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Excellent/Interesting Observations and Questions

Here are the names of the people who got "+'s" on their reading responses for Week XIV, along with excerpts from people's observations and a list of the "top 10+" questions asked. (Note: when listing the questions, I'll always copy the wording from the first time the question was asked and put the author's name first in the list of names in parentheses after the question, so that everyone who asked a roughly similar question gets some recognition, but the first person who asked it gets more.)

Week XIV: Erdrich/Bowen/B>

Honor Roll: Stephanie Armstrong, Andrea Caccese, Jeffrey Ciminesi, Celeste Creel, Jinny Compton, Kristine Cuomo, Jim Degolyer, Stefanie Evans, Marcy Gambino, Jason Golubski, Russ Leo, and Jake Proper.


Top 10+ Questions

1. Why does [Erdrich] go to such great lengths to combine Catholicism with the native religion and superstitions? What is the connection between the two ideologies? What social/political statement is Erdrich making? (Russ Leo) I really liked the comment in the back of the novel about this book being a about the experince of Native americans like Toni Morrisons Beloved about the experice of Black.I have made up my mind about what that statement means but I would like to know what others think it means. Is that statememt one to be agreed with or not? Why or why not? (Celeste Creel)

2. What did Erdrich want to accomplish by writing this book? What was her purpose in telling us the tale about Nanapush, Fluer and Pauline? (Jinny Compton, Mike Copella, Celeste Creel) What could be the authors' motivations for writing this?? (Liza Infantino) What is Erdrich trying to say about Fleur in her form of ambiguity... is she trying to get the reader to have several interpretations of what Fleur is, or is she emphasizing the fact that Fleur isn't really anything physical at all? (Brad Beck) I have to wonder what nanapush's goal was in telling Lulu the story in which he did. (Sheryl Harvey) Are Pauline's stories about Fleur really true accounts of what happened or were her own feelings getting in the way of telling the truth? (Kristine Cuomo) What are Bowen's motivations in writing this book? (Jeff Green) In Bowen's stories it seemed that the people were quick to assume that ghost were the cause of many daily events. Why is it that what most cultures would try to explain scientificly is explained by the supernatural in the Bowen's stories? Does this have anything to do with Native American beliefs? (Marcy Gambino) Most of the time ghosts appear to teach the living lessons in Native American culture. What other cultures have this belief and how do they compare and contrast to the Native American culture? (Stefanie Evans)

3. Overall have we seen any common links on the reasons ghost come, or haunting takes place? Is there a certain type of person that ghost haunt or is it just random? have we had any proof that these occurances might actually be real? (Shana Sek) How does Bowen regard similar stories from other cultures [than his] own? What effect do outside sources have on the Native American storytelling tradition? (Russ Leo) [In the second half of Bowen's talk,] did he go deeper in why he decided to write these stories expect because they wanted to be shared? Did they have a lot of meaning in his private life? (Karine Torlet) [In "The Power Line,"] could it be that this was the mother's way of punishing her husband or making him an example? - because the whole town knew of the events and the bodies were discovered by the townspeople. (Andrea Caccese) What do the cans symbolize or represent [in "One More Story"]? What is the main purpose of this story? (Ryan Destro) Many of the stories contain drinking or problems with alcohol. Do you think that this is because of the prevelance of alcoholism on the reservations, or do you think that it was just a vice of the individual person and could have been a different problem instead? Do you think that ghosts come back to teach lessons in all cultures or just the Native American culture? Why do you think that they teach lessons so much in the Native American culture? (Jeffrey Ciminesi) I noticed that many of the ghosts in his story appeared when someone was doing something wrong like gambling, drinking, and staying out late. Yet, at other times they seemed to just appear randomly for no particular reason. Do you feel that the stories Bowen told supported the notion from early that native american ghosts appear to correct bad behavior? If this was not their reason for appearence what was it? (Marcy Gambino) Many of hte stories had a moral to them almost, like the ghosts were appearing when something bad happening; ie--drinking, etc. Is this common of Seneca Literature also to have a moral? (Lindsay Robinson) Why is it that when ever there is gambling involved in a piece of Native American literature (well the ones that I've read anyway...) that a ghost or whatever comes and tries to get them to stop and sometimes the ghost turns into the devil? What is that all about?? (Jamie Coniglio) Why is the devil invovled in the card games and gambling? Do they feel as though gambling is evil? (Alex Herrera) Why include the story of the devil? Does this say anything about Bowens religious belifes? Is he a christian? (Jim Degolyer) What role does the Devil play in the Native American culture? Does [Bowen's] Christian background ever conflict with [his] Native American heritage, and how does this affect [his] stories? (Russ Leo)

4. Why does [Bowen] go into so little detail in his stories? I think that if his goal if to convey modern Indian culture wouldn't it be better done with more description? (Kris Krajewski) What is the main market for Bowens writing, where is it sold, just in the area? What kind of research did Bowen do prior to writing the book?, did he base it solely on the words of the people of the Senecas? (Amelia Vanni) What kind of audience was this book geared towards? (Bethany Prechtl) Why are the stories told in such a simplistic way? (Bryant Loomis, Jamie Coniglio, Alex Herrera, Jim Degolyer) Is it because that's the way that they are told, in a campfire sorta way?? (Jamie Coniglio) What did Bowen gain by writing the stories in the way he did? (Bethany Prechtl) Is the order in which the stories [in Bowen's collection are] told significant at all? (Bryant Loomis) Were all these stories put together for a purpose or are they meant to be read indivdually? (Jim Delgolyer) Why did Bowen start most of the stories the same way with "Now I'm going to tell you about..." and "Now this happened one time."? (Nate Cooper)

5. Why do ghosts often want to take the living with them? Is the life that they are living better and they want to share it, or are they just lonely? (Jeffrey Ciminesi, Stefanie Evans) What is the symbolism behind all the card games? Why does Erdrich use that approach? (Jake Proper, Jessica Sandeen) Is this use of animals a common theme in Native American writing? If so, what is the significane of this? (Marcy Gambino, Lindsay Robinson, Kristen Konieczny, Salim Miller) Why did so many of Bowen's stories include railroad tracks? Was this just a coincidence or was it a symbol for something? (Marcy Gambino) Was the story of the Giant deer supposed to teach a lesson in messing with wild life? (Jim Degolyer) What does Bowen want us to learn from ["The Power Line"]? (Leslie Strandburg) Is it possible that the lake man does not exist other than in the minds of the Indians? (Bill Belscher) What evidence is there in the book that Fleur Did drown or Did Not drown? (Stephanie Stoddard, Ryan Barone) What is the significance of the water? I think that the water and the waterman have some sort of powers. They might have posessed Fleur, and have control over her also. (Megan Hulbert) I found [Bowen's] stories to be interesting, yet incomplete. i guess that it was part of his plan for we, the readers, to insert explainations. like in one more story, whats the dilly with the hot cans? who were the black cats, and why did it end so abruptly? (Amy Carlson) Why do you believe Erdrich made her characters afraid of the spirits? I thought that an Indian's spirit was suppose to be there to help at a time when you need it at least that's what an Indian's spirit did in the story of Bruchac's Bone Girl. (Sheryl Harvey) If Moses has all of these magic "potions" and such, then why are all of the townsfolk wary of Fleur and not Moses as well? (Kristine Cuomo)

6. [In Bowen's] powerline story, what was the significance of some men seeing the mother's bones in the tree and others not seeing them? is it just because some believe in ghosts and others don't? was it the mother's motivation to get her daughter to go to the powerline so they can be together? was it really her mother that the daughter thought she heard calling for her? why would her mother want her to die? wouldn't she rather have her stay alive and enjoy life? (Leslie Strandburg) What had caused the little girl's death in the story "The Power Line?" (Bethany Prechtl) [In "One More Story,"] what is the purpose of the cats-are they really the elderly people who the orphan girl stayed with? (Ryan Destro, Jim Degolyer) Why was the pig tapping at the window? Why did the tin cans burn the girls hands? (Ryan Destro) Was the Swamp Ghost supposed to represent something? What were the lights and why did they try to hurt the sleeping man? (Jim Degolyer)

7. What is the relivance of having Nanapush have a flashback of his previous wifes on page220? (Jinny Compton) What is the sinificance of Margaret in the book? (Russ Leo)

8. What does Nanpush possibly see in Margaret? (I am just curious people's opinions on this b/c I couldn't stand her.) (Stephanie Stoddard) Why did she choose to only buy her land when she could have bought everybody's? (Noelle Dull) If Margaret could just sell out everybody else and only take care of herself, how could they all still love her? (Jessi Scirto, Noelle Dull) Why did Fluer allow Pauline back into her house after all the trouble she had caused for her family? (Jason Golubski, Stefanie Evans) Was it because this was part of the old ways and the tribe's beliefs? (Stefanie Evans)

9. What is the deal with Pauline and Fleur? Pauline seems to have these mood swings. She hates fleur then she worships her then she hates her etc.. I also wonder if Pauline has some powers of her own. (Stephanie Armstrong, Stephanie DiBlasi) Is it because she can basically get any guy who she wants? Is it the relationship she has with nanipush? (Stephanie DiBlasi) I'm also very curious as to why Pauline believes that she should or needs to become a nun? What is she hoping to accomplish by this? (Sarah Boyle) Does Pauline torture herself in an attempt to put herself through th pain she has caused others? (Sophie for example) (Stephanie Stoddard) I also am curious as to why Pauline feels compelled to torture herself by becoming a nun and following all of her bizzare rituals (wearing her shoes backwards, etc)? What did she feel that she had to repent for? (Jinny Compton) Why does Pauline torture herslf so fiercely, is she trying to rid herself of her impurities. if so, she would not be able to since the priest said she was impure because of her native american heritage. (Sarah McNaughton) Did other people view Pauline as a Saint or were these thoughts just in her own head? (Jason Golubski)

10. Why does Nanapush just let Eli say in his house for six days and sulk? Was Eli awaiting pity that he did not receive? What is the status of Eli and Fleur? Is their a possibility or a relationship? (Ryan Barone) Why does Fleur always come back after she drowns, and noone sees her, but everyone else actually dies? (Megan Hulbert) Why would she try to drown others when they tried to rescue her? (Theresa O'Hern)

11. How much of [Erdrich's] story is based on truth, how much did she just make up to create a more believable story? (Jinny Compton) Were any of these events in [Erdrich's] book based on historical nature, did she make this all up, did this evolve from folklore, does any of this hold factual basis? (Beth Karnyski) What made Bowen be inspired to write this book? (Kristen Konieczny) Do any of you think that any of his stories are actually true or at least som truth in them?? (Jamie Coniglio, Bethany Prechtl, Nate Cooper) Are there other people are from around here that has heard any of these stories? (Salim Miller)

12. Does [Pauline] really have the power to make people do things with her mind? Did she really cause Eli and Sophie to do the things that they did? Or was it alla coincidence? (Jinny Compton) Is Fluer really supernatural or is that just Pauline's imagination? (Jake Proper, Jessica Sandeen) Or does she just act in a certain way to make people think she does? (Jessica Sandeen) Could the water man really have gotten Fleur pregnant? (Megan Hulbert) What do you think High Hat was in "The Great Swamp"? (Russ Leo) Is it a common practice for Native Americans to "bury" their dead in trees? (Stefanie Evans)

13. What happened to Fleur [at the end of the novel] and where was she? (Jessi Scirto) Did anything ever happen to Pauline's baby? (Noelle Dull)

M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S

EN 209: Novels and Tales, Spring 1999
Created: 5/13/99, 3:29 pm
Last modified: 5/13/99, 3:29 pm