• Well, as grammarian BillWalsh puts it in his bookLapsing Into a Comma, “Weword nerds have knownsince second grade thatalright is not all right” (4). Hewas talking about “alright” asone word. Its not OK.
Chair Poet?Poetry is finer and morephilosophical thanhistory; for poetryexpresses theuniversal, and historyonly the particular.Aristotle
AGENDA•The Road•Postmodernism•Critical Theory•The American Dream•Introduce Essay #2
The Road as a postmodern novel• To start, it’s clearly fragmented.• McCarthy also rejects quotation marks entirely, and uses thecontraction’s apostrophe selectively (absent for the contractionof “not”).• Why is there no indication of who is speaking when there is dialogue?• Also it begins abruptly [. . .]And ending is unresolved• This story is both anti-metanarrative, and metanarrative.• There’s more confusion and doubt, less purpose.• In the “Postmodernism” online article (Mary Klages) she says that oneof the larger differences between modernism and postmodernism, isthat modernism fights to create meaning anyway against apparentmeaninglessness, and postmodernism just sort of bathes in themeaninglessness, saying “great! It’s meaningless! Let’s embrace that!”
• I also believe that the lack of names to identify the speakermay be a way that McCarthy wants us to think about hisnovel. If you attempt to imagine this as though you wereGod watching over the conversations taking place, youcould see who was talking instead of being told who istalking. This very postmodern aspect of the novel isinteresting because it forces you to read the entire novelwithout really taking time to think about it too much. Thereare no chapters and with the exception of periods and veryfew commas there is no punctuation. The entire novelrambles as if someone is writing this as a flashback of whatthey witnessed.
Past the Postmodern?• Talking about how The Road is post-modern, and how we aretrying to find out if it’s something beyond it, I feel that it hasmoved past post modernism. Postmodernism was amovement focused around the portrayal of of the individualstories within our lives, and the perfection of a mediumthrough various means. What McCarthy accomplishes issomething past post modernism. It returns to the “all story” interms of structure, but the point is to look at our owncontemporary follies as a people. Instead of getting people tothink, he wants us to be afraid.• Instead of saying “art for art’s sake” or using “personism(?)” heshows a world full of consequences and leaves the reader toidentify for themselves what the action was. In this sense, Ibelieve that he definitely surpasses post-modernism.
The Marxist lens• I think it’s interesting to take Marxist criticism [. . .] andapply it to a post-apocalyptic wasteland whereconsumerism is the least of their worries. It makes mewonder how different consumerism can get and how eventhough there’s nothing left for them to consume butchemical toilets and canned peaches, the concept stillexists.
The Feminist Lens• The majority role of women in this society stems back tobeing a vessel of creation.• I thought about looking at The Road through a feministlens because the two protagonist are men and all theother main characters are men. Also, I was highlyintrigued by the fact that is was The Man who decided tokeep living, and that The Woman just gave up on life.Normally, women fight to survive for their children, and inthis case that did not happen.
TheAmerican Dream in The Road• It’s rather puzzling to think of the American dream incontext of “The Road.” When society is stripped away, isthe pursuit of the American dream still possible? TheMerriam-Webster dictionary defines the “AmericanDream” as “an American social ideal that stressesegalitarianism and especially material prosperity; also :the prosperity or life that is the realization of this ideal.”The small family holds little to no possessions attimes, and there is no foreseeable future where that wouldbe possible.
• You can’t believe in the American Dream if you don’t havehope. You have to hope you can achieve more, you haveto hope you can work hard to achieve great things. In thiscase you have to hope you survive but that hope alsoleads into hoping that you’ll see the world change and seesomething more for yourself and others.• Another part of the American Dream is hope. There is alot of hope in the novel as discussed in class. TheAmerican dream works differently in the novel than it didin the other novels. The papa and the son do not want tobe rich or care about money, the dream revolves aroundsurviving to see a better future and creating a betterfuture.The Dream
The Dream• The idea of the American Dream was created based on agreat deal of optimism and hope. The father and son inThe Road embody this idea during their journey to thesouth. [. . .] Their journey is obviously not the traditionaljourney towards the American Dream, but their journeyembodies the effort and hope necessary to achieve thedream. Some may thing that this entire story is anextreme version of the failure of the American Dream, butI do not believe that the American Dream can fail whilepeople still have that hope and fire inside of them.
the novel as an abstraction of a journey through purgatory(Christian Biblical symbolism).• All the religious symbolism/language in the novel pointstoward a metaphor for Purgatory. Purgatory (which has anearly idea of “burning away sins”, and I’ve even heard of itas a “baptism of fire”) is a transitional place in Christianmythos (and a number of other religions have a similaridea of a temporary waypoint before the eternal afterlife) –and no one stays there forever (the young boy asks aboutthe meaning of “Ever” a few times – they won’t be inPurgatory “for ever”). You either move up to Heaven ordown to Hell depending on your actions (and on yourspecific religion and interpretation). With the death of theman, the boy was finally able to leave Purgatory behind –he refused to leave the side of his father who was notable to leave Purgatory due to his inability to trust others
Prompt IntroductionIn this second half of our quarter, we have read anddiscussed multiple texts, theories, and opinions on bothliterature and literary analysis, and for this reason, I offeryou many choices for your first essay. In a thesis drivenessay of 500 to 750 words, respond to one of the promptsI have offered or one of your own. You need only theprimary text for this essay, but you may incorporate otherstories, manifestos, or critical theory as additional support.Remember, you can also draw on your own experiencesand knowledge to discuss, explain, and analyze yourtopic.
Topics for Essay #2There are many essay topics to choose from.On the webpage, click on “Essay Prompts” and then “Essay#2”You will see another list of choices specific to our texts.Click on any of them to explore topicsYou may write an essay on any of these topics.You may write an essay on a topic of your choice.You may use fodder from one of your posts.The essay is due Thursday, June 27th before 7:00 am.Send it as a word document to firstname.lastname@example.org
The RoadTopic #2Using a close reading strategy and specific textual evidence arguefor how the world was most likely devastated. Consider climatechange, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, the explosion of nuclearbombs, or?Topic #15Examine both the concept and reality of cannibalism in The Road.Consider motivations and outcomes of the behavior.
“Battle Royal”One does not need to look very deeply in RalphEllisons short story "Battle Royal" to find differentelements and examples of racism. Use AfricanAmerican literary criticism to make an argument about“Battle Royal.”Examine the theme of “American Dream” in “BattleRoyal.” Consider how the story defines the concept of“success”?
Death of a SalesmanDescribe how Willy has taken Ben’s life and his philosophy ofthe “jungle” as models for success. How has Willy shaped thatphilosophy to encompass life as a salesman?Linda says that “attention must be paid” to Willy despite hisfaults. Write an essay in which you either support Linda’s claimor argue against it. If Willy is a “fake,” as Biff calls him, thendoes he deserve respect?Should Willy be “happy right here, right now,” as Linda says?Willy has a wife and two sons who love him, so why should hebe unhappy? Examine how Willy continually plans for his ownsuccess and happiness but always seems unsatisfied, evenangry. Willy says “the sky’s the limit” when “it’s who you knowand the smile on your face,” but who does Willy know and whathas his smile earned him?
Postmodernism EssayDiscuss the work in terms of its postmodernconstruction. Consider the postmodernmanifestos or the Mary Klages article onPostmodernism to ground your argument.Discuss two or more of the manifestos, workingto define the ever-elusive idea of postmodernism.Consider using the Klages essay onpostmodernism to support your argument.Discuss the American Dream with regard to thepostmodern condition.
End of Days• Thursday:• The quarter in review• Self-Assessment• Discuss Exam #3• Monday: Optional Class: Make-up Exam #1 or #2• 8:30 am showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show• Thursday, June 27: Final: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.• Exam #3• Due electronically before class:• Essay #2• Essay revision• Honors project.
HOMEWORKMEWORK•Begin Essay #2•Honors Project•Work on your Revisions•Study for make up exam #1 or #2•Tomorrow is the last Chair Poet Day