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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 VII, 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 VII: Kingston, Shakespeare, Bohannan, Pu Songling, and Yuan Mei

Honor Roll: Stephanie Armstrong, Brad Beck, Bill Belscher, Sarah Boyle, Andrea Caccese, Jeffrey Ciminesi, Jamie Coniglio, Celeste Creel, Jim DeGolyer, Mickey Dunning, Stefanie Evans, Jason Golubski, Heather Giambrone, Mike Krauklis, Rob Lefferts, Russ Leo, Bryant Loomis, Bethany Prechtl, Tom Priester, Jake Proper, Jesse Reiter, Kelly Rosemellia, Kristen Schoonover, Shana Sek, and Stephanie Stoddard.


Top 10+ Questions

1. How does The Woman Warrior relate to this unit as a whole? (Russ Leo) How does ["Shakespeare in the Bush"] compare to "Cultural Mis-Readings by American Reviewers"?? (Megan Hulbert)

2. Is Kingston [in her essay] changing her story into a social commentary as opposed to it being a story of her life? Or is that what her [original] intentions were? (Brad Beck) What was [Kingston's] point overall [in "Cultural Mis-readings by American Reviewers"]? Was she writing this as a personal expression meant basically for herself, or was she trying to aim it to teach others? (Beth Karnyski, Bryant Loomis, Bethany Prechtl, Ryan Destro) Do you think that in writting this essay Kingston got across the point that she was trying to make to get people to understand her intentions? (Mickey Dunning) Bohannan says in the first column on page 145, "I protested that human nature is pretty much the same the whole world over; at least the general plot and motivation of the greater tragedies would always be clear--everywhere--although some details of custom might have been explained and difficulties of translation might produce other slight changes." What does this and the rest of the story suggest about ethnocentrism and stereotyping? Does Bohannan write this article to make the point about stories/beliefs that get distorted (changed or misunderstood) from culture to culture? (Stephanie Armstrong) What was [Bohannan's] motivation for telling the story?? (Liza Infantino, Chris Metot, Holli Neal, Jim DeGolyer, I'Lema Codrington) Was it to prove her thoughts on Hamlet or just to show there can indeed be different interpretations on various books?? (Liza Infantino) Does anybody think that the author gained a new understanding of the story seeing it through the eyes of the tribe? do you think that she still believes that people are the same everywhere? do you think that she misinterpreted the universal by misunderstanding the particular? (Shana Sek) What was Bohannan's opinion about stories being universal at the end of her story? Since she started with this question, why didn't she include her conclusions? (Stefanie Evans) Did the elders interpretation prove the narator right or wrong in [her] theory that they would understand it? (Mike Krauklis)

3. In the story of Hamlet and [Bohannan's] story is the ghost an omen of some sort? Do we understand ghost and their purpose, or are we just as confused as the narrator at the end of the story? We might even be like the tribe always asking questions and disagreeing because it does not go with our way of thinking. (Heather Giambrone) What are the limitations of approaching Hamlet without believing in ghosts? (Alex Herrera) There is really no proof in Hamlet that his fathers supposed ghost is actually a ghost. Could the bush people be right? Maybe the image of Hamlets father was an "omen". Something (such as a witch) could have sent it because they wanted Hamlet to kill his uncle. Is this a possibility or not? (Jim DeGolyer) I was also curious to how you felt about the narrators concern with ghosts...I couldn't tell if [she] took the ghosts in Hamlet seriously or if [she] just accepted the ghosts as characters, did the fact that they were ghosts mean anything to him? (Amy Carlson) Does culture play a big role in analyzing literature? (Tom Priester) If this particular tribe values storytelling so much, they must be experts on the art. Keeping this in mind, can their interpretation [of Hamlet] be considered valid? (Jake Proper) Are the members of the tribe incorrect in their interpretation of the text if they are following thier specific beliefs and traditions. Are they wrong if they don't see it our way? The way we were taught? (Tom Priester) [Bohannan's] essay raises for me the question, is anyones approach to Shakespeare more correct? (Alex Herrera) If we were exposed to one of there stories would we be as closed to their ways as they were to ours? Would we change their story to fit our view of the world? Do we do that to Hamlet as is? (Kris Krajewski) How far off were the elders from our interpretation of the story? Did thier use of omens and witchcraft instead of ghosts change the meaning of the story? (Megan Russell) Do you feel that, even though some of the meaning seems to be lost with the translation of Hamlet, the main theme or meaning has been lost totally? Do you think that the tribe still 'gets' what the play is supossed to be about (deciet, lying, mis-trust...)? (Jamie Coniglio, Jessica Sandeen)

4. When we read the novel Tracks I know to keep in mind that ghost serve a greater purpose (as in to help), and are seen as almost faimly (very farmilar) in the Native American culture. Is there any thing else that we should know about Native Americans that would help us better understand their writing and perseption of ghosts? (Jim DeGolyer) How does Shakespeare's use of a ghost differ from today's writers'? (Melissa Lancia, Jessica Sandeen)

5. In the last sentence of [Kingston's] essay--"I hope my writing has many layers, as human beings have layers"--Kingston makes a fairly profound statement. What layers does The Woman Warrior have? How many distinct layers can we identify? And what marks a layer in terms of writing? (Russ Leo, Ryan Destro) Why does Kingston say "there are puns for Chinese speakers only, and I do not point them out for non-Chinese speakers" and then be upset by the fact that she feels that her writing is misunderstood? (Bethany Prechtl)

6. Obviously the word "ghost" has different meanings in different cultures. Ghost in the Kingston is used to refer to Americans, and in this reading it comes to mean an omen or a zombie. What can we infer about this African tribe and their beliefs about the supernatural? (Stephanie Armstrong) How limiting was the factor of language differences in relating this tale? Was it the culture difference that solely caused the difficulty or did the language difference have a great influence as well? (Andrea Caccese)

7. If you had written a review before reading [Kingston's] essay, honestly, do you think Kingston would have found it acceptable? Could you have been a perfect critic yourself? (Stephanie Stoddard) Does Kingston make an assumption that all of her critics are giving into the "stereotype of the exotic, inscrutable, mysterious oriental"? (Sarah McNaughton) Is it possible that Maxine Kingston's views and opinions changed in the six years after she had written the book and that is why she was so bitter when she wrote the essay? (Kristine Cuomo) [Kingston's] essay is entitled "Cultural Mis-readings by American Reviewers." I wonder what cultural mis-readings have been made by Chinese or even Asian reviewers? (Ryan Barone) How do you think the African tribesmen would react to the story of Fa Mu Lan? (Jason Golubski) In the beginning, one elder said "...that if we knew more about Europeans, we would find they really were very like us" (146). How do you think his opinion has changed after the story? (Stefanie Evans) How do you think Shakespeare would respond to [the Tiv elders'] interpretation of Hamlet? Would he like the traditional interpretation any better? (Marcy Gambino, Lindsay Robinson, Jessica Sandeen, Nathan Cooper) Why do you think that the African tribe wouldn't just humor the story teller and say that they understand the concept of the ghost? (Jeffrey Ciminesi, Marcy Gambino, Jesse Reiter) Would a person from our society interpret Hamlet in the same way [as the Tiv] if they refused to accept ghosts as part of the story, or would the message still be the same? (Jeffrey Ciminesi) What do you think that the author [Laura Bohannan] learned from this experience with the African tribe? (Jake Proper, Karine Torlet) Does literature have whole different meanings in different countries that we don't know about? (Karine Torlet)

8. Do you think that Kingston was defensive in her reaction essay "Cultural Mis-readings by American Reviewers"? (Sarah McNaughton) Do you think that Kingston was being too derogatory towards the chinese culture and beliefs? (Mickey Dunning) Why does Maxine Kingston seem to have a fixation with stereotypes in her essay, yet she seems to be a little stereotypical in her book? (Kristine Cuomo)

9. Does the tribes response to Hamlet confirm that Shakespeare is a master writer that appeals to many people? (Alex Herrera) Is there the possibility of a text with a universal meaning at all? (Andrea Caccese)

10. What was the public/reviewer's response to [Kingston's] article? (Rob Lefferts) Is stereotyping other individuals still popular in today's society? (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: 3/21/99, 3:33 pm
Last modified: 3/21/99, 6:18 pm