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EWRT 1C Class 42
AGENDA
• Final Comments: Night
• Author Introduction
• Summary
• Characters
• Themes
• Literary Style
• QHQ
Final Questions?
•Q: How is genocide of this magnitude
possible?
•Q: What is a product of the
intergenerational trauma of ...
Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy is frequently
compared with such southern
writers as William Faulkner, Carson
McCullers, a...
• Some critics claim that McCarthy blatantly
imitates Faulkner, although most point out that
his concerns and perspective ...
Thetitleofthisnovel,OuterDark,comesfromtheeighthchapter
ofMatthew,inwhichJesuscuresachildbecauseofthefaithofhis
father,ace...
Literary Style
• Outer Dark is told in a stark style, and dialogue carries
much of the action. This story of guilt and pun...
Group Discussion: Themes, Characters,
Question, and QHQs
Characters
• Culla and Rinthy Holme both live in complete isolation, far from the
influence of any civic or moral authorit...
Themes
• Darkness
• “black sun”
• Key scenes at night: the abandonment of the baby, the sinking of
the ferry, Culla’s two ...
• Sickness
• Rinthy is a sick creature, rarely eating, and healing slowly. An early
description has her “subsiding back am...
• Outer Dark carries a heavy load of symbolism. Its
characters and their actions seem burdened with
meanings beyond the si...
QHQ
• Q: What does the baby symbolize?
• Q: Who are the three marauders? What is their function in the
story?
• Q: How dee...
HOMEWORK
• Really Finish Outer Dark
• Post #30 QHQ Outer Dark:
Focus on a close reading of a
passage (or passages) that
yo...
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Ewrt 1 c class 42

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Ewrt 1 c class 42

  1. 1. EWRT 1C Class 42
  2. 2. AGENDA • Final Comments: Night • Author Introduction • Summary • Characters • Themes • Literary Style • QHQ
  3. 3. Final Questions? •Q: How is genocide of this magnitude possible? •Q: What is a product of the intergenerational trauma of the Holocaust?
  4. 4. Cormac McCarthy Cormac McCarthy is frequently compared with such southern writers as William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, and Flannery O'Connor (Southern Gothic Literary Tradition). "His characters are often outcasts-- destitutes or criminals, or both," wrote Richard B. Woodward in the New York Times Magazine. "Death, which announces itself often, reaches down from the open sky, abruptly, with a slashed throat or a bullet in the face. The abyss opens up at any misstep."
  5. 5. • Some critics claim that McCarthy blatantly imitates Faulkner, although most point out that his concerns and perspective differ from Faulkner's. McCarthy's work (like O'Connor's) reveals his Catholic background in its frequent emphasis on evil, sin, morality, and retribution. Structured as a kind of allegory or folk tale, Outer Dark is marked by both an abundance of violence and horror and a focus on the notion of redemption. It exhibits some of the strongest elements of McCarthy's writing, including his dark humor, intense characterizations, and interweaving of the mythic and the naturalistic.
  6. 6. Thetitleofthisnovel,OuterDark,comesfromtheeighthchapter ofMatthew,inwhichJesuscuresachildbecauseofthefaithofhis father,acenturion(aRomanofficerincommandofahundred men),butwarnsthatthosewithoutsuchfaithwillbedriveninto theouterdark,the“placeofwailingandgrindingofteeth.” • The novel takes place at an unspecified time in a mountainous area designated only as Johnson County. Culla and Rinthy Holme are a brother and sister who live together in an isolated cabin. Their incestuous relationship results in the birth of a baby that Culla, in shame and fright, abandons in the woods. He tells Rinthy the baby has died, but she does not believe him and goes out to find her child. She suspects that Culla has given the baby to a wandering tinker who visited the cabin before the baby's birth. Culla later sets out after Rinthy, although he makes no real effort to find her. The novel recounts the different experiences of these two travelers: seemingly protected by her inherent innocence and maternal grace, Rinthy is treated kindly by those she meets, while Culla encounters only suspicion and threats.
  7. 7. Literary Style • Outer Dark is told in a stark style, and dialogue carries much of the action. This story of guilt and punishment is told in episodes that center on acts of judgment. • While the title is certainly the main biblical allusion, there are numerous others, the most significant of them coming from the gospels of Christ. • Despite the bleakness of most of the story, Outer Dark is not without hope, but it refuses to offer easy salvation and suggests that grace can be a frightful gift.
  8. 8. Group Discussion: Themes, Characters, Question, and QHQs
  9. 9. Characters • Culla and Rinthy Holme both live in complete isolation, far from the influence of any civic or moral authority. Both embark on journeys through a landscape that is notably mythical—-a spiritual wasteland in which horrific things happen. • The tinker, who visits the Holmeses shortly before the baby's birth and who later finds and saves the child, is an ambiguous figure in the novel. He straps his cart loaded with pots, food, soap, gadgets, and other items to his back and pulls it along, suggesting his animalistic nature. • The three dark men dress in clothing stolen from graves and constantly commit atrocities. The novel never explains who they are or even whether they are actual human beings; they may be escaped murderers or some supernatural manifestation of Satan himself. Taken from "Overview: Outer Dark." Characters in 20th-Century Literature. Laurie Lanzen Harris. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990. Literature Resource Center. Web. 3 June 2014.
  10. 10. Themes • Darkness • “black sun” • Key scenes at night: the abandonment of the baby, the sinking of the ferry, Culla’s two scenes with the mysterious trio. • The word “shadow” is used relentlessly. • Blindness • Describes characters’ eyes as plastic and unseeing. • Blind seer walking toward the garden of death” • Rinthy is “pale and disheveled and with such doll’s eyes of painted china.” The boy who wants to take her to a show is described as having “cadaverous eyes.” The murderous trio’s black-bearded leader’s eyes are “shadowed lunettes with nothing there at all.”
  11. 11. • Sickness • Rinthy is a sick creature, rarely eating, and healing slowly. An early description has her “subsiding back among the covers like a wounded bird.” (11) Later on she “struggled toward him like a crippled marionette” (32) and combs her “dead yellow hair.” (53) • The baby is “a beetcolored creature that looked to him like a skinned squirrel” (14) and had “an old man’s face” (15, 231). “It was naked and half coated with dust so that it seemed lightly furred.” • Violence • Violence is personified by three mysterious men described in short, italicized interchapters, beginning on the first page. Their violence is brutal, unjust, unmotivated, and random. They contribute to the impression that things in this world are erratic and irrational. The three men seem to follow a few steps behind Culla, killing many of the people he encounters Courtesy of Dan Geddes book review “Existentialist Darkness as Mood”
  12. 12. • Outer Dark carries a heavy load of symbolism. Its characters and their actions seem burdened with meanings beyond the simple story and action. What does Rinthy represent? What does Culla represent?
  13. 13. QHQ • Q: What does the baby symbolize? • Q: Who are the three marauders? What is their function in the story? • Q: How deeply do the characters lie to each other and themselves? Is this lying necessary? • Q: Is the complexity of Cormack McCarthy’s style of writing in Outer Dark unique or pretentious? • What are some of the religious allusions in the story? • Q: Why doesn’t Culla want a midnight woman when Rinthy wants one? • Q: Why are so many characters introduced nameless? • Q: Is there redemption in the story?
  14. 14. HOMEWORK • Really Finish Outer Dark • Post #30 QHQ Outer Dark: Focus on a close reading of a passage (or passages) that you could use to do a critical reading through a theoretical lens. Consider New Critical, Feminist, Psychoanalytic, or Trauma Theories. You may use another theory with which you are familiar. Please include the passage you are discussing. “Then I hit delete. I haven’t actually eaten any homework in years.”

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