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Elit 48 c class 13 post qhq Elit 48 c class 13 post qhq Presentation Transcript

  • Racked or Wracked?
  • SPELLING ERROR: CONFUSING “RACKED” WITH “WRACKED.”  If you are racked with nerves, you are feeling as if you are being stretched on the torture device, the rack. You rack your brain when you try to write difficult stories. Wrack, on the other hand, has to do with ruinous accidents. With luck, this won’t apply to your writing, but it might just apply to the stock market, which has been wracked by recession.
  • AGENDA Lecture: My Antonia Historical Context Discussion Questions QHQs Chapters 1-19
  • HISTORICAL CONTEXT: IMMIGRATION Up until 1825, fewer than 10,000 new immigrants came to the United States each year. By the late 1840s, revolutions in Europe and the devastating potato famine in Ireland sent people to this country by the hundreds of thousands. By 1860, one-eighth of America's 32 million people were foreign born. While many of these immigrants settled in the east, the promotional activities of the railroads brought many immigrants straight to the prairies. The railroad companies even sent scouts abroad to encourage people to come and settle the plains and prairies. Another flood of immigrants came in the 1860s and 1870s, just after the Homestead Act of 1862. This legislation granted, for a small fee, 160 acres of Western public land to citizens or prospective citizens who would stay and settle it for five years. These settlers were predominantly from western and northern Europe.
  • By the time Cather was writing My Ántonia, immigration to the Great Plains had slowed. Urban immigration, however, continued to cause miserable situations in the cities. As a journalist in Pittsburgh and New York City and as a newspaperwoman and editor for a radical magazine, Cather was exposed to the conditions in which many urban immigrants lived. She also saw the mounting fear that the arrival of cheap foreign labor was not only undesirable competition but a contribution to the widening and hardening gap between rich and poor. During World War I, German-Americans were definitely suspect and stories of their victimization can be found in almost any Midwestern state histories. Even the Czechs, who were eager to help free their homeland from the domination of Austria-Hungary, suffered during the war years. The country's anxiety over the role immigrants were to play in our society did not ease, even though the "tide" of immigration was stemmed briefly by World War I.
  • HISTORICAL CONTEXT: THEORIES OF AMERICANIZATION Reaction to the massive European immigration of the nineteenth century had fostered opposing theories of Americanization: These models have come to be called the "melting pot" theory and the "salad bowl" theory and still define the debate on difference even today, almost a century later. In the 1890s, Frederick Jackson Turner popularized the image of the American West as a crucible (a vat or vessel) where European immigrants would be "Americanized, liberated, and fused into a mixed race." My Ántonia can be read as a tribute to this view and Ántonia herself can be appreciated as "the rich mine of life, like the founders of early races" that produces the American people from the raw material that has been gathered on its shores. Carl Degler coined the expression "salad bowl."
  • Spend 5-6 minutes in your groups, discussing your answers to prompts or your QHQs
  • DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Discuss why Willa Cather chose a male narrator and why women dominate the novel. 2. Explore the story or relationship of Pavel and Peter. 3. Compare and contrast the lives of Jim Burden and Antonia. Explain what drew them together and enabled them to become close friends. 4. Compare and contrast the relationship between Antonia and Jim in Section 1 (Chapters 1-10) and Section 2 (Chapters 11-19)
  • QHQ: CHAPTERS 1-19 QUEER THEORY? 1. Q: What do the symbols of the snake and badger represent? a. What other symbols show the struggle in between queer and straight? 2. Q: Is Jim supposed to be Cather? a. Q: So can Cather be both Jim and Antonia? 3. Q: Should Willa Cather’s refusal to conform to a traditional gender role influence our reading of My Antonia? 4. Q: Does Jim Burden play a feminine identity in the novel?
  • MELTING POT OR SALAD BOWL? 1. Q: How do the Burdens and Fuchs, and the Shimerdas behave and react towards one another’s cultural and ethnic backgrounds? 2. Q: Is this a story that defies all the traditional form and promotes interracial friendships? 3. Q: Why did the Shimerdas become more hostile and started to feel more superior towards the American’s? 4. Q: Was the death of Mr. Shimerda a symbol for cultural difference?
  • PETER AND PAVEL Q: “We did not tell Pavel’s secret to any one, but guarded it jealously–as if the wolves of the Ukraine had gathered that night long ago, and the wedding party been sacrificed, to give us a painful and peculiar pleasure.” What is the “painful and peculiar pleasure” Jim Burden and Antonia experience?
  • HOMEWORK 3. Discuss My Antonia in terms of one or more of the Manifestos 4. Write your own QHQ. Read My Antonia (1918) Book II Chapters 1-8 Post #13: Answer one of the following prompts: 1. Discuss the contrasts that are being developed between the characters in this section. 2. Discuss the importance of independent women in this section, and why Willa Cather has chosen to develop these characters here.