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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 IX, 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 IX: Morrison and Caruth

Honor Roll: Stephanie Armstrong, Bill Belscher, Andrea Caccese, Jeffrey Ciminesi, Jinny Compton, Jim DeGolyer, Adam Di Palma, Noelle Dull, Brandon Erick, Stefanie Evans, Marcy Gambino, Heather Giambrone, Jeff Green, Beth Karnyski, Heather Koski, Melissa Lancia, Russ Leo, Holli Neal, Tom Priester, Jake Proper, Kelly Rosemellia, and Shana Sek.


Top 10+ Questions


2. In the first Caruth article, on page 10, she deals with listening to the "crisis of the trauma" as well as the challenge of the therapeutic listener in hearing the survivor's departure from the event. How does one listen to the departure? Does this have anything to do with how we--listeners on an almost vicarious level--should read and interpret Beloved? (Russ Leo) In what ways do you see trauma work in her text? (Sheryl Harvey)

3. Is this book written for us to understand? Is it an African American story written for Americans. (Think back to the WOMAN WARRIOR and that whole issue of writing about culture) (Tom Priester)

4. Why does the author have the first chapter with descriptions of flashbacks from Sethe and then suddenly shift in the next two chapters to conscious memories from Paul D.? Is this just to give the background of the events that took place at Sweet Home? (Andrea Caccese, Salim Miller) How is the use of flashbacks effective in unfolding the plot? (Will Smith) Who is the narrator of the story? What is the significance of Morrison's use of narrator? (Tom Priester, Alex Herrera, Jamie Coniglio, Amy Keister) Sometimes Toni repeats things for no apparent reason. Am I missing the reason or is it just very well hidden or what? (Mike Krauklis) What are Morrison's intentions for jumping around so much? I find myself confused about something and then having it explained later and I have to go back to understand what happened before. (Rob Lefferts) What is Morrison trying to achieve by portraying the lives of the characters inhabiting 124? (Jeff Green)

5. Is Sethe experiencing a new sort of trauma due to [the baby ghost's] haunting of the house? In an opposite view of the above question, does [the ghost's] presence in the house help Sethe deal with the trauma she has experienced? This could be a reason why Sethe has a desire to remain in the haunted house. What is [the ghost's] purpose in establishing and maintaining a presence in the house? Is [its] sadness an extension of Sethe's trauma? Does [it] have unfinished business that concerns the improvement Sethe's life after slavery? (Bill Belscher) Seeing that Sethe is currently dealing with a violent baby ghost,how do traumatic experiences of the past affect her? (Will Smith) Why doesn't Sethe realize Beloved is her daughter? (Noelle Dull) Why does Sethe have such a hard time dealing with her past? Sure shes had some hard times, but is there anything that she should feel guilty about that might cause her to have all of these flashbacks? How much trauma do you think one can handle before making themselves mad? Do you think that Sethe is on her way there? (Holli Neal) What exactly are Beloved's intentions in coming back? Is it because she wants Sethe more than anything else? Does she want to haunt and concume Sethe for murdering her? Is Beloved back for destruction and revenge, or to remind Sethe of her actions, to make Sethe have normal human emotions? (Kelly Rosemellia)

6. What actually happened to cause the death of Sethe's daughter? Do we know? Will we ever find out? (Jamie Coniglio, Amy Keister) Sethe doesn't explain why her baby died. She just tells the reader that its throat was slit, why do you think she does this? (Alex Herrera) How exactly do you think that the baby ghost died? There was something about having it's throat cut and blood spilling all over the place. Was it an accident of could it have been intentional? (Jake Proper, Jeff Green) I just want to be sure of something, the ghost is the ghost of Denver's dead sister right? And she the ghost is pissed off cause it was killed by having its throat slit or is it cause her mother had sex in the grave yard? If it the first case, I just want to say I bet Sethe did it. (if this is actually said in the novel I must look like an idiot...) (Kris Krajewski) Why did the baby die? Was Sethe the one who cut her throat? (Stefanie Evans) Does Sethe understand why she killed her daughter? (Tom Priester)

7. What is Beloved's purpose? (Heather Giambrone, Noelle Dull, Kelly Rosemellia) Is Beloved a ghost? (Maybe the ghost of the child?) (Heather Giambrone) Paul D chased the baby spirit away for a while, then the character of Beloved shows up, strange that her name is the only word on the baby's gravestone, and then Denver feels this connection with her and helps her back to health. Is there any connection between the chasing fo the baby's spirit out of the house and the appearence of Beloved? (Heather Koski) Why does Beloved want to know about hte diamonds? (Lindsay Robinson)

8. Each character has different feeligs about the ghost. Do you think that the relationships that the characters have with the ghost are positive or negative? (Alex Herrera) Is the haunting [of 124] a result of one event or a whole string of events? (Russ Leo, Bill Belscher) What is the overall purpose of the ghost? I am lost so far as to her intentions of coming back to traumatize the family. Seeing she was just a baby did she really have a strong relationship with all the family at the time of her death? (Adam Di Palma, Stephanie Armstrong, Liza Infantino, Amy Carlson, Jason Golubski) What does the baby ghost have to do with the story, what it just a tactic used by the author to provide clues about the past or a way to introduce the character of Beloved? (Heather Koski, Holli Neal) The ghost in this story is a two year old child that had it's throat slit. Why would the author choose to have the child die in this manner??? (Megan Hulbert) Why does the ghost dislike Paul D? Why did it attack him when he was with Sethe? (Jason Golubski, Amy Keister) Why is the baby ghost so mean and violent towards others who have seemingly no connection to it? Why would it slam Here Boy against the wall? (Jake Proper, Jessica Sandeen, Kristine Cuomo) Why is Beloved so violent? Why does she chase away people? Is she trying to protect her family? (Amy Keister)

9. Does [Denver] see the ghost to represent something other than what I might take it for if I had to deal with that? (Beth Karnyski) Why does Denver feel this conection with a stranger, she was not very open to Paul D, why would she be so comforting to a stranger? (Heather Koski, Stefanie Evans, Jason Golubski, Jake Proper, Kristine Cuomo, Amy Keister) Denver seems to have been really traumatized... How did it happen to her? Was it from living in the haunted house, or from her brothers... well all of her family leaving her (except for sethe). Or could it have been a case of severe depression, that she developed because of the above reasopns, or from the dealing with her mother? Why is Denver in such intimate relations w/ the house, and the ghost in it? see pages 13, 19, and 29. (Brandon Erick) [Are Denver's] thoughts as to why people don't come and see them more accurate than her mothers? (Leslie Strandburg) On page 56, Denver denies seeing Beloved pick up the rocking chair. Why would she do that? (Lindsay Robinson)

10. Baby Suggs seems to have no feelings or compasion.(page12) Is this an result of the slavery? Is it being used bu Morrison to show how bad slavery was and some of the effects of it? (Jim DeGolyer) When Denver was recalling the memory of her birth, Sethe keeps refering to her as an antelope. What is the purpose for that? Is an antelope some kind of religious or social symbol for something? Sethe also tells of how she didn't even know why she refered to it as one. Is it something that Morrison is trying to imply? (Jinny Compton) In pages 35 and 36... What does the term "rememory" mean? How is it used? (Tom Priester, Jim DeGolyer) Why did the boys take Sethe's milk, was it just for sexual pleasure or did they have other motives? (Jeffrey Ciminesi, Amy Keister) What was the significance of Amy, why was she willing to help Sethe? (Jeffrey Ciminesi) Amy says on page 33 that "My mama worked for these people to pay for her passage." She is a white girl but what about her mother? What was this passage? why would she have to pay them off? (Jim DeGolyer) Whatever happened to Halle, Sethe's husband? Did he run off? Did he get sold off? Was he killed? (Jessica Sandeen, Amy Keister) What was the woman in the white dress next to Sethe which Denver sees? Ghost? Imagination? (Jim DeGolyer) Why did Morrison describe the scars on Sethe's back so descriptively? Is there a reason for that other than to show the affects of slavery on African Americans? (Jamie Coniglio, Salim Miller, Amy Keister)

11. If there truly is some sort of presence in the house, what is it that makes them stay? (Kristen Schoonover, Jake Proper, Jessica Sandeen, Kristine Cuomo) What is the significance of the family remaining in this possessed house? (Jeff Green) Why did they take Beloved into their home? Was this just a characteristic of people during that time? And what is her fixation with Sethe? Furthermore, what is Paul D's issue with her? (Stephanie Stoddard)

12. I am curious though as to why there were no other people helping with the burial, and why the entire weight came down on her shoulders? (Ryan Barone) What exactly is being implied by Morrison about Denver and her "house" in the boxwood? (Jinny Compton) I still don't know for sure, but it seems like 124 is the house number. Do they refer to the house by it's number to give it a more inhuman feeling, or is it to separate it from the family more? (Brandon Erick) On page 11, Mr. Garner is described as getting in fights about calling his slaves "real men". What are the others angered by? I'm not sure why the other's were angry when he says, "neither would I" to their statement "I would not have niggers around my wife". (Andrea Caccese) I don't understand where Paul D came back from. Why has he returned after 18 years away from Sethe and her family? (Jason Golubski, Jake Proper, Kelly Rosemellia) Why does Paul D get rid of the ghost--just to protect Sethe and Denver? (Lindsay Robinson) Is Paul D saving them from their troubles or creating something worse? (Jim DeGolyer)

Bonus: Group Questions (and Page Numbers Where Some Answers Can Be Found)









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EN 209: Novels and Tales, Spring 1999
Created: 4/27/99, 8:01 pm
Last modified: 4/27/99, 8:01 pm