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EN 208 - Week 3

by: Josie Rykhus

EN 208 - Week 3 EN 208

Josie Rykhus
GPA 4.0

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notes for readings from week 3
World Literature
Dr. Wells Addington
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Josie Rykhus on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EN 208 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Wells Addington in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see World Literature in English at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 09/22/16
I. Oroonoko (or The Royal Slave: A True History) a. Author ­Aphra Behn  (1640ish ­ 1689) i. English ii. Don’t know much about her, most of this is assumption iii. Probably the daughter of a barber 1. Middle class 2. Barbers ­ cut hair, tooth extraction, bled people iv. 1664 → Married Johan Behn 1. Probably a Dutch merchant 2. He dies shortly after v. 1666 → invited to the court of King (of England) Charles II 1. HISTORY LESSON: a. Charles I was King during English Civil War (1642­1651) i. The Royalists 1. Side of the King and Church of England ii. Vs. The Puritans 1. Largely the same as those who settled  Plymouth Rock 2. Against monarchy 3. Wanted to “purify” Christianity a. Thought Church of England was too  much like the Catholics b. 1649 → Charles I is tried for treason i. Found guilty, beheaded ii. English Commonwealth is established 1. Headed by Oliver Cromwell c. 1661 → The Restoration i. England overthrows Oliver Cromwell, restore  monarchy, invite back Charles II ii. Charles II is scared because his dad got his head  chopped off, so goes to France 1. Comes back, throws a party, invites Behn 2. King Charles II sends Behn to Antwerp to become a spy a. Says he will pay her i. It’s very expensive ii. He doesn’t 3. 1668 → Behn is probably back in England a. Broke, in debt, facing debtors prison b. Starts writing plays → finds quick success i. Ribald plays, naughty poetry ii. Becomes possibly first professional female writer vi. 1688 → Oroonoko published 1. First as a play 2. Location of the story a. First part ­ what is modern day Ghana b. Second part – Suriname i. we think she went to Suriname at some point due to  details in the story b. Storyline i. Slave narrative narrated by an English woman (UNUSUAL) ii. Questions: 1. To what extent is Oroonoko treated sympathetically? 2. Also, what extent problematically? 3. How does the story represent racial issues to us? 4. Can we trust the narrator? iii. First paragraphs of the story: 1. Establishing credibility ­ why? a. Of the story and of herself as the female author b. Slavery is a delicate issue c. Oroonoko needs to be trusted by the reader i. He’s a slave, and slaves are dehumanized iv. Native Americans vs. Europeans vs. Africans 1. Natives (characterization) a. Innocence i. Childlike ii. Nakedness iii. Ignorance (of sin) b. Edenic state i. Compare to Adam and Eve c. Natural 2. Europeans a. Very clothed i. More extravagant clothing = more money b. Mature, knowledgeable c. Civilized, cultured d. Attitude of condescension towards Natives e. Unethical with women i. Kings had mistresses 3. Africans a. Clothed b. Fall more on the European side of the continuum i. Culture, King, monarchy, capable of civilization 1. King has a harem a. Ethical with women v. Treatment of Oroonoko 1. Trefry a. Amazed by Oroonoko’s countenance and knowledge b. Treats Oroonoko like a “dearest brother” c. Feeling is mutual i. Oroonoko sees “a kind of sincerity and awful truth”  in Trefry 2. Name change → Caesar a. To lose name is to lose attachments and identity 3. By himself a. Killed a tiger b. Attempted to kill an eel i. Saved by men on a boat c. Killed Imoinda d. Cuts out his throat, cuts open his stomach


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