Hola from Spain

Howdy! Finally made it as far as Spain on my way to Amsterdam, and I just had to tell you that I was at JFK airport yesterday in New York, and the ONLY place to sit during my 6 hour wait was-you guessed it-Dunkin Donuts!!! They are taking over!

Also-if you’re taking Spanish, I strongly  suggest you take more than the mandatory pathetic 1 semester and visit this wonderful country. Even just passing through is great. Really nice people, amazing architecture, beautiful nature.you don’t have to speak Spanish to visit of course, but even a little bit helps. Languages become real when you use them with real people….and you can read Borger in the original!

Final Exam!

Final Ехам: final-engl-371

“This earth that we live on is full of stories in the same way that, for a fish, the ocean is full of ocean. Some people say when we are born we’re born into stories. I say we’re also born from stories.” -Ben Okri

To me, the power of Magic Realism is in its ability to reveal the many facets of life that we tend to shove away because they are too difficult to visualize or talk about. It’s kind of like the way you shove away a weird dream when you wake up and get to “real” life – and yet you feel that dream influencing you the entire day. These invisible facets of life can be amazing, mysterious, or terrible, but they are as “real” as a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee – and a darn sight more real than “Fantasy Harbour.” By visualizing and recognizing them we can live more knowingly in the world, and influence our own stories more powerfully.

We have seen how Kafka concretizes the soul crushing effects of bureaucracy, how Cortazar immerses us in an unstable world of fluid identity, and how Marquez conjures a land where every idea comes to life. We’ve traveled with Borges to the edge of the universe to ponder the raw puzzles of existence, and we’ve found these same puzzles reimagined in a weirdly familiar modern Japan. We’ve looked into Iran and Nigeria to see how terrifyingly distorting extreme political and social forces can be, and gained glimpses of how to resist them. To me, literature does what a thousand documentaries cannot – it brings the far way close, the outside inside, and the foreign familiar. The minute we identify with a character we’ve made the leap – the magic of fiction.

Magic Realism helps to visualize the invisible forces, webs, and threads that run through life – we feel them influence us, and although we cannot see them, in fiction they can walk through the house like a tiger, or float us into the sky with the laundry.

For the final writing I want you to consider invisible threads and forces in the works of the last three authors in the course:

Shahrnush Parsipur – Women without Men

Haruki Murakami – The Elephant Vanishes

Ben Okri – Stars of the New Curfew

These invisible threads and forces can take many forms, including:

Connections between people and each other

Connections between people and nature

Connections between people and objects

Connections between people and their own subconscious selves

Connections between people and texts

Connections between people and other times, places, knowledges

Connections between people and power structures

Connections between people and war/ political events

Connections between people and Simulacra

Other?

Directions: In  short, coherent short essays, discuss how Parsipur, Murakami, or Okri make an invisible force, thread, or connection visible in their works. Have fun, talk to each other about this, be creative.

3 separate essays (each can address a different “thread”)

-Each should be a short logical whole, 1 ½ to 2 pages.

-Illustrate points with examples from the texts and at least one quote per essay.

-Works Cited is not necessary

-You may use “I.” Do proofread and write clearly.

Grading Rubric:

Follows Directions, Completes Assignment: 50

Writing is Clear and Coherent (i.e. I can understand what you are talking about): 40

Neat, grammatical, Proofread: 10

Due Dates:

Final Draft of Paper – December 15

Final Exam Essays – December 15

Ben Okri Readings

For Monday: “Stars of the New Curfew” okri_stars-ii

Reading for Fridayben-okri-580_35108a: Two short stories: Ben Okri “Shadows of War” and “Worlds that Flourish” (PDFs below!).

Ben Okri is a writer from Nigeria – these stories were published 1988 and reflect the time of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) in the city of Lagos where Okri grew up.

For Friday: okri_-stars-i

For Monday: “Stars of the New Curfew” okri_stars-ii

 

“I grew up in a tradition where there are simply more dimensions to reality: legends and myths and ancestors and spirits and death … Which brings the question: what is reality? Everyone’s reality is different. For different perceptions of reality we need a different language. We like to think that the world is rational and precise and exactly how we see it, but something erupts in our reality which makes us sense that there’s more to the fabric of life. I’m fascinated by the mysterious element that runs through our lives. Everyone is looking out of the world through their emotion and history. Nobody has an absolute reality.” Ben Okri

Nigerian Artist Yinke Shonibare

 

Disney Land and Nigeria

 

Ben Okri

“I grew up in a tradition where there are simply more dimensions to reality: legends and myths and ancestors and spirits and death … Which brings the question: what is reality? Everyone’s reality is different. For different perceptions of reality we need a different language. We like to think that the world is rational and precise and exactly how we see it, but something erupts in our reality which makes us sense that there’s more to the fabric of life. I’m fascinated by the mysterious element that runs through our lives. Everyone is looking out of the world through their emotion and history. Nobody has an absolute reality.” Ben Okri

 

Reading for Wednesday: Two very short stories: Ben Okri “Shadows of War” and “Worlds that Flourish.” Ben Okri is a writer from Nigeria – these stories were published 1988 and reflect the time of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) in the city of Lagos where Okri grew up.

Reading for Friday: Story “Stars of the New Curfew” 83-114

Reading for Monday: Finish “Stars”

We’ll also talk more about the Simulacrum and Disneyland on Wednesday – do you see ways it relates to what we have read so far? Can you think of more “real” examples? Keep thinking about it as we read the Okri stories!

Welcome Back!

 

Howdy! Hope you all had a great break. It can be hard to come back, but we have a lot of good work to do in the next 2 weeks before the class ends!

FOR MONDAY: Read the following two short but strange readings. We’ll finish those last two minutes of The Twilight Zone and then talk about Bauldrillard and the Simulacra – it goes really well with the episodes we watched! On Wednesday we’ll start reading the short stories of Ben Okri.

Borges: ” On exactitude in Science”(One Paragraph)”exactitude

What comes first – the territory or Google Maps?

Is 3D printed Ice Cream Ice Cream?

Baudrillard – 2 page Excerpt from Simulacra and Simulation simulacra_excerpt

Film Review Blog post – POST HERE AS A COMMENT

lola

Homework and This Week

Short Writing on Marquez! Due Nov. 7 on Canvas 

M 11/7 In Class: Magic Realism in Perspective faris-mr-definitionfaris-mr-definition

If you are interested in the whole article: faris

Sharnush Parsipur   Women without Men

Read “Afterword”

W 11/9 Haruki Murakami “The Elephant Vanishes” (story)
F 11/11 Murakami “The Little Green Monster” “Sleep”
13 M 11/14 Murakami – “TV People”

 

Film Run Lola Run SUT 3-5
W 11/16 Murakami “The Second Bakery Attack”

 

Paper 1st draft due Thursday, 11/17
F 11/18 Borges: ” On exactitude in Science”(One Paragraph)”exactitude

Baudrillard – 2 page Excerpt from Simulacra and Simulation simulacra_excerpt

 

Film Review Blog post – post before returning from break