AGENDA Exam 3: Terms Discussion: QHQ M Butterfly ―Defining the Trickster‖ Introduction to Essay #4 Lecture: Tricksters and Trickster Tales In-class writing: Evaluating Song as a Trickster Character
EXAM 3: VOCAB AND TERMSAnswer all 25 questions; there are questions on the back.Extra credit to anyone who can identify one or both of the authors of these two examples that I used to demonstrate figurative language. ―All the world’s a stage‖ The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.
M BUTTERFLY: THE LOVE Why is Gallimard so attracted to Song? Was Song actually submissive? Is Gallimard blinded by stereotypes (race, sexual, cultural)? Do you think, deep down, that Song actually loved Gallimard in return? Did [Song] truly like this man as for him or for the fact that she was forced to by her undercover party? Does this [affair with Song] make Gallimard Gay? Do you think that he would ever have fallen in love with Song as a man?
THE DECEPTION How does Gallimard not notice song is man during those 20 years they spend together in France? Did Gallimard really not realize that Song was a man? Is Rene in denial over Songs gender? What was the purpose of Song telling Gallimard the scenario of the ―blonde cheerleader‖ killing herself for the ―short Japanese businessman‖? Do you believe this scene to be a tool of foreshadowing in the film?
THE SECRET OPERATION Did Song target Gallimard specifically from the beginning, or was it by chance that he fell in love with him? Why did Gallimard leak such valuable information to Song? Why didn’t Gallimard think about the consequences before he dispelled his secrets to Song? Does Comrade Chin believe Song’s behavior is just to get information? Why did Song LiLing come to France?
THE REVEAL• Did song ever feel any sympathy for Gallimard after being with him for so many years.• Why does Gallimard burst into laughter when Song takes off his underwear?• Why do you think that Gallimard could not love the man who was the woman he fell in love with?• If Song was in love with Gallimard, why would he tell the truth when he was in the court?• If Song revealed his true identity earlier, would Gallimard have acted differently?• Is there ever a right time for Song to reveal his true gender identity to the man he loves?
AND THEN? Why would he have such a splendid time in prison? Has Gallimard gone mad? Why does Gallimard want us to envy his love? At the end of the movie Gallimard says that he should be praised because unlike many man he had the love of a great woman. Does this mean that he regretted giving Song up because of her lies? why was it so important for Gallimard to share his story with his cell mates before he killed himself? Why does Gallimard dress up as Madame Butterfly at the end? Was Gallimard the butterfly in the end, or were both of the characters a butterfly? How did Song feel once the whole ordeal was over and he was returning home free? Is it wrong for Song to pretend to be a woman for all those years? How much of our own sexuality are we willing to accept or not without realizing it? How can this story tell what the Westerner thought about the Oriental women? how did the film portray Asians? What are some differences between the movie and the book ?
INTRODUCTION TO ESSAY #4: THE RESEARCH ESSAY.Trickster characters have existed in stories from most cultures since the earliest times. The long- lasting appeal of this archetype (a recurring symbol of a recurring model) emphasizes the cultural need to acknowledge that all is not what it seems to be, that we need to be on the lookout for those who would fool us. It is not hard to account for the appeal of tricksters—they are fun in their radical assault on the status quo, yet their trickery also strikes a deeper chord for most people.
As societies have evolved, the cultural function of the tricksterhas been reinvented: who or what are they in a modern society?When and why do they appear?Helen Lock, in her essay ―Transformations of the Trickster,‖writes, Contentious issues include the status of the archaic archetypal tricksters (were they mortal or divine? can a god be a trickster?), the relation of tricksters to gender and to ethnicity, and the vexed question of whether modern tricksters exist at all. In one sense it does seem entirely appropriate that these embodiments of ambiguity (no dispute there, at least) should remain so elusive. However, it is still important to address these tricky questions, because the trickster performs such fundamental cultural work: in understanding the trickster better, we better understand ourselves, and the perhaps subconscious aspects of ourselves that respond to the trickster’s unsettling and transformative behavior.
TOPIC: For this essay, consider trickster tales and trickster or trickster-like characters from our reading. Do they, as Lock asserts, help us ―better understand ourselves, and the perhaps subconscious aspects of ourselves that respond to the trickster’s unsettling and transformative behavior‖? How? Or, do these trickster tales and trickster or trickster-like characters serve another purpose? Which?
• Which, from our reading, are clearly identifiable as trickster tales?• Can you include others, or parts of others, that are not so easily identifiable?• What makes them trickster tales?• Which, from our reading, are trickster or trickster-like characters• What characteristics make them tricksters?• Morrison: ―Recitatif‖• Hughes: ―Passing‖ and ―Passing‖• Hughes: ―Who’s Passing for Who?‖• Chesnutt: ―The Passing of Grandison‖• Roth: The Human Stain• Feinberg: Stone Butch Blues• Hwang: M Butterfly
ABOUT TRICKSTERSSouthern slave trickster tales focus on outwitting theplantation masters; in this way, they deviously attackedthe very system to which they were condemned: ―Theylearned what justice was, and they learned, as slaves,they had none. But they were able to make up storiesand even laugh in the face of their tragic predicament‖(Hamilton, A Ring of Tricksters 9).
JEAN HARDY PROVIDES THIS DEFINITION OF THIS ARCHETYPE:The archetype of the Trickster…is the existence of the unexpectedas it appears in every human society, sometimes fullyacknowledged, sometimes feared and hidden. He is the oppositeof order – but then he is opposite of everything: he can turn into ashe…He is the Green Man, the Jester, the clown, the witch or thewizard, Mercury, a shape shifter … the Fool with the potential attimes for becoming a Savior. He upsets normality and hierarchicorder…He can change the expected world, and therefore be anagent of transformation. (1)
POSSIBLE TRAITS OF THETRICKSTER• Deceitful: The trickster uses trickery to bring about change.• Self-Serving: The trickster often feels that he or she has been wronged and is therefore justified in taking action to bring about change and/or to defeat ―the enemy.‖• Shape Shifter: The trickster may change forms, sex, and so forth as an element of surprise to his victim. The change may also be psychological instead of (or in addition to) a visual change.
Cultural Hero:The trickster may be idealized as a cultural hero when, as the agentof transformation, he or she overturns a cruel or unfair leader orpolitical/social system or reverses the fortunes of the more powerfulparty. According to Helen Lock, this characteristic separates the foolfrom the trickster. ―The true trickster’s trickery calls into questionfundamental assumptions about the way the world is organized, andreveals the possibility of transforming them (even if for ignoble[shameful] ends)‖ (6). Michael J. Carroll includes cultural hero as anattribute as well; he characterizes the trickster as ―a transformer whomakes the world habitable for humans by ridding it of monsters orwho provides those things [such as fire] that make human societypossible (―Levi-Strauss, Freud, and the Trickster‖ 305). Hardycharacterizes the trickster as the source of unexpected changes in aworld where change is not always comfortable and as a symbol ofthe uncertain world in which we live.
• Solitary creature – Many tricksters are solitary animals (or humans), working alone rather than with a partner or within a group – to undertake change. Michael P. Carroll notes that ―Ravens are usually sighted singly or at most in pairs; coyotes forage independently…; hares have long been noted for their solitariness…Spiders generally associate with members of their own species on only two occasions: when they are born and when they mate‖ (―Trickster as Selfish Buffoon‖ 115).• Physically, intellectually, or socially weak creature: The trickster is often portrayed as a much weaker character than his prey, and yet through cleverness and trickery, he is able to overcome all obstacles and prevail. In some cases the trickster may appear to be weaker physically in order to confuse his prey (false frailty).
• Special tools: The trickster may have special tools or abilities that enable him to perform his acts. Often these tools include magic and/or supernatural powers. An example would be the Chinese Monkey who keeps a needle behind his ear; when he removes the needle and recites a request, the needle may turn into any tool or implement that is required for a particular story.• Teacher: The trickster is a purveyor of life lessons through the stories, from manners to ethics. The teacher often forces the reader to examine the status quo and often, ―to break out of old stereotypes, whether they’ve been imposed by ourselves, our families, our culture, or circumstances (―The Trickster‖ 3).
IN CLASS WRITING: SONG AS ATRICKSTER CHARACTER: How can we envision Song as a Trickster character? Which of the definitions does she fit? What are her goals as a trickster? How many people and how many ways is she fooling people? What is her motivation? What are the outcomes? Does Song help us ―better understand ourselves, and the perhaps subconscious aspects of ourselves that respond to the trickster’s unsettling and transformative behavior‖? How? Or does she/he serve another purpose? Which?
HOMEWORKReading: Catch Up Day!Post # 24: Finish and post in-class writingStudying: TermsNext Class: We will meet in front of thelibrary for an orientation and anopportunity to do research for your paper.Please do not be late.
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