that we allow freedom for this last post, so while I’d like you to keep to the Midnight’s Children, feel free to let loose with whatever.

Midnight’s Children (Book Three)

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Remember, Thursday we’re going to discuss a) what we need to find out in research for our papers, and b) what passages would be good to use in the papers.

Our prompt for our penultimate reading: many of you have noted recently how inflated a sense of self-importance Saleem has seemed to have.  Yet throughout most of the beginning of Book Three, he (at least his narrated, 1971 self) seems to have almost no sense of self at all.  What do you make of this?  Why has someone so self-confident become so vacant?

Midnight’s Children (End of Book Two)

Friday, May 4th, 2012

REMINDER: Read the other essay for your prompt for class on Tuesday.

Comment here for the end of Book Two.  What questions do you now have about the book moving forward (as opposed to those about what we’ve already read)?

Midnight’s Children (Book Two, Part 3)

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Comment here for pages 272-336.  Our prompt for today–what questions do you have about anything we’ve read so far?  What’s been most confusing, either specifically or generally?

Midnight’s Children (Book Two, Part 2 REVISED SCHEDULE)

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

EDIT: One more note.  I’ve been asked to take over two of Prof. Chu’s classes for the rest of the semester.  This means I will have to change my office hours to 2:00-3:00 on TTh, from 3:30-4:30.


As per my email, I’m changing the reading schedule for the rest of the semester.  Book Two is too long to do in three days.  Let’s stretch it to four, and push the last two days up one.  The final paper will be moved from May 15 to the “final exam” date of 5/24.

The revised midterm is still due on May 1st, but since you’re doing that, we’ll push off the essay reading up another day.
Here’s the new reading schedule:
5/1: 206-271
5/3: 272-336 plus the first essay for your paper option (Rushdie, Su, or Bharucha)
5/8: 337-393 plus the second essay for your paper option (Booker, Frank, or Gane)
5/15: 465-533
For our reading, since I felt like we lost a little steam today, I’d just like to ask this question–what passage from the novel that we haven’t discussed (either in today’s passage or elsewhere) do you find most interesting?  (Cite it.)  Why?

Midnight’s Children (Book Two)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

A quick note, first–we’re going to begin prepping for writing the paper next class.  I realize you’ll only be 40% into the book next time we meet, but make a (preliminary) decision as to which option you’d like to do, so I can make some preparations.  In particular, next week you’re going to spend some time in groups next week discussing the two essays for your options, so start planning for that.

Comment here for the beginning of Book Two.  Toward the end of this section, there is a scene of minor importance to the plot, but major resonance to the novel’s ideas, in which we see the death of Ahmed’s friend (and Saleem/Shiva’s deliverer), the gynecologist Dr. Narlikar, who falls to his death while attempting to save one of his land-increasing tetrapod devices from an impromptu fertility ritual.  (Narlikar, as you may remember, has been convinced by his gynecology practice that Indians need to stop having babies, and furthermore, his scientific mindset has caused him to despise Indian religiosity.)  What do you make of Narlikar’s demise?  Tragic and noble?  Deserved for his wrongheadedness?  Comic and farcical?  Something else entirely?

Other Anglophone authors of “mega-novels”:
Thomas Pynchon (major works Gravity’s Rainbow, V., and Mason & Dixon)
David Foster Wallace (major works Infinite Jest and The Pale King)
William Gaddis (major works The Recognitions and J R)
John Barth (major work The Sot-Weed Factor)
Don DeLillo (major work Underworld)
Mark Danielewski (major work House of Leaves)
Robert Coover (major work The Public Burning)
William Gass (major work The Tunnel)
William Vollmann (major work Europe Central)

Midnight’s Children (End of Book One)

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Comment here for the conclusion of Book One.  At the end of this book, Padma excoriates Saleem for having, in her view, misled her the whole time about his family.  What do you make of her complaint?  Do you side with her or with Saleem’s justification?

Remember, optional midterm revisions are due on May 1st.

Contemporary British novelists (like, in his way, Rushdie):
Iris Murdoch (major work Under the Net)
Kazuo Ishiguro (major work Remains of the Day)
Ian McEwan (major work Atonement)
Zadie Smith (major work White Teeth)
Muriel Spark (major work The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)
A. S. Byatt (major work Possession)
Martin Amis (major work Money)
John Fowles (major work The French Lieutenant’s Woman)

Midnight’s Children (Book One)

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Comment here for the first few chapters of Midnight’s Children.  I’ll ask what, so far, you make of our narrator Saleem.  As with several things we’ve read, this story is being told at one point in time, in one setting, about the past, in another setting, so try to keep track of where you are.  The narrator is Saleem Sinai, writing his memoirs at some point in the late 1970s and frequently exchanging dialogue with a woman named Padma.  For most of this first section, he writes about his grandfather, Dr. Aadam Aziz, and his family, during the years 1915-1947.

Other Indian writers popular internationally:
Arundhati Roy (novelist, The God of Small Things)
R. K. Narayan (novelist, the Malgudi novels)
Vikram Seth (novelist and poet, A Suitable Boy and The Golden Gate)
Jhumpa Lahiri (fiction writer, The Interpreter of Maladies)
Anita and Kiran Desai (mother/daugher novelists, works Clear Light of Day and The Inheritance of Loss)

Library Day

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

As I mentioned in class last time, we’re meeting in Rosenthal 225 on Tuesday for a library session, NOT our usual spot in Kiely.  Bring your midterm papers and Midnight’s Children.

Oscar Wao (Final Day)

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Toward the novel’s close, Lola remarks “Ten million Trujillos is all we are” (324).  Given the circumstances of the novel’s conclusion, one can’t really blame her for being bitter toward some Dominicans.  But what do you make of the way she spreads that comment over all Dominicans (herself included)?  How are all Dominicans like their deceased dictator?