Close Textual Analyses
Love and Ideas Posted: May-28-02, 6:29 PM by Nicole Hughes Notes: "You know, doctor, I've given a lot of thought to your campaign. And if I'm not with you, I have my reasons...No, I don't think it's that I'm afraid to risk my skin again. I took part in the Spanish civil war." "On which side?" Tarrou asked. "The loosing side. But since then I've done a bit of thinking." "About what?" "Courage. I know now that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn't capable of great emotion, well, he leaves me cold." "One had the idea that he is capable of everything," Tarrou remarked. "I can't agree; he's incapable of suffering for a long time, or being happy for a long time. Which means that he's incapable of anything really worth while." He looked at the two men in turn, then asked: "Tell me, Tarrou, are you capable of dying for love?" "I couldn't say, but I hardly think so - as I am now." "You see. But you're capable of dying for an idea; one can see that right away. Well, personally, I've seen enough of people who die for an idea. I don't believe in heroism; I know it's easy and I've learnt it can be murderous. What interests me is living and dying for what one loves." Rieux had been watching the journalist attentively. With his eyes still on him, he said quietly: "Man isn't an idea, Rambert." Rambert sprang off the bed, his face ablaze with passion. "Man is an idea, and a precious small idea, once he turns he back on love. And that's my point; we - mankind - have lost the capacity for love. We must face that fact, doctor. Let's wait to acquire that capacity or, if really it's beyond us, wait for the deliverance that will come to each of us anyway, without his playing the hero. Personally, I look no farther." Rieux rose. He suddenly appeared very tired. "You're right, Rambert, quite right, and for nothing in the world would I try to dissuade you from what you're going to do; it seems to me absolutely right and proper. However, there's one thing I must tell you; there's no question of heroism in all this. It's a matter of common decency. That's an idea which may make some people smile, but the only means of fighting a plague is - common decency." "What do you mean by 'common decency'?" Rambert's tone was grave. "I don't know what it means for other people. But in my case I know that it consists in doing my job." ___________________________________________________
ANALYSIS Camus participated in the fight against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War, and perhaps uses Rambert's character in this instance to show the absurdity of dying for someone else's ideas about politics. The mention of the Spanish Civil War in this passage was both a personal and effective example of the effect of action based upon ideas without regard for humanity. The characters in this scene seem to be different facets of Camus' views of existentialism and his relationship with the events surrounding the occupation of Germany in France, as well as his own politically and emotionally turbulent past. Rambert, during this stage of the story, appears to be Camus' surrendering to the existentialist view that mankind's search for logic is futile and that human life is sacred, even without a meaning or purpose. Here we move into Camus' views on humanism. Rambert/Camus watched people suffer needlessly over an idea, and ideas can be easily misconstrued to fit certain motives. Rambert believes that the only true thing is his heart. It is a romantic notion, but at the same time a pure, individual choice and therefore it gives a meaning to his life that he had somehow lost during the war. He believes that in the moment he is experiencing love, it is certain. Are ideas more lasting than love? Does this matter? I question what Tarrou means by saying that he thought man was capable of anything. Does he mean that it was his impression that man could be capable of great deeds and great emotion at the same time? Is it about great deeds stemming from great emotion? Rambert argues that man is incapable of anything worth while because of his lack of emotional depth or inability to stay with suffering or happiness for an extended period of time. Does Camus insinuate here that the natural or most beneficial human state is one of neutrality? This conflicts with Rambert's ideas about living and dying for love. Is Camus disagreeing with Rambert (or that aspect of himself?). Emotion will always lead to action that does not fit in with Camus' humanitarian views. But it does coincide with the existentialist view that decisions and actions can have and usually do have some kind of negative outcome. Tarrou cannot die for love (the love of a woman?), but he can die for an idea. Aren't his aspirations to sainthood an act of love for the human race? I think that Camus sees it as an act of love for self. What are Camus' ideas about love of self? When Rieux states that man is not an idea, I believe he is implying that when man decides to die for an idea (during war?), he is also deciding to die for his fellow man. Essentially, the men of the Republic were dying for better lives for their fellow citizens. When Rieux and the others risked their lives on the battlefield of the plague, they were not risking their lives for simply an idea. Rieux dealt with individuals, and therefore witnessed the effects of the plague on an individual level. From his perspective, he could not have seen what he was doing as an idea. When man turns his back on love, is he merely an idea? Without emotion, Rambert feels he/man is nothing. I'm not sure about this. I don't have an opinion, but think it might be interesting to discuss in class. Existentialism conforms to the idea that "the most important decisions are those that effect the free will of other individuals, and that other matters are less important" (internet article). Rieux is fighting for the individual's right to live if that is their choice, so that they may exercise free will. The plague rips them from their lives and takes their will from them. Existentialism also stresses the importance of following through with one's decisions and taking responsibility for consequences of these actions. I believe that this is what Rieux means when he speaks of common decency and "doing his job". He chose to be a doctor, and when he was needed most, it would not be right for him to forfeit the responsibility of this decision, according to this viewpoint.
Joan Lavanant Einstein's Dreams Posted: Jun-05-02, 11:29 AM: Einsteinıs Dreams Joan Lavanant Page 78&79
A child whincing from his fatherıs slap, the fatherıs lips twisted in anger, the child not understanding. A strange face in the mirror, gray at the temples. A young man holding a telephone, startled at what he is hearing. A family photograph, the parents young and relaxed , the children in ties and dresses and smiling. A tiny light, far through a thicket of trees. The red at sunset. An eggshell, white, fragile, unbroken. A blue hat washed up on shore. Roses cut and adrift on the river beneath the bridge, with a chateau rising. Red hair of a lover, wild, mischievous, promising. The purple petals of an iris, held by a young woman. A room of four walls, two windows, two beds, a table, a lamp, two people with red faces, tears. The first kiss. Planets caught in space, oceans, silence. A bead of water on the window. A coiled rope. A yellow brush.
Since I write and this chapter reminded me very much of what we refer to in creative writing as a "word throw" which is throwing out of lines to writers and having them conjure their own images and meaning from them, I wondered what would happen if I took the images above and mixed them up and gave them my own meaning.
Photograph By Joan Lavanant 6/4/02
A fatherıs lips twisted in anger
And a young boyıs spirit
White fragile unbroken
Two windows of a black sedan rolled tightly shut.
Muffled cries of a child not understanding
Wincing from a fatherıs slap
Streaming tears flooding emotions
Drowning in oceans of silence.
Through a ticket of trees
With a chateau rising in the distance
The red sun setting
Far from the place
Where the blue hat washed up on shore.
A bead of water on a car window
A strangerıs face in the rearview mirror
Turning back yesterday
Falling forward today
Two parents young and relaxed
Children in ties and dresses
A whirling mix
Of wild mischief and promise.
A gray rain beating down
A young man holding a telephone
Far from the Temple of the Red Sun
An eggshell casket lowered from a coiled rope.
A young woman with a yellow brush in hand
Two windows One bed one lamp
A tiny light timelessly adrift
Tears in purple petals of irises
Roses freshly cut that morning
And a first kiss.
This chapter begins with asking us to see the world as world made up of only images as a world where there is no time. All the pages of this chapter are a listing of images but each reader can either isolate or interconnect them according to his own frame of life reference. Why do certain images stand out in our minds, while other things we encounter completely erase from our memory? These images and their meaning for us impact how we take our place in the world. Their influence on us is timeless. We experience something in the present and it goes into memory it is our past or so we think. It comes to mind in the future. An image can be triggered by a related or totally unrelated event or some object in the world and there is a flood of emotions that may accompany the recall. I wrote the poem, Photograph, to give my own meaning to the images in the above passage. It incorporates my life and consists of remembrances of things I have seen and experienced, people I have met and stories I have heard. The images Iıve seen in the world that have impacted me and have been resting in my unconscious are brought forth when the writer writes. These images rearranged from Alan Lightmanıs Einsteinıs Dreams take the meaning the writer or reader chooses and I believe this is what Lightman means us to do. He means each of us to give a place in time to the images he presents and to embrace or reject the images according to whether they have relevance for us much the way the mind does. Everyoneıs life is an individual occurrence touched by many of the same experiences but how those experiences are collected is key to interpretation.
No Exit Joan Lavanant Posted: May-31-02, 3:42 PM by Joan Lavanant Notes: Major 20th Century Writers Joan Lavanant Professor "Evergreen" NO EXIT
INEZ: Yes, I see. (A pause.) Look here! Whatıs the point of playacting, trying to throw dust in each otherıs eyes? Weıre all tarred with the same brush.
Estelle: (indignantly): How dare you!
INEZ: Yes, we are criminals-murderers-all three of us. Weıre in hell, my pets; they never make mistakes, and people arenıt damned for nothing.
ESTELLE: Stop! For heavenıs sake-
INEZ: In hell! Damned souls-thatıs us, all three!
ESTELLE: Keep quiet! I forbid you to use such disgusting words.
INEZ: A damned soul-thatıs you, my plaster saint. And ditto our friend there, the noble pacifist. Weıve had our hour of pleasure, havenıt we? There have been people who burned their lives out for our sakes-and we chuckled over it. So now we have to pay the reckoning.
GARCIN: (raising his fist) Will you keep your mouth shut, damn it!
INEZ: (confronting him fearlessly, but with a vast surprise) Well, well! (A pause.) Ah, I understand now. I know why they put us three together.
GARCIN: I advise you to to think twice before you say any more.
INEZ: Wait! Youıll see how simple it is. Childishly simple. Obviously there arenıt any physical torments-you agree, donıt you? And yet weıre in hell. And no one else will come here. Weıll stay in this room together, the three of us, for ever and ever. In short, thereıs someone absent here, the official torturer.
GARCIN: (sotto voce) Iıd noticed that.
INEZ: Itıs obvious what theyıre after-an economy of manpower-or devil power, if you prefer. The same idea as in the cafeteria, where customers serve themselves.
ESTELLE: What ever do you mean?
INEZ: I mean that each of us will act as torturer of the two others. (There is a short silence as they digest this information.)
GARCIN: (gently) No, I shall never be your torturer. I wish neither of you any harm, and Iıve no concern with you. None at all. So the solutionıs easy enough; each of us stays put in his or her corner and takes no notice of the others. You here, you here, and I there. Like soldiers at our posts. Also, we mustnıt speak. Not one word. That wonıt be difficult; each of us has plenty of material for self-communings. I think I could stay ten thousand years with only my thoughts for company.
ESTELLE: Have I got to keep silent too? I like what this passage does with language. I chose it because I noticed many references to the other and creative use of references to Hell. Who are the "they" whom Inez speaks of who never make mistakes who are damning those who do? Thereıs a bit of humor in Estelleıs imploring to her to stop "for heavenıs sake." Does Estelle perhaps feel she has what it takes to rise to the occasion? There are a lot of references to Heaven and Hell and there seems to be a switching between the two worlds as the three "damned souls" discuss their situation. Estelle forbids Inez to use disgusting words. In Christianity, disgusting words are sometimes curse words as is the case with damn and cursing is considered a sin, which is punishable. Inez in turn retaliates by referring to Estelle as a plaster saint. She goes on to say, "weıve had our hour of pleasure." This is a reference to life on earth being very limited as compared to eternity and particularly an unpleasant eternity in Hell. She says, "People have burned their lives for our sake." Again a metaphor. Those who suffered in life because of these three find justice in their death because Estelle, Garcin, and Inez have gone to hell to burn for all eternity. Think twice before you say anything more advises Garcin. What equals punishment in Hell they wonder. Then contemplation of that question follows. Is it physical torments? Is it being left with no one but the other two forever? Yes, is the official torturer really absent? Then Inez clarifies this with the connection of man-power and devil-power, one in the same and further defining as the three being customers who serve themselves. Again, the Christian concept that those who are self serving rather than spending their lives serving others, will not make it to Heaven. Finally, Garcin further explains the torturer or does he? He says, "we mustnıt speak, not one word. That wonıt be difficult, each of us has plenty of material for self-communings. I think I could stay ten thousand years with only my thoughts for company. Is he repenting when he wishes neither Estelle or Inez harm or does he not wish harm to those who are his mirror image? He speaks of each going to their respective corners and keeping quiet. This is the way naughty children are punished by sitting in the corner and thinking about what they have done. Letıs remember however what got these three where they are. Playing devilıs advocate, I would say Garcin does not find ten thousand years with only his own thoughts for company as punishment but likely takes fiendish delight in his reminiscences.
Posted: Jun-17-02, 6:03 PM by Nicole Suczek:
CLOSE TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF WAR IN EGYPT ³ He was the one who handed me the groupıs papers, and I was struck by his modest manner-or what a lifer, a regular army man, would call his slackness and lack of military bearing. He was clearly in charge of the group though there were no stripes on his sleeve, and yet it was obvious from the way he treated the others that he didnıt enjoy the role. I almost told him he didnıt deserve to be entrusted with leadership, but somehow the words stuck in my throat; I swear it was his obvious good nature that stopped me. I had another look at him. He was a peasant-it was obvious from his knuckles and his hands-and I could see he was upset. He seemed helpless, yet appealing for help, with some suppressed inner turmoil. It was a brown face, Masriıs, the colour of Nile silt.² P.98
Beginning in the first line of the passage, Mr. Al-QaıId uses alliteration ³modest manner² and onomatopoeia ³ slackness² and ³ lack² to present his readers with a vivid and tangible character description. The words slackness and lack not only are similar to one another, but also create a feeling of slow ³ slack² and lethargic ³ lack ³ disposition. A caesura is also added to emphasize this characterıs clear antithetic quality ³ or what a lifer² Following, we find alliteration of the esı sound again in ³ stripes on his sleeve.² The metaphor ³ words stuck in my throat ³ clearly are not literal terms; however, it is possible to identify with what the author is trying to say. What is ironic here is words are formed by air and the formation of our lips, so literally they cannot ³ get stuck ³ in our throats; it is more the effect of a feeling which causes this to happen. The next few sentences are euphonic with rolling vowels, esı sounds and soft consonants such as obvious, hands, upset.² Despite the possible connotation of the words, the context in which they are used is soft in order to portray a friend. Finally, the last sentence describes Masriıs ³brown face² comparing it to silt from the Nile. This not only is a gentle comparison of his skin colour, but also is a harmonious and smooth description. It has the power to carry the reader into the next paragraph departing on a comfortable and relaxing note.
CLOSE TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF GOD DIES BY THE NILE ³ But Metwalli had lived among the dead year after year, like any worm. Every day he would squat in his usual place at the far end of the village, on the river bank, waiting until the sun had dropped into some deep recess. Then he stood up, descended the slope of the river bank with his limping gait, and walked slowly in the direction of the cemetery to seek his bed among the dead. But once arrived there, before lying down every now and then to pick up a piece of pastry or bread left by some relative of one of the dead. Even after he had eaten, he remained awake for some time, as though turning something over in his mind before he slept. Then suddenly he stood up again, and walked straight to the graves, guided in the dark by a certain smell which he knew so well that he could distinguish it even at a distance, and even surrounded by other smells. It was the smell of new buried flesh, of warm blood and cells which lived although the body was dead.² P.57
Nawal El Saadawiıs book is rampant with detailed and picturesque scenes. The passage above is filled with cause and effect forms, alliterations and metaphors. Directly in the first line, the author accentuates Metwalliıs constitution in which she compares his time in life as to that of a worm. This negates any attractiveness or eloquence in the characterıs disposition and creates a slimy, annoying mood. ³the sun had dropped into some deep recess² cannot be construed as literal, even though the reader can identify with the picture. It is ironic and almost false to say the sun drops, since the world is round so nothing can drop from or onto it and that we rotate around the sun. The next sentence is a cacophony with choppy sounds such as ³ stood; bank; gait; cemetery, dead.² These words are symbolic as they inadvertently insinuate imminent death or a rude awakening. Symbolism carries further throughout the next sentence as the character collects the remains of food left over by his relatives. There is a somewhat morbid and sad tone to this reality, since it is ironic that he does not share a meal with his family. ³as though turning something in his mind before he slept² is a convincing yet metaphorical and ironic image. The reader can empathize with Metwalliıs inability to sleep; however literally, thoughts are kept in our mind and cannot turn. They may take on the image, but we cannot determine their direction. It is difficult to ignore the alliteration of esı sounds, the cause ³ stood up again² and effect ³walked straight² and even the rhyme of ³smell he knew so well.² It seems the author could not help herself in describing the situation, but to load the sentence with coincidental rhetorical devices. The last sentence in the passage is the antithesis to the very thing being described. Dead bodies which the reader associates with coldness, since life does not inhabit the space, is contradicted with ³ the smell of ³new buried flesh, of warm blood and cells.² This gives one an impression that death is a rebirth and reminiscent of our motherıs womb.
Selections from Nicole Suczek:
³ My pride wounded and my heart broken, I wander aimlessly around like a stray dog.. The heat does away with the pleasure of walking. Café Riche is a refuge from the pain of loneliness. I sit and order a cup of coffee, and prick up my ears.This is a temple where offerings are made to the late hero, who has become a symbol of lost hope, hope for the poor and the alienated. Here, too, torrents of indignation are poured upon the hero of victory and peace, victory that has turned out to be but a dirty game, and peace, surrender. All this within earshot of Israeli tourists. I find a solace in just sitting there listening.² p.53
Mahfouzıs The Day the Leader Was Killed is a pithy 100 page novel loaded with colorful aphorisms. In a mere six lines, Mahfouz translates Elwanıs momentary perception into a poetic and sympathetic passage. The metaphor of an aimless ³stray dog² intensifies the characterıs feelings. Although a human could never turn into a dog, the feeling of loneliness is best characterized through such an animal. However, the despair is taken away by Café Riche. Even though the literal meaning is again impossible, we have all been in a place which provides comfort and takes the pain away-at least momentarily. This intense imagery not only personifies the café- one could mistake the place for having as much power as a mother would for a child-but also explains Elwanıs need for shelter from the despondency of sadness. ³ I prick up my ears² is misleading. At first one imagines the character as a dog or rather vice versa personifying the dog giving the character a hyperbolic edge to his curiuosity.
Following this line we find a conglomeration of gentle ³ aycht² sounds in hero,and hope twice. ³ Torrents of indignation poured upon [. . .]² is a strong image. He gives a lot of power to the overpowering feeling of anger which again is easy to identify with showing Elwanıs human weakness towards suppressed emotion. The image of ³indignation pouring² reminds one of a volcano exuding lava, carving it s way throught the mountain. Within the same sentence there is a strangely configured appositive with the sequential rhythm of ³ victory and peace, victory that has turned out to be but a dirty game, and peace, surrender.² There is a consistent flow to this sentence as one is brought threw the evolution of victory and its effects. The last sentence not only is alliteration of esı sounds, but euphonist. The harmonious tone is so comfortable, one can predict sunshine to break Elwanıs isolation.
Close Text of Night Posted: Jun-04-02, 12:29 PM by Nicole Suczek
Notes: ' In the wagon where the bread had fallen, a real battle had broken out. Men threw themselves on top of each other, stamping on each other, tearing at each other, biting each other. Wild beasts of prey, with animal hatred in their eyes; an extraordinary vitality had seized them, sharpening their teeth and nails.' -p.95
Wiesel has as luring a descriptive style as Camus. His sickening and gut wrenching sentences fill the pages until the last pages. In this passage, Wiesel mixes alliterations, metaphors and stark imagery. While he illustrates the complete barren spirit of the concentration camp victims. He begins in the first sentence by elucidating the fierce and unmerciful competition each man exihibits over a piece of bread. So much is their hunger that metaphorically: " a battle had broken out." Alliteration traces through the second sentence with the sounds of ' tee. ' " Stamping, tearing, biting," gives a bestial rhythm to the entire tone of the passage. The reader can almost envision the animal like behavior through these words. The choppiness is unrelenting, creating a sympathetic mood for these victims. The entire action centralizes around cause and effect. The victims are thrown bread and they react by ragefully endeavoring to catch their ' piece of the pie.' " Wild beasts of prey, with animal hatred in their eyes " expresses the lack of morality, the destitutes souls using metaphorical imagery. Wiesel ends this passage with a viscious analogy. That despite their deprived state and fatigue, " an extraordinary vitality had seized them, sharpening their teeth and nails. " Again, the imagery is blatant and engulfs the reader into imagery beyond coherence. One must deduce their suffering by referring to comparison in animal, immoral behaviors. It is virtually impossible to grasp what they have endured. However, Wiesel is able to vanquish the impossibility through grotesque imagery. In this case, both Remarque and Wiesel are masters at expressing the disgusting self-abandonment and abandonment of god in times of desperation.
Close text of Night Posted: Jun-24-02, 12:01 AM by Ruth Snapper
Close Textual Analysis- Night
1 Some years later, I watched the same kind of scene at Aden. The passengers
2 boat were amusing themselves by throwing coins to the "natives," who were diving
3 in to get them. An attractive, aristocratic Parisienne was deriving special pleasure
4 from the game. I suddenly noticed that two children were engaged in a death
5 struggle trying to strangle each other. I turned to the lady.
6 "Please", I begged, "don't throw any more money in!"
7 "Why not?" she said. "I like to give to charity...."
8 In the wagon where the bread had fallen, a real battle had broken out. Men threw
9 themselves on top of each other, stamping on each other, tearing at each other,
10 biting each other. Wild beasts of prey, with animal hatred in their eyes; an
11 extraordinary vitality had seized them, sharpening their teeth and nails.
12 A crowd of workmen and curious spectators had collected along the train. They
13 had probably never seen a train with such a cargo. Soon, nearly everywhere,
14 pieces of bread were being dropped into the wagons. The audience stared at
15 these skeletons of men, fighting one another to the death for a mouthful.
16 A piece fell into our wagon. I decided I would not move. Anyway, I knew that I
17 would have never have the strength to fight with a dozen savage men! Not far
18 away I noticed an old man dragging himself on all fours. He was trying to
19 disengage himself from the struggle. He held his hand to his heart. I thought at first
20 that he had received a blow to the chest. Then I understood; he had a bit of bread
21 under his shirt. With remarkable speed he drew it out and put it to his mouth. His
22 eyes gleamed; a smile, like a grimace, lit up his dead face. And it was immediately
23 extinguished. A shadow had just loomed up near him. The shadow threw itself
24 upon him. Felled to the ground, stunned with blows, the old man cried:
26 "Meir. Meir, my boy! Don't you recognize me? I'm your father...your hurting me...your killing your father! I've got some bread...for you too...for you too..."
27 He collapsed. His fist was still clenched around a small piece. He tried to carry it to
28 his mouth. But the other one threw himself upon him and snatched it. The old man
29 again whispered something, let out a rattle, and died amid general indifference.
30 His son searched him, took the bread, and began to devour it. He was not able to
31 get very far. Two men had seen and hurled themselves upon him. Others joined in.
32When they withdrew, next to me were two corpses, side by side, the father and the son.
33 I was fifteen years old.
Analysis by Ruth Snapper
This is a powerful passage in the book. It showcases Wiesel's ability to set the scene with a simple story from a later time and then bring the reader right back to the memories of the Nazi horror. But in this passage it was the horror of humankind being pushed beyond the edge by starvation. In the first paragraph Wiesel describes being on a ship where a rich woman was throwing money to the natives. This action causes Weisel to have a kind of flashback to an earlier time in the camp. The rich woman doesn't understand why her actions of throwing coins to the native might be bad; Wiesel himself offers no detailed explanation in the paragraph. Perhaps, he too has to go back to the camp to find out why such things might be hurtful or evil. This is a significant acknowledgement on the part of Wiesel, he brings home for the reader how trauma and the evils of war can be forgotten when one is comfortable and has put some distance between oneself and the traumatizing event. Taken back to the camp, the reader sees a story unfold of men turning into animals; loosing their humanity in search of a scrap of bread. In line 10, he refers to the men as wild beasts of prey, describing how they had sharpened teeth and nails, fighting each other for the few scraps that were being flung into the railroad car by the Nazis, reminiscent of a circus sideshow with wild beasts being offered food while a crowd looked on in awe. Wiesel totally represents these men as animals. One man may have a shred of humanity left. In line 18 Wiesel notes an old man dragging himself away on all fours. The man is leaving the animal world and trying to regain some of his humanity; disengage from the struggle (line 19). The old man held his hand to his heart, again a reference to his humanity. Wiesel goes on to give him more human qualities, his eyes gleamed, and a smile lit up his dead face. So he was not an animal, just a man dead to his humanity. Wiesel then speaks of a shadow looming near the old man, just has he was about to regain his humanity by ingesting the bread of life, the food that would turn his mind from hunger to humanity. The shadow represents another man looming above the old man, but it can also be seen as death, death of the old man, and death to his humanity, his compassion. When the old man is pounced upon by the shadow (line 24), the old man utters his final words, recognizing his killer as his own son, and offering to share the bread with him. But the son is still an animal, the old man realizing the hopelessness of the situation, dies amid the"general indifference " of his son and of all the wild beasts in the railroad car. The son, too, is then pounced upon, and perhaps having some dim realization of what has just transpired, dies next to his father, preferring to die rather than to live with what he has done. Wiesel ends this passage by telling us that he was just 15 years old. He indicates this as a warning to people who think that men can be masters over their inner animals-here we have many men older and wiser than a fifteen year old who were unable to control the wild beast within themselves, yet Wiesel saw the situation as a loosing proposition from the very beginning and did not give into his desires, and was able to observe everything while retaining his own humanity and compassion. close text of no exit Posted: Jun-12-02, 3:56 PM by Ruth Snapper Close Text of Western Front
Posted: Jun-04-02, 12:38 PM by Nicole Suczek Notes:
" Die Front is ein Kaefig in dem man nervoes warten muss auf das, was geschehen wird. Wir liegen under dem Gitter der Granatenbogen und leben Spannung des Ungewissen. Ueber uns schwebt der Zufall. Wenn ein Geschoss kommt, kann ich mich ducken, das ist alles; wohin es schlaegt, kann ich weder genau wissen noch beeinflussen." - p. 103
Mr Remarque uses picturesque metaphors to paint his interpretation of his current situation. In the first line he gives the experience of the front line in the war field a physical attribute: " The front is like a cage." IN doing so, the reader is suffocated by the restrictions put upon the main character. He cannot escape this cage. It is possible to imagine his terror as he nervously wait for what will come next. Here he opens himself up to his powerlessness as a human being, which again is reiterated in the last sentence of the passage: " whereever the bullets will target is beoynd my control." The second sentence takes us into the soldier's psyche. The consciousness endures trauma, as they " live within the tension of not knowing." This is somewhat contradictory,as uncertainty does not have a physical form. However from experience, one can identify with the feeling. He goes on with " conincidence floating above us." Indeed it is clear this does not literally happen. There is a faint insinuation of his belief in somthing grander controlling circumstances-a divine influence. The metaphor is filled with religious connotations, since conincidence is above them just like god is. Alliteration follows in the next few lines, as he details his body movement during a raid: " When it fires, I duck down-this is all I can do. " In the German version, this sentence rings the sounds of " kay. " The consonant "k" is strong and has the effect of taking over the tone of the entire passage. It is virtually impossible not to think of the harsh, unforgiving, inhumane circumstances they find themselves in. Finally, the reader takes a trip back into the character's awareness. " Where exactly the target will be is beyond my control as well as my knowledge." Here we are left with complete identification of any situation in life. Whether it be bullets or fate, we are not in control.
Carrie Karo July 7, 2002
Close Text Analysis
Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh \
Close Text p. 42 & 43
Usama found himself seizing the old man by the collar and shaking him violently. The emaciated old body trembled in his hands like a sack of bran. He stopped himself and eased the old man down to the ground, where he squatted, his head bent. Abu Shahadaı, he pleaded, you have forgotten who I am, have you? Say you havenıt forgotten who I am.ı The old man didnıt raise his head or answer the plea. He felt his chest carefully with his dry old hands and proceeded to rearrange his head scarf which had come loose. You havenıt forgotten me, Abu Shahada?ı said Usama in a low voice. But the old man didnıt reply. Usamaıs eyes filled with tears. Oh, whatıs happened to us?ı he cried. Whatıs happened? I donıt understand. I donıt understand anything.ı He turned on his heal and tramped out of the orchard. No one saw him off except the aging dog.
My first impression of this passage is the realistic representation of a conversation in an oppressed society. You can feel the frustration that Usama is going through by the descriptive language (violent shaking and teary eyes). Usama feels not only rejected by Abu but by the country he has been away from This passage is convincing and sincere. Abu appears so brittle that he could snap. His brain has already snapped. You can see that Abuıs brain has been fried and has grown old in his determination to survive. This book gives us a look into the tacit feelings of Palestinians. It shows us the complex state of affairs that exists in the Middle East by giving us an accurate assessment of everyday life for these people.
Alter Ego Scene: (Elie and Usama sitting on a bus in New York City. Elie is staring a Usamaıs very large bag.) Usama: What are you looking at? Elie turns his head away and says nothing. Usama: What do you think I have in my bag? I have dark skin so I must be a terrorist, right? Elie: (Says nothing) Usama: Did you hear me Jew? Elie: Itıs possible. Usama: You are disgusting. Elie: (Sighs) Look, just leave me alone and spare me your political views. Usama: I will spare you, this time, but do not forget my face. Elie: And do not underestimate me. Usama: Iım not afraid of you Jew! Elie: It is not me, but God you should fear. Usama gets off the bus at the next stop.
Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Close Text p.534 & 535 In the luxuriant garden stump of the felled walnut-tree caught his unquiet eye. They probably used it as a picnic table now, he mused bitterly. His father had always had a gift for the melodramatic, self-pitying gesture, and to eat his lunch off a surface which packed such an emotional wallop - with, no doubt, many profound sighs between the large mouthfuls - would be right in character. Was he going to camp up his death, too, Saladin wondered. What a grandstand play for sympathy the old bastard could make now! Anyone in the vicinity of a dying man was utterly at his mercy. Punches delivered from a deathbed left bruises that never faded. This passage is an excellent example of Rushdieıs powerful writing style. You can feel the animosity that Saladin feels for his father. Even the tree stump is mockingly luxuriant. This excerpt made me think about the relationship that I have with my father. We have had our tumultuous times, but I have never been without sympathy or compassion for him. When Saladin flies home to be with his dying father he clearly feels antagonistic. Saladin is even bitter towards the former maid who has married his father and taken on his motherıs place. On the contrary, his girlfriend, Zeeny Vakil has compassion for her. After years of anger with his father, Saladin finds no one to collaborate with him regarding this attitude so at his fatherıs deathbed, they are reunited. Saladin inherits his fatherıs wealth. You question whether or not he would have reconciled with his father had he not been so rich.
Alter Ego For those of you that know me, you know that I am Jewish and extremely knowledgeable of my religion. However, my knowledge of Islam is far less familiar. Salman Rushdieıs book has helped me understand Islam a bit more, although I would never claim to understand it fully. I could relate to the cultural struggle of the protagonists, Gabreel Farishta and Chamcha. This often humorous novel is full of political innuendos, good vs. evil and multifaceted characters. Rushdieıs dabbles with the idea of God, but he also does not validate it. I may not agree with his issues with religion and society, but I recognize Rushdie for having the passion to write such a book. Without passion we lose our faith, without faith we have nothing. -Elie
Martyrsı Crossing by Amy Wilentz
Close Text p. 106 Marina went to find the ironing board, which she hadnıt seen in months. She found it folded up behind the armoire in the hallway. A few pushes and shoves dislodged it, and she carried it to the laundry room and set it up. This was how she was going to spend the rest of her life: washing, sorting, ironing, and folding. Philipıs collar wouldnıt stay down. She sprayed it. She sprayed blue jeans and tee shirts and underwear. Her iron made everything flat. She did Ibrahimıs little shirts and even his socks. Flat, and flatter. It was a relief to watch the wrinkles disappear beneath the iron. Heat was passing over everything. The heavy iron sank into the folds of her fatherıs blue shirt like an ocean liner, flattening the waves as it moved. It was beautiful, magic eradication. She looked forward to ironing an infinity of cotton sheets.
This passage is much more than a description of ironing clothes. Marina proves that even after the death of a child, life must return to normal. She releases her aggression with the pushing and shoving motion of the iron. This excerpt revolves around heat, which is often applied to pain and wounds. The metaphor of the ocean liner refers to Marina trying to "flatten" her anguish. She is trying to smooth out the "waves" in her mind. The ironing is extremely therapeutic for her. It is interesting that she is taking care of her fatherıs clothes as well. Marina is his child, but could do noting to prevent her own childıs loss. Throughout the novel, Wilentz's description of the tensions between father and daughter is realistic and dramatic. Although Marina was born and educated in America, this passage is also a statement about womenıs roles in Palestine. Marina is a believable character who must return to her wifely duties as frustrating as it may be. We can clearly see her individual struggle to make sense of this tragedy. This book is about Jews and Palestinians, but also about family, values, and love.
Alter Ego Scene: Elie, a friend of the family, has come to console Marina on the loss of her son. Marina: Thanks for coming over Elie. Elie: I am so sorry for your loss. Marina: Thank you, Elie. You are the first person who truly knows what I am going through. I know that you lost your parents and sister in the Holocaust. Tell me, how did you recover? Elie: (Sighs) I will never recover from the pain of losing my family right in front of my eyes, but I realized that life goes on and I must continue. I must continue for them. My family would not want me to give up. Marina: Whatıs the point? Philip: Do you see what I mean Elie? Elie: Marina, you must continue to live and have faith in God. Otherwise, they will have won. Philip: She is questioning if God exists. Marina: Why would God do this to me? To my family? Elie: I almost lost faith in God, but I realized that God has a reason for everything. Marina: What could his reason possibly be for this? Elie: I know that this is hard to believe right now, but one day it will be clear. Marina: Can I make you some tea? Elie: Please.