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Excellent Observations and Questions

Here are the names of the people who got "+'s" on their reading responses for Week III, 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 III: Hawthorne and James

Honor Roll: Bill Belscher, Andrea Caccese, Jim DeGolyer, Heather Giambrone, Jeff Green, Beth Karnyski, Kris Krajewski, Russ Leo, Jake Proper, Jesse Reiter.


Top 10 Questions

1. Might Hawthorne also be addressing the decreasing effect on fantastical tales on people today?(by pointing out that the narrator's audience was not affected by the very fictional tale of the wizard and Alice, but were roused by the truer tale of historical events) Is society becoming less affected by superstition? Could this have an effect on the way ghost stories are currently written and how they will be written in the future? Could Hawthorne be addressing the effects of this social transformation in "Alice Doane's Appeal"? and if so how? (Andrea Caccese)

2. Hawthorne started the tale about something that happened on Gallows Hill, and ended it with wrongfully accused people walking to their death. I thought he was talking about the Salem witch trials. Is he? If he is, what does the story of Alice Doanne have to do with that? (Jake Proper, Cindy Stevens, Salim Miller, Kristine Cuomo) When are we told that this story is in fact about these trials? And what exactly are the references to the witch trials? (Sarah Boyle) What are Hawthorne's motivations for writing a story about the witch trials? (Bryant Loomis) Why would Hawthorne write a story that seems to support his rival [Charles Upham--and his history of the witch trials]? (Jesse Reiter, Noelle Dull, Jason Golubski, Mike Krauklis, Ryan Barone, Megan Hulbert, Karine Torlet, Kristen Schoonover) What point is the author trying to make in regards to the witches deaths? Why does the author care so much about the witches and what happened to them? (Chris Metot, Karine Torlet) Ultimately, what was the purpose [and motivations] for writing this story? (Stephe Stoddard, Liza Infantino, Kristen Schoonover)

3. What is the significance of the title ['Alice Doane's Appeal']? You would think that Alice would have more of a role in the story line. (Tom Priester, Jessica Sandeen, Salim Miller, Stefanie Evans, Nathan Cooper, Amy Keister) What is the significance to the title of the book [The Turn of the Screw]? It's also mentioned again on page 3 in the second full paragraph. It is a symbol of some sort? (Jamie Coniglio, Holli Neal)

4. Why did the narrator tell the first story [in 'Alice Doane's Appeal']? Did it have any connection to the second story? (Salim Miller, William Smith, Amelia Vanni, Amy Keister, Rob Lefferts, Theresa O'Hern, Jessica Scirto, Stephanie Armstrong, Kris Krajewski, Kristen Schoonover) Why did he choose two ladies to tell the stories to? Why didn't he pick others? Did he choose two ladies, because he thought he could scare women easier? (Leslie Strandburg, Bill Belscher) What reaction was he hoping to get and did he get it? (Jessica Scirto) If the author was trying to stir emotions, then why did he make this so difficult to read? How would it have been possible for the narrator to make the first story much more effective and scary using the same plot and characters? (Bill Belscher)

5. What does the ghost [in The Turn of the Screw] want? Is it connected to Miles? (Heather Giambrone) What is the connection between the ghost and Miles? Why does Mrs. Grose fear that he is looking for Miles? What would he want with Miles? (Jim DeGolyer)

6. Why is Mather compared to the devil [in 'Alice Doane's Appeal]? Does the narrator blame him solely for these events or does he feel that his ancestors in the town shoulder the guilt as well? Does he try to understand why these evil ideas "took root" like the weeds? (Jesse Reiter) What role does the devil play in all of this? He seems as though he is more feared and respected than God, the ghosts of the accused and murdered, or anyone else in the story - or the time period, for that matter. And by the devil, I don't just mean the singular figure, but all the demons and forces of evil in the story. Is this type of ghost story the reason that, historically and traditionally, we regard tales about ghosts as negative or evil? (Russ Leo) What was the character of the Wizard's motivations? Why did he bring all of the spirits back to life? (Jeffrey Ciminesi, Jake Proper, Cindy Stevens, Jessica Sandeen, Stefanie Evans, Nathan Cooper, Amy Keister, Stephanie Armstrong, Shana Sek)

7. This story ["Alice Doane's Appeal"] contains a very large amount of detail and description. Do you think that Hawthorne's descriptions add to or draw away from the story? (Jeffrey Ciminesi, Jessica Sandeen, Stefanie Evans, Heather Koski) Why does Hawthornes work contain so much Historical background? Do you think this helps or hinders the overall effect of the story? (Amelia Vanni)

8. What is the significance, if any, of the body [of Walter Brome] being left out in the open and not being able to be placed under the ice [in 'Alice Doane's Appeal]? (Mike Krauklis) Why doesn't the Uncle of Flora and Miles have them live with him? (Jim DeGolyer, Megan Russell) Why was young Miles expelled from school? (Jeff Green, Jim DeGolyer) Considering the boy (Miles) did something bad enough to get kicked out of school, could the ghosts be coming back to warn the goveness about him? (Megan Russell) In the story the old governess dies, it is never explained to the audience how it happened. Why do you think that it isn't explained, could he be hidding something? (Alex Herrera) What were the problems that the narrator, who wrote the story, had left behind at home? (Stefanie Evans) Is there more to Mrs. Grose's immediate, extreme joy when the central character first arrives at Bly, than meets the eye (see page 10)? The governess always seems to have "feelings" about things or just stumble upon these ghosts. Could she be psychic? (Megan Russell)

9. Why did Alice's brother kill Walter? Was it because Walter screwed Alice and he was mad about it? Or was he afraid that she like Walter better than him? (Jake Proper, Brandon Erick) Are Leonard, Alice, and Walter all siblings? There seems to be tension, jealousy, and guilt tied up in here somewhere. Is there some form of incestuous relations going on here? Pretty freaky? (Tom Priester, Stephanie Armstrong)

10. In telling a good story is the truth really more powerful than fiction when trying to convey a message or special meaning? (Ryan Destro)

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: 2/17/99, 10:16 pm
Last modified: 2/17/99, 10:18 pm