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Lit, Cultures, Identities (I)

by: Jeanette Collins

Lit, Cultures, Identities (I) IAH 207

Marketplace > Michigan State University > OTHER > IAH 207 > Lit Cultures Identities I
Jeanette Collins
GPA 3.51

Aryn Bartley

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Aryn Bartley
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jeanette Collins on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to IAH 207 at Michigan State University taught by Aryn Bartley in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 95 views. For similar materials see /class/207586/iah-207-michigan-state-university in OTHER at Michigan State University.


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Date Created: 09/19/15
IAH BOOK SUMMARIES reference wikipediacom DEATHANDTHEhLUDEN Characters 0 Paulina Salas around forty years old 0 Gerardo Escobar her husband a lawyer around fortyifive o Roberto Miranda a doctor around fifty The time is the present and the place a country that is probably Chile but could be any country that has given itself a democratic government just after a long period of dictatorship Synopsis Paulina Salas is a former political prisoner in an unnamed La nxhnencan country who had been raped by her captors led by a sadistic doctor whose face she never saw The rapist doctor played Schubert s composition Death and the Adh kn during the act of rape hence the play s title Years later after the also unnamed repressive regime has fallen Paulina lives in an isolated country house with her husband Gerardo Escobar When Gerardo comes back from a visit to the president he gets a flat tire A stranger named Dr Miranda stops to assist him Dr Miranda drives Gerardo home and later in the night he returns Paulina recognizes Miranda 5 voice and mannerism as that of her rapist and takes him captive in order to put him on trial and extract a confession from him Unconvinced of his guilt Gerardo acts as Roberto Miranda s lawyer and attempts to save his life After hearing the full story of her captivity from Paulina Gerardo formulates a confession with Roberto to appease Paulina s madness and set her free from her past Paulina records the entire confession and has Roberto write it out and sign it She sends Gerardo out to get Roberto 5 car so he can go home While they are alone for the last time Paulina accuses Roberto of being unrepentant and guilty beyond a reasonable doubt THETHDKSTHEYCARRED Themes In the short story quotGood Formquot the narrator makes a distinction between quotstory truthquot and quothappening truthquot O Brien feels that the idea of creating a story that is technically false yet truthfully portrays war as opposed to just stating the facts and creating no emotion in the reader is the correct way to clear his conscience and tell the story of thousands of soldiers Critics often cite this distinction when commenting on O Brien s artistic aims in The Things They Carried and in general all of his fiction about Vietnam claiming that O Brien feels that the realities of the Vietnam War are best explored in fictional form rather than the presentation of precise facts O Brien s fluid and elliptical negotiation of truth in this context finds echoes in works labeled as nonifiction novels The fine line of what constitutes fiction versus nonifiction is blurred throughout the book for though Tim O Brien claims this book to be fiction the author and the protagonist share the same name and same profession as writers Additionally the character Tim references writing the book quotGoing After Cacciatoquot which the author Tim had written and published previously Main characters Tim 039 Brien Narrator and protagonist of the story His personal experiences in the war lead him to write a book about it He believes that some things cannot be explained at all For example he eventually reveals but can not say that Kiowa s death was his fault While modeled after the author and sharing the same name O Brien is a fictional character and not the author The author intentionally blurs this disction Lieutenant Jimmy Cross Protagonist of the title story quotThe Things They Carriedquot Cross is the platoon leader He is obsessed with a young woman back home Martha who does not return his feelings and later believes that his obsession led to the death of Ted Lavender He also decides to camp the team one day on a sewage fieldithe quotshitfieldquotin quotIn the Fieldquot and this move leads to the death of Kiowa Bob 39Rat Kiley A young medic whose exaggerations are complemented by his occasional cruelty He enjoys comic books he is brave and takes good care of Tim when he is shot Eventually he sees too much gore and begins to go insane as He cannot adjust to the new procedure of sleeping during the day he imagines quotthe bugs are out to get him and moving at night Finally he goes over the top and shoots himself in the foot He presumably recovers once relocated to Japan Norman Bowker A soldier who O Brien says attempted to save Kiowa the night he died When Kiowa slips into the quotshitfieldquot Bowker repeatedly tries to save him but is unable to and as a result he feels hugely guilty for Kiowa s death after the war His memories continue to haunt Norman at home as he realizes that the world has moved on past the war and wants nothing to do with the ugly stories of tragic battles in Vietnam He is continually haunted by the fact that he could not save Kiowa from sinking under the quotshitfieldquot on a rainy night However O Brien admits eventually that it was not Norman who failed to save Kiowa but himself After the war he briefly assists O Brien in writing a story about Vietnam but he hangs himself with a jump rope in an Iowa YMCA Henry Dobbins Machine gunner A man who despite having a rather large frame is gentle and kind He is very superstitious and as a result wears his girlfriend s pantyhose around his neck as a protective charm even after she dumps him He briefly contemplates becoming a monk after the war due to their acts of charity for the sake of charity Kiowa Kiowa is a soldier who is quiet and compassionate also a devout Christian He appears to be O Brien s best friend in the company Kiowa often helps other soldiers deal with their own actions such as taking the lives of other human beings He is eventually killed when camping out in the shitfield He is hit by a mortar round and despite Norman Bowker s attempts to save him Kiowa slips into the sewage and drowns Tim O Brien later reveals himself as the true culprit behind Kiowa s death when he says that he was the one that gave away their position when showing Kiowa a picture by shining his light Mitchell Sanders He is a relatively kind soldier who is contemptuous of Cross s decision to camp in a sewage field which led to Kiowa s death Sanders is also a playboy or at least tries to make himself out to be one This is shown when he tells O Brien about his stories with a RediCross nurse and also because he carries around pressed tiger fatigues He is also the RTO for the platoon Ted Lavender A grenadier He dies in the very first chapter from a gunshot wound to the back of the head He is notorious for using tranquilizers to cope with the pain of the war and for carrying a rather largesix to eight ounces stash of marijuana with him Cross blames himself for Lavender s death as he was fantasizing about Martha when Lavender was shot Curt Lemon A good friend of Rat Kiley who dies after stepping on a rigged land mine In one of the book s more disturbing scenes Tim and Norman Bowker help to clear the trees of Curt s scattered remains during which Jensen sings quotLemon Treequot After Lemon dies Kiley writes a long eloquent letter to Lemon s sister describing his friendship with Lemon and emphasizing how good a person Lemon was Lemon s sister never responds which crushes Kiley emotionally A young rather unstable soldier who engages in needless and frequent acts of brutality such as strapping a dog that Ted Lavender had adopted to a claymore mine and then activating the detonator He also aids Tim O Brien in gaining revenge on Bobby Jorgenson but mocks O Brien when he s not willing to take the revenge further At one point Azar breaks down emotionally revealing that his cruelty is merely a defense mechanism Dave Jensen and Lee Stmnk Minor soldiers who are the main characters of quotEnemiesquot and quotFriendsquot Jensen fights with Strunk over a stolen jackknife but they became uneasy friends afterwards They each sign a pact to kill the other if he is ever faced with a quotwheelchair woundquot After Strunk steps on a rigged mortar round and loses a leg he begs Jensen not to kill him Jensen obliges but seems to have an enormous weight relieved when he learns Strunk died somewhere over in Chu Lai Jensen also appears in quotThe Lives of the Dead where he pressures O Brien to shake hands with a dead Vietnamese Bobby Jorgenson The replacement medic for Rat Kiley when he shoots himself in the foot Green and terrified he is slow to aid O Brien after he is wounded Filled with rage after his recovery O Brien elicits help from Azar to conspire and punish Jorgenson with a night of terrifying pranks Afterward however O Brien and Jorgenson become good friends Jorgenson may be a reference to a similarly named character in The CaineMutiny Other characters 0 Martha Lt Jimmy Cross s romantic love though she has only platonic feelings for him He burns her letters and photos while trying to get over the guilt he feels for being responsible for Ted Lavender s death 0 Linda Tim s childhood quotlovequot Nine years old she dies of a braintumor caused by cancer She first gives Tim a reason to write stories to keep her alive in his memory 0 Kathleen Tim s daughter who serves as an observer to O Brien s stories 0 Mark Fossie A soldier who sends for his girlfriend to stay with him on his base in Vietnam I Mary Anne Bell Mark Fossie s girlfriend She is originally sweet and innocent when she arrives at Vietnam from Cleveland Heighw Ohio but soon feels drawn to the culture and the thrill of war She joins the Green Berets in their ambushes and patrols until she walks off into the jungle o Elroy Berdahl An 81 year old man who helps Tim come to grips with going to war at the Tip Top Lodge CATCH22 Concept Among other things ktCIrZZ is a general critique of bureaucratic operation and reasoning Resulting from its specific use in the book the phrase quotCatchr22quot is common idiomatic usage meaning quota no Win situation or quota double bind of any type Within the book quotCatchr22quot is a military rule the selfrcontradictory circularlogic that for example prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions In Heller s own words There was only one catch and that was Catchr22 which specified that a concern for one s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind Orr was crazy and could be grounded All he had to do was ask and as soon as he did he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn t but if he were sane he had to fly them If he flew them he was crazy and didn t have to but if he didn t want to he was sane and had to Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catchr22 and let out a respectful whistle Other forms of Catchr22 are invoked throughout the novel to justify various bureaucratic actions At one point victims of harassment by military police quote the MPs explanation of one of Catchr22 s provisionsi quotCatchr22 states that agents enforcing Catchr22 need not prove that Catchr22 actually contains whatever provision the accused violator is accused of violating Another character explainsi quotCatchr22 says they have a right to do anything we can t stop them from doing The theme of a bureaucracy marginalizing the individual in an absurd way is similar to the world of Kafka s The Trial and George Orwell s Nineteen EightyFour The concept of doublethink has definite echoes in Heller s work Yossarian comes to realize that Catchr22 does not actually exist but because the powers that be claim it does and he world believes it does it nevertheless has potent effects Indeed because it does not exist there is no way it an be repealed undone overthrown or denounced The combination of force with specious legalistic justification is o one of the book s primary motifs The motif of bureaucratic absurdity is further explored in 1994 s ClosingTime Heller s sequel to ktcbiz This darker slowerrpaced apocalyptic novel explores the pre and postrwar lives of some of the major characters in CatalirZZ with particular emphasis on the relationship between Yossarian and tailgunner Sammy Singer The development of the novel can be split into multiple segments The first chapters 1 11 broadly follows the story fragmented between characters but in a single chronological time in 1943 The second chapters 1220 flashes back to focus primarily on the quotGreat Big Siege of Bolognaquot before once again jumping to the chronological quotpresentquot of 1943 in the third part chapter 2125 The fourth chapters 2628 flashes back to the origins and growth of Milo s syndicate with the fifth part chapter 2832 returning again to the narrative quotpresentquot but keeping to the same tone of the previous four In the sixth and final part chapter 32 on while remaining in the quotpresentquot time the novel takes a much darker turn and spends the remaining chapters focusing on the serious and brutal nature of war and life in general 3 While the previous five parts develop the novel in the present and by use of flashibacks it is in chapters 3241 of the sixth and final part where the novel significantly darkens Previously the reader had been cushioned from experiencing the full horror of events but now the events are laid bare allowing the full effect to take place The horror begins with the attack on the undefended Italian mountain village with the following chapters involving despair Doc Daneeka and the Chaplain disappearance in combat Orr and Clevinger disappearance caused by the army Dunbar or death Nately McWatt Mudd Kid Sampson Dobbs Chief White Halfoat and Hungry Joe of most of Yossarian s friends culminating in the unspeakable horrors of Chapter 39 in particular the rape and murder ofMichaela who represents pure innocence 3 Despite this the novel ends on an upbeat note with Yossarian learning of Orr39s miraculous escape to Sweden and Yossarian s pledge to follow him there Style Many events in the book are repeatedly described from differing points of view so the reader learns more about each event from each iteration with the new information often completing a joke the punchline of which was told several chapters previously The narrative often describes events out of sequence but events are referred to as if the reader is already familiar with them so that the reader must ultimately piece together a timeline of events Specific words phrases and questions are also repeated frequently generally to comic effect Much of Heller s prose in CatchiZ is circular and repetitive exemplifying in its form the structure of a Catch22 Heller revels in paradox for example The Texanturned out to he goodinatured generous and iihahie In three days no one cou d stand him and The case against Clevinger Was open and shut The only thing missing Was something to charge him With This atmosphere of apparent logical irrationality pervades the whole book While a few characters are most prominent notably Yossarian and the Chaplain the majority of named characters are described in a typical extent with fully fleshed out or multidimensional personas to the extent that there are few if any quotminor charactersquot The seemingly random nonichronological structure to the novel is misleading Catch 22 is actually highly structured but it is a structure of free association where ideas run into one another through seemingly random connections For example Chapter 1 entitled quotThe Texanquot ends with quoteverybody but the CID man who had caught cold from the fighter captain and come down with pneumonia quot4 Chapter 2 entitled quotClevingerquot begins with quotIn a way the CID man was pretty lucky because outside the hospital the war was still going on quot5 The CID man connects the two chapters like a free association bridge and eventually Chapter 2 flows from the CID man to Clevinger through more free association links Major themes One of the first themes developed in the novel is the question of what is right to do in a basic moral dilemmasocial dilemmaprisoner39s dilemma where a person can cooperate with others to their collective greater payoff or can sell them out by not cooperating and reap even greater benefits as an individual Yossarian is presented as having decided upon and relishing the immoral choice to such questions quotYossarian throbbed with a mighty sense of accomplishment each time he gazed at the officers club building and reflected that none of the work that had gone into it was his quot which solidly casts Yossarian as an antihero to the reader Yossarian and Doc Daneeka wonder why me when it comes to taking risks when others aren t To this Major Danby asks Yossarian quotBut suppose everybody on our side felt that way quot to which Yossarian replies quotThen I d certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way Wouldn t Iquot Another theme is the turning on their heads of notions of what people generally think of as morally right or wrong particularly patriotism and honor which lead most of the Airmen to accept abusive lies and petty rules of bureaucrats though Yossarian wholeiheartedly disregards all such notions When Major Danby asks why he wouldn t fly more missions Yossarian answers I m afraid That s nothing to be ashamed of Major Major counseled him kindly We re all afraid 1 m not ashamed Yossarian said 1 m just afraid Several themes flow into one another for example that the only way to survive such an insane system is to be insane oneself is partially a take on Yossarian s answer to the Social dilemma that he would be a fool to be any other way and another theme that bad men who sell out others are more likely to get ahead rise in rank and make money turns our notions of what is estimable on their heads as well Heller suggests that bureaucracies often lead organizations especially when run by bad or insane people to trivialize important matters e g those affecting life and death and to grossly exaggerate the importance of trivial matters e g clerical errors Everyone in the book even Yossarian at the beginning is behaving insanely in their clerical decisions As the narrative progresses Yossarian comes to fear American bureaucrats more than he fears the Germans attempting to shoot down his bomber he feels that a majority of people are out to get him regardless of their nominal allegiance Among the reasons Yossarian fears his commanders more than the enemy is that as he flies more missions the number of missions required before he can go home is continually increasing he is always approaching the magic number but he never reaches it He comes to despair of the possibility of him never getting home and is greatly relieved when he is sent to the hospital for a condition that is almost jaundice 1n Yossarian s words The enemy is anybody who s going to get you killed no matter which side he s on and that includes Colonel Cathcart And don t you forget that because the longer you remember it the longer you might live Chapter 12 This is reflected in the fact that while the official enemies are the Germans no German ever appears in the story as an enemy combatant This ironic situation is epitomized in the single appearance of German personnel in the novel who act as pilots employed by his squadron s very own mess hall officer Milo who comes to devote most of his time not to war maneuvres but as a relentless private entrepreneur darting from country to country in search of profit This predicament indicates a tension between traditional motives for violence and the modern economic machine which seems to generate violence simply as another means to profit quite independent of geographical or ideological constraints Developing both of the above themes eventually Milo s pursuit of profit leads to him conducting missions for the Germans as well as the US military this absurdity culminates in him organising a bombing of his own base resulting in the death of many of his and Yossarian s colleagues and serving to reinforce the latter s fear of his own side HUNGERGAMES Plot The Hunger Games takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of NorthAmerica in a nation known as Panem Panem consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding poorer districts District 12 where the book begins is located in the coalirich region Appalachia As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol every year one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected at random and forced to participate in the Hunger Games a televised event in which the participants or quottributesquot must fight to the death in a dangerous outdoor arena until only one remains The story follows fatherless 16yeariold Katniss Everdeen a girl from District 12who volunteers for the 74th Games in place of her younger sister Pn39rnrose Also participating from District 12 is Peeta Mallark a boy whom Katniss knows from school and who once saved her life by giving her bread when her family was starving Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol where they meet the other tributes and are publicly displayed to the Capitol audience During this time Peeta reveals oniair his longtime unrequited love for Katniss Katniss believes this to be a ploy to gain audience support for the Games which can be crucial for survival as audience members are permitted to send gifts to favored tributes during the Games The Games begin with eleven of the 24 tributes dying in the first day while Katniss relies on her wellipracticed hunting and outdoor skills to survive As the games continue the tribute death toll increases but both Katniss and Peeta are able to evade death Supposedly due to Katniss and Peeta s beloved image in the minds of the audience as quotstaricrossed lovers a rule change is announced midway through the games stating that two tributes from the same district can win the Hunger Games as a pair Upon hearing this Katniss searches for Peeta and finds him wounded She nurses him back to health and acts the part of a young girl falling in love to gain more favor with the audience and consequently gifts from her sponsors When the couple are finally the last two tributes the Gamemakers suddenly reverse the rule change and try to force them into a dramatic finale where one must kill the other to win Instead they both threaten suicide by means of poisonous berries in hope that the Gamemakers would rather have two winners than none It works and both Katniss and Peeta are declared winners of the 74th Hunger Games Though she survives the ordeal in the arena and is treated to a hero s welcome in the Capitol Katniss is warned that she has now become a political target after having defied her society s authoritarian leaders so publicly Afterwards Peeta is heartbroken to learn that their relationship was at least partially a calculated ploy to garner sympathy from the audience although Katniss remains unsure of her own feelings Themes The major themes in The Hunger Games as noted by a VOYA reviewer are quotgovernment control big brother and personal independencequot Survival and selfipreservation are also apparentThe theme of power and downfall similar to that of Shakespeare s Julius Caesar was pointed out by Scholastic PEEPING TOM Plot Mark Lewis Carl Boehm meets a prostitute covertly filming her with a camera hidden under his coat Shown from the pointiofiview of the camera viewfinder tension builds as he follows the girl into her house murders her and later watches the film in his den as the credits roll on the screen Lewis is a member of a film crew who aspires to become a filmmaker himself He works partitime photographing lurid pictures of women He is a shy reclusive young man who hardly ever socializes outside of his workplace He lives in his father s house leasing part of it and acting as the landlord while posing as a tenant himself Mark is fascinated by the boisterous family living downstairs and especially by Helen AnnaMassey a sweetinatured young woman who befriends him out of pity Mark reveals to Helen through home movies taken by his father played by director Powell in a cameo that as a child he was used as a guinea pig for his father s psychological experiments in fear and the nervous system Mark s father would study his son s reaction to various stimuli such as lizards he put on his bed and would film the boy in all sorts of situations even going as far as recording his son s reactions as he sat with his mother on her deathbed He kept his son under constant watch and even wired all the rooms so that he could spy on him The father s studies made his reputation as a psychologist Mark arranges with Vivian Moira Shearer a standin at the studio to make a film after the set is closed he then kills her and stuffs her into a prop trunk The body is discovered later by the horrified film crew The police link the two murders and notice that each victim died with a look of utter terror on her face They interview everyone on the set and become suspicious of Mark who has his camera always running always recording and who claims that he is making adocumentary A psychiatrist called to the set to console the upset star of the movie chats with Mark and tells him that he is familiar with his father s work The psychiatrist relates the details of the conversation to the police noting that Mark has quothis father s eyesquot Mark is tailed by the police who follow him to the building where he takes photographs of the piniup model Milly Pamela Green Two versions of this scene were shot The more risque version is credited as being the first female nude scene in a major British feature 2 although even on the racier version Milly only exposes one breast for a few seconds Mark kills Milly and then returns home Helen who is curious about Mark s films finally runs one of them She becomes visibly upset and frightened when he catches her Mark reveals that he makes the movies so that he can capture the fear of his victims He has mounted a round mirror atop his camera so that he can capture the reactions of his victims as they see their impending deaths The police arrive and Mark realizes he is cornered As he had planned from the very beginning he impales himself with a knife attached to one of the camera s tripod legs killing himself the same way he dispatched his victims and with the camera running providing the finale for his documentary THE PRODUCERS Plot Max Bialystock Zero Mostel is a failed aging Broadway producer who ekes out a living romancing lascivious wealthy elderly women in exchange for money for his quotnext playquot Nebbishy accountant Leo Bloom Gene Wilder arrives at Bialystock s office to do his books and discovers there is a two thousand dollar overage in the accounts of Bialystock s last play because he raised more money than he needed Bialystock persuades Bloom to hide the relatively minor fraud and while shuffling numbers Bloom has a revelation which Bialystock immediately puts into action They will overisell shares again but on a much larger scale and produce a play that will close on Opening Night No one audits the books of a play presumed to have lost money thus avoiding a payiout and leaving the duo free to flee to Rio de Janeiro with the profits Leo is afraid such a criminal venture will fail and they will go to prison but Max eventually convinces him that his drab existence is no better than prison After reading many bad plays the partners find the obvious choice for their schemei Springtime rHitleri A Gay Romp Witi Adolf and Eva at Bemhtergaden It is quota love letter to Hitlerquot written in total sincerity by deranged exiNazi Franz Liebkind German for quotFrank Lovechildquot portrayed by Kenneth Mars They convince him to sign over the stage rights telling him they want to show the world quotthe true Hitler the Hitler with a song in his heart quot To guarantee that the show is a flop they hire Roger De Bris Christopher Hewett a director whose plays quotclose on the first day of rehearsalquot The part of Hitler goes to a charismatic but only semiicoherent hippie named Lorenzo St DuBois aka LSD Dick Shawn who can barely remember his own name and had mistakenly wandered into their theater during the casting call After Bialystock sells 25 000 percent of the play to his regular investors dozens of lustful little old ladies they are sure they are on their way to Rio The result of all of this is a cheerfully upbeat and utterly tasteless musical play purporting to be about the happy home life of a brutal dictator It opens with a lavish production of the title song quotSpringtime For Hitlerquot which celebrates Nazi Germany crushing Europe quotSpringtime for Hitler and GermanyWinter for Poland and Francequot Unfortunately for Bialystock and Bloom their attempt backfires as after initial dumbfounded disbelief the audience finds LSD s beatnikilike portrayal to be hilarious and misinterpret the production as a satire Springtime For Hitler is declared a smashihit which means of course the investors will be expecting a larger financial return than can be paid out As the stunned partners turn on each other they are confronted by a guniwielding Franz Liebkind who is enraged by LSD s portrayal of Hitler He says they have broken the quotSiegfried Oathquot which they took in a deleted earlier scene In desperation the three band together and blow up the theater to end the production They are injured arrested and tried In spite of Leo s impassioned statement praising Max the jury finds them quotIncredibly Guiltyquot and they go to prison They have apparently not learned their lesson though as the film ends with them rehearsing a new Franz Liebkind musical starring their fellow inmates The show is entitled Prisoners ofLove and we see Leo Bloom overselling shares of the play to the other prisoners and even to the warden KINDRED


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