English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures

Queens College, City University of New York

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Class Notes, 12 Dec. 2011

December 12th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Guidelines for “final essay” or YOUR article are below. Here are some ideas generated by students in class today:

Romina: People of Paper: omniscient narration “gossip”

Foucault, D.A. Miller


panopticon: layout of prison, their own “overseer”



spatial organization of the page: who is looking at whom? Gossip as self-regulation: it’s not the story of the characters, but about Plascencia himself: when he gossips about characters, he talks about himself.


Different points of focalization


Atomik Aztex: from one Zenzo to another, apply to film, jump cuts


“colonial gaze”



Casey: Marxism and theAmericas,Omaha . . . Atomik Aztex or People of Paper

“Two worlds”


social classes, and how we can “see” social class. Projects housing, cycles and also gentrification.

“stuck there”; lack of social mobility

capitalism: capitalism expands Europe into the Americas, first elements of what we know today as “globalization”




Robert: animals, introductions or the importance of non-homodiegetic discourse  in experimental literature

            Atomik Aztex: warning before novel begins

            People of Paper: dedication

“nobles” the power within society,


nobility and divine right to dominate . . . “war cause”



Jennifer: poli-science: The People of Paper and Atomik Aztex

Political and social factors influence how individuals act and behave

Relation between the individual and social structure


Social A: government

Social constructions: social class




Justin: magical realist texts:Omahaand Garcia Marquez

J’s def: the incorporation of the surreal and fantasy into “normal” or realistic storytelling or narration: “Man with Enormous Wings” angels, transformation of character shapes


Vega’s references to Garcia Marquez




Sabrina: Garcia Marquez: magical realism . . .

OR time: how to connect time to magical realism


Realism: how does time function? (check early Garcia Marquez) Don Quixote


Magical realism: how does time function?



“sequence” “fabula”



Aparna: magical realism as postcolonial discourse: shifts in time and focalization to create “magic”, and also lit at the margins, in opposition to the mainstream

People of Paper

Garcia Marquez


Postcolonial: lit that takes apart the colonial lit: former colonies, and colonization radically changes . . . the worldview of the colonized people


Economic land for resources; colony of the colonized, to erase their native history, language, and memory


Participates in colonial worldview, but “deconstructs” or “critiques” the ‘master’s narrative”



Rita: magical realism: time discourse movements; connecting magical realism

Garcia Marquez . . . The People of Paper

“melting time”: clock: tells time, measures time; establishes “linear time” from A to B

“western models of time”

“not normal”

Rehana: Focalization:Omahaand Don Quixote, “She Lived in a Story” or magical realism.

Focalization: authors stepping into the novel: digression

When author steps in he/she becomes character, their side of the story: the story of telling the story and the story being told

Narrative levels in Jahn: the distinctions between direct and indirect communication between readers and characters, and authors


“intrude” : author intrudes on characters’ levels


I will argue that . . . focalization




Caitlin: genres, and multiple genres . . .


Bibi: the use of language in Latin American lit,Omahaand The People of Paper: “code-switching” Spanglish, language hybridity



Anthony: time in Garcia Marquez, Don Quixote or Atomik Aztex, or Samperio: how authors elapse time without describing every moment, Realism . . .

Important not to describe every little detail

In Don Quixote you don’t need to know what Sancho’s doing when Don Quixote goes down the cave?


Leaving some holes for the reader,


Don’t tell the reader everything, but make them work hard/ make them work less . . .

Andrea: Omaha and People of Paper; digressions; present the novel as “adolescent” to catch attention, but then shifts to politics and race and Puerto Rican history, colonialism


Wilfred: focalization and the relation to colonialism, and the formation of The Canon.

Omaha Bigelow and “Nabo”


John: analyze Hispanic Lit question of stereotypes: the stereotype of all Hispanic Lit must be magical realism

How romance and narration and sequence: hero’s journey

Joseph Campbell


Magical realism and Garcia Marquez or She Lived in a Story: the protagonist: the character in the story



Daniel: magical realism; The People of Paper and “Nabo”: how focalization is used to deconstruct magical realism, or to deconstruct . . .

Truth is relative when it comes to focalization: different perspectives have different outlooks:

Surrealism: truth, where is it

Realism: where’s the truth? Section of realism . . . . “more truth”


For an example of an “article” I wrote for a grad class, see the page above “example essay”.

Happy Holidays!

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Class Notes, 7 Dec. 2011

December 7th, 2011 · Uncategorized

For your final “portfolio”


–Write a short “cover letter” posted as a page on your blog, with your response to the course. Suggestions, ideas, things you liked or disliked . . . a paragraph.



–Your final “article” posted as a page

(these are “minimum” requirements)


Use the scholarly title

You need to include two of the aesthetic texts (two authors)

You need to include two critical sources (one is Jahn)

You need to include three media sources (from youtube, google, or your own original) (include a small caption, about 3-4 sentences, make the font just a little smaller, for example use a 10-point font if you are using 12 for your article)

Use subtitles


You need to use MLA


Check your “to be” verbs



“She Lived in A Story


Don Quixote


Garcia Marquez


The People of Paper




Atomik Aztex













Introduction: usually 3-4 paragraphs:


1st paragraph: general history of overview (quick) of some element ofLatin America or Latinoness (think from your article about history/culture)

–at the end, mention the “Jahn terms” indirectly, so for example, if you are going to write about Focalization, mention something about Point of View, or if you are going to talk about time, then mention something about events and sequence


2nd paragraph: Mention the books, go into detail how that last term connects them and how they fit into Latin America/Latinoness


3rd paragraph: go into briefly the Jahn, and Narratology . . . and use the terms that you will develop in the theory section: “Narratological applications to literature analyze the elements that compose story sequences . . . or compose story perspectives . . . . and make sure you give the name of Jahn and his text.


4th paragraph has your thesis: which can ask a question, or pose an analysis or argument. “In this article, I argue that . . . ”. Probably your thesis will be 3-4 sentences

In this article I argue . . .


Theory section: don’t forget subtitles

“Focalization and Narrative Point of View”

Here’s where you give the Jahn PIE paragraphs

Where you define the critical terms you will be applying to the novels

(Option: if you want to bring in another cultural/critical theory, you also have to define those terms: “Orientalism” “chronotope” “hegemony”



Theory Application to Text 1

Here’s where you apply Jahn to Book 1: PIE


Media here


Theory Application to Text 2

Here’s where you apply Jahn to Book 2: PIE

Discussion section

Where you do some compare/contrast action

Now you can compare how the theoretical play out in each novel

If you used different theory terms applied to the novels, why, and what did you learn

You can bring in some other theories that might make a distinction between books, or even other Jahn terms . . . but don’t make them the focus.

Media here



Conclusion: shoot for 3 paragraphs

Re-state your thesis, “In this article, I analyzed that . . .

State how future research could use your research, and what one who would continue after you should study . . .

You could connect to different theories of Lit or critical terms

Bring it back to history/context/LatinAmerica, or U.S. relations

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Class Notes, 5 Dec. 2011

December 5th, 2011 · Uncategorized



–What did you learn in this course

(this could be the material you include in your “cover letter”)




Bullets list

–What do you think I wanted you to learn?

–My goals for the class: or what I as instructor wanted you to gain . . .


Circle two of your points



Pick one of the points you circled, and explain why you think that I think that skill/lesson is important?





“the condition of art inAmerica”



Pop music: radio, public spaces, TV, advertisements

“Britney Spears”

“Lady Gaga”



Fine music: orchestras, philharmonic,LincolnCenter


the distinction between high art and low art: “high art” museums,



“low art”: public spaces, advertising, branding, bought and sold, “flimsy” not like the “hard” arts, or with less “depth” than high art



Fine art: “timeless” not always a “best-seller” sometimes the “anti-best-seller” for Vega, the “underground” art, or art that has . . . see list below . . .


Pop art: for the market, bought, sold, “hollow”




“Harry Potter”: “bestseller”, written to be made into a film? The “blockbuster”; art to be sold, to make money . . .



Vega’s theory of Literature: Chapter 23 “Social Facilitation”

“Great”, “classic”, “high” Literature concerns itself with:


–social concerns




(Vega’s short list for how to write Lit. Notice making money is not a concern.)


Postcolonial psychoanalysis: Frantz Fanon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AFrantz+Fanon&keywords=Frantz+Fanon&ie=UTF8&qid=1323095475&sr=8-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B001HPZVZ6


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Class Notes, 30 Nov. 2011

November 30th, 2011 · Uncategorized


RESPOND to each of your groupmates: find out what post/response from the person they want comments to

5 posts/comments for your groupmates


5 posts with media and five-sentence “captions”: could be images, video, music















* Extra blog about what was helpful in classmates’ comments














* Extra blog about what was helpful in classmates’ comments



Ed Vega Yunque, Nuyorican author

One of the first well-known (mainstream) Nuyorican authors, often performed his poetry (and plays) at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe



(You too could perform your poetry if you like, there are amateur nights! You don’t have to be Nuyorican, Latino, or a Spanish speaker.)


Maruquita: “princess” of Tainos, Puerto Rican, teenager, chosen to lead her people . . . powerful magician, or witch (bruja)

Omaha: in his 30s, still living like a teenager, chosen by Maruquita to give her a “gringorican” baby.


Magical projects: “magic” transportation to the island

Shape shifter: magic: monkey, into people, peacock, birds, human to animal, animal to animal, animal to human, human to human . . .

Puerto Rico: Tainos on the island, indigenous ancestry (exterminated by Spaniards, who brought in slaves from Africa afterward to fill the space for labor left open by murdering all the Tainos)

Puerto Rican/Nuyorican


Critique on Magical Realism as an Latino/Latin American mode of storytelling/narration; political critiques on the Puerto Rican situation to the dominant U.S. influence


LES: Lower East Side “Losiada”


Latin America: from S. America, C. America, Caribe, Mexico, sometimes inclusive of U.S.A., but usually, those born in the U.S.A. are referred to as . . .


Latino/a: from the USA


Some Nuyorican Poets/Poems

Pedro Pietri, “Puerto Rican Obituary” (from


Willie Pedromo “Nigger-Reecan Blues” (Def Jam Poetry)


Miguel Pinero “Lower East Side”


and “Seeking the Cause”


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Class Notes, 28 Nov. 2011

November 28th, 2011 · Uncategorized

End of Atomik Aztex

–two realities merging more: confusing which reality was which

–pg. 203: “the monkey”: playful animal, troublesome

–Max goes missing: does he split or is he murdered?

–“options”: belief: interpretation, choices between making meaning

–“the author”: has intended meaning but TIME passes, intended meaning is for an intended audience . . .

–“the reader”: have options, choices among interpretations: activity between the reader and the text

–parts easy to understand, but sometimes he threw me off: had no idea what was going on . . . switching between scenes

–some people like to be confused: could open avenues for lots of analysis . . . meaning is not easy to pin down . . . meaning is difficult “to nail”

–when meaning is easy to pinpoint, you have to work less as a reader or interpreter, or you can use less of your “options”

–This is why Foster gives his warning at the beginning: this will NOT be traditional

–the language: sometimes graphic, the meat scenes: vivid imagery: lists: language becomes part of the novel’s content and not just its form

–Foster’s attention to language: quoting lyrics of songs, titles of books, rhyming words, advertisements, politics, verse, Conrad (high Lit), Aztec mythology, meat packing lingo, WWII/Vietnam war stories, Spanish conquest of Americas: a hodgepodge of styles packed together, smashed together

Ch.5: referencing of these “styles”: abrupt changes in tone;



Internal vs. External focalization: external knowledge and internal viewpoints: characters relations among one another and their relations to “external” events and knowledge in the narrative.




(sorry for the link!)



The short story as literary form/genre (TIME) . . . & what about story time?

–pick it up and finish it in a short time (discourse time)

–you can read it again right after (discourse time)

–straight to the point (story time?)

–don’t have much time (discourse time)

–some readers have short attention spans (discourse time)


Nabo & Atomik Aztex


–multiple worlds, sets of time

–Nabo takes place in theU.S.A.?: slavery, family was White, there’s a barn

–“jazz concert”: the musician in the square


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Class Notes, 21 Nov. 2011

November 21st, 2011 · Uncategorized

NO CLASS  11/23/2011:    H  A  P  P  Y    T  H  A  N  K  S  G  I  V  I  N  G

NEXT RESPONSE DUE NEXT CLASS: remember to focus on Latin American Literature or something with history or culture.

For notes on Foster’s method of composing Atomik Aztex and its “plot secrets” check out his blog:


Summary of early chapters of the novel (class discussion)

Ch.1: Aztek world: Z told by his commander he will go toRussia, and Z has visions, and he’s searching for a cure . . . Z working in the meat factory and Z describes the slaughter of the pigs; also introduced to the two shifting realities (Pg. 5 Wurlitzer); mention of ghosts


Ch.2: Z’s encounter with the prostitutes; introduction to Aztek time; captives and slaves in the Aztek reality (Aztek slave market/trade—globalization); two portrayals of Z’s wife Xiuh X is “sh”, Xiuh at the meat packing plant, marriage falling apart, his kids in this reality he doesn’t seem to have a relationship / Xiuh the Aztek reality, she takes care of him, she has more power, and also gives him political advice; they have sex . . . or she’s still married to him.


Ch.3: Z going to work with 3Turkey, Z has a bad feeling, maybe he would get fired; Max (Z’s foreman at the Farmer John); Nita (union representative), N wants the workers to unionize; she wants Z’s help . . . Z has fantasies about her . . . switch to Aztek visions: Z spitting random visions from “the other world” on to Russia to fight the Nazis; the jazz scene, mention of the “jaguar spirit” (all the human characters connected to animal spirits) “Nahua” or animal guardian angel—MAGIC, see pg. 64


Ch.4: Z meets with Nita, discusses the future union organizing; man burning in the street . . . Z tries to explain the realities (Dante’s Inferno), “In one world . . .” ; Z is the constant between realities, but he changes within realities too; sarcasm in the explanation of the different realities (political critique of this reality we live in the USA 2000s);

Pg. 64: “the Aztex are just better”; Aztek nahuales, European angels: satire of Aztek ethnocentrism, critique on USA’s global dominance and ethnocentrism.


OED defintion for “Nahual” or “Nagual” (alternate spelling):

nagual, n.

Pronunciation:  Brit. /nəˈgwɑːl/ , U.S. /nəˈgwɑl/
Inflections:  Plural nagualsnaguales Brit. /nəˈgwɑːleɪz/ , U.S. /nəˈgwɑˌleɪz/ nahuales Brit. /nəˈ(h)wɑːleɪz/ , U.S. /nəˈ(h)wɑˌleɪz/ .
Forms:  18– nagual, 19– nahual Brit. /nəˈ(h)wɑːl/ , U.S. /nəˈ(h)wɑl/ , 19– nawal (rare). Also with capital initial.
Etymology:  < Mexican Spanish nagual , nahual sorceror, companion < Nahuatl nahualli guardian spirit residing in an animal.

  Among certain indigenous peoples of Mexico and surrounding countries: a guardian spirit in animal form, believed to accompany and guide an individual through life; an animal form believed to be assumed by a human through magical or supernatural means.

1822    P. F. Cabrera tr. N. de la Vega in Teatro Critico Americano 123   They persuade the children, by their infernal cunning, that this Nagual is an angel, sent by God to watch over their fortunes.
1877    Catholic World Apr. 6/2   All those who have studied at all the pueblos of New Mexico describe to some extent the nagual rites, some of which are indeed hidden under the veil of secrecy in their estufas, but others are more open and avowed.
1902    Rep. Brit. Assoc. Advancem. Sci. 741   The guardian spirit was obtained in various ways by different American tribes, but the dream apparition was the most widely spread.‥ It is termed by the Algonkin manitu, by the Huron okki, by the Salish Indians sulia, and nagual in Mexico.
1939    Sci. Monthly 49 63/2   A man became a nahual without realizing for some time.
1974    Encycl. Brit. Micropædia VII. 165/3   Among many modern Meso-American Indians, it is believed that the first creature to cross over the ashes spread before a newborn baby becomes that child’s nagual.
1993    R. Rucker et al. Mondo 2000 213/2   Most compelling was the morph from Michael Jackson into his panther nagual.


Foster reading poetry from his book World Ball Notebook (http://www.amazon.com/World-Ball-Notebook-Sesshu-Foster/dp/0872864677/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321886174&sr=1-3)



Based on this Mayan (and greater Mesoamerican) ballgame:


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Class Notes, 16 Nov. 2011

November 16th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Answering class questions, continued . . .

Q. How did “the Japanese bloodline” (pg. 88) tie into the larger story?

–Foster’s cultural background . . .


Q. Why does Zenzo talk about his kids? How do they come to play in the story?

–pg. 8: “Try to tell my kids that. . . . ”


Q. If Zenzo is against American culture, then why does he participate?

–Sometimes he feels like he doesn’t like his own people


Q. What drugs are Zenzo doing?

Pg. 10 “Kranial Boring to release Xtra spirits from inside my head”


Q. When were both of the narratives set?


Q. Why are the names the same in the two different lines of narration?


Q. Who’s the real Zenzo? The soldier or the guy in the meat factory?


Q. What’s the purpose of depicting the two realities? Which is more real?


Q. What is the significance of how cultural diffusion is portrayed in the narratives?


Q. What’s the deal with Zenzo’s wife in both narratives?

–Xiuh: pg. 31: working in the garden


Q. What’s with the prostitutes?


Q. What’s the meaning of the name 3Turkey

–Pg. 43: English literal translation of Nahua (Aztec language) name


Q. What’s up with the spelling? (as in “x” in Aztex)

–standard and non-standard spellings: based on whose standard?


Q. What’s the Aztex theory of time?

–Circular: multiverse. Partly relates to human sacrifice.


Q. What purpose does the italics serve in the narrative?

–Pg. 24: Someone staring at Zenzo from the corner of his eye


Q. Why does he describe the killing of the hogs so in depth?

–And the relations to the war scenes and the human sacrifice scenes: the theme of violence in the narrative


Q. How can we tell when one storyline shifts to another?

–Sometimes obvious (see switch to italics) other times not easily perceivable. Sometimes the “shifts” are intentionally blurred




Pg. 54: italics: explaining how Zenzo gets to work: then to whiteness (steam, fog, smoke);


Chapter 5 (pg. 74): long, run-on sentences: what he narrates, depth into bloodiness of animal parts; throws in lots of lists of various items . . .


Pg. 60: music track in prose, and references to other books: notice it’s in italics: focalization: vision, who speaks here? Musical lyrics are poetry: adding melody makes music;


Literature: Balance between structures and forms (genres throughout history):

creative agency


The ways things represented, there are boundaries, but they can be fluid

Standards and structures:


Aesthetics and jazz: creative and unstructured, but there are standards,






Q. If Zenzo is against American culture, then why does he participate?

–Sometimes he feels like he doesn’t like his own people,


–unionized labor,


Andrea’s presentation: Don Quixote

“closure, the type of conclusion that ends a text. Formally, narratives often conclude with an epilogue or a scene (usually, a final dialogue). In traditional, plot-oriented texts, the main conflict is usually resolved by marriage, death, or some other aesthetically or morally satisfactory outcome producing a state of equilibrium” (Jahn N4.9).

Abrupt endings: sudden death: not moral? Aesthetically pleasing?

Can any narrative attain equilibrium?

Satisfaction: when the reader gradually comes to leave the text; relative to each reader or a common standard for all readers?

Twilight series: when books become popular, lots of ideas coming from everywhere; goes mainstream. Still literary? Question of your “taste” or morality for what to include and exclude from the Literary Canon.

Ideas: film adaptations; genre fiction “romance” “horror”

Books that end with “to be continued”


Aparna’s presentation: Atomik Aztex

The difference between one or two people: at the beginning, the visions happen to Zenzo the Aztek;

Authors give their characters speech patterns, use certain words, sentence patterns: alternate between standard and nonstandard Englishes

Dialogue in the thoughts or narration: Interior monologues (peppered with Spanish and Nahuatl)

According to Jahn, “mind style is the “textual evocation especially by typical diction, rhetoric, and syntax, of a narrator’s or a character’s mindset and typical patterns of thinking” (N 8.12).

Response: how thought gets represented in literature. Not linear, not always plot-driven.


speaking with the vernacular: nonstandard accent

for example: Aztex speak in “jargon”: “tekno” Aztek “scientifik” voice


Alternates between dialogue and narration: between “show” and “tell”


Stream of consciousness:

Vanesssa woke up and decided to have a bagel. Yes, with cream cheese. Cream cheese, mmmmm, that sounds just about right, tell you what. She walked down the hall. Could put some jelly on that too. Jelly. Blackberry. No, strawberry. Yes, strawberry, much better. The clock struck eight times. Almost time to go to school.


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Class Notes, 14 Nov. 2011

November 14th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Atomik Aztex

Sesshu Foster’s blog: http://atomikaztex.wordpress.com/

One form of human sacrifice (Mel Gibson’s take or Orientalizing the indigenous “other”)


Another form (Spanish account of the destruction of the Indies, historical “othering” in practice):


Notice the baby bashed against a rock. From http://www.amazon.com/Short-Account-Destruction-Indies/dp/1451515170/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321282497&sr=1-1


Class questions


Q. How did “the Japanese bloodline” (pg. 88) tie into the larger story?

–Foster’s cultural background . . .

Q. Why does Zenzo talk about his kids? How do they come to play in the story?

Q. If Zenzo is against American culture, then why does he participate?

–Sometimes he feels like he doesn’t like his own people

Q. What drugs are Zenzo doing?

Q. When were both of the narratives set?

Q. Why are the names the same in the two different lines of narration?

Q. Who’s the real Zenzo? The soldier or the guy in the meat factory?

Q. What’s the purpose of depicting the two realities? Which is more real?

Q. What is the significance of how cultural diffusion is portrayed in the narratives?

Q. What’s the deal with Zenzo’s wife in both narratives?

Q. What’s with the prostitutes?

Q. What’s the meaning of the name 3Turkey

Q. What’s up with the spelling? (as in “x” in Aztex)

Q. What’s the Aztex theory of time?Q. What purpose does the italics serve in the narrative?

Q. Why does he describe the killing of the hogs so in depth?

Q. How can we tell when one storyline shifts to another?



Potential Jahn approaches (deals mostly with form)

–use focalization: because the Aztek Zenzo has visions of Zenzo in the factory: does POV of change? Objectivity? Or completely subjective? Could be multiple focalization: character in different situations; at one point the POV changes, when Amoxhuah speaks for example . . . vision

–syntax shifts, Aztec-mode of narration

–static characters: some characters have no background, they have no detail, they could have meaning, or they could stand some “development”/ dynamic characters

–surrealism and naturalism: surreal (sci-fi); naturalism: . . . .

–analepsis: italics and switches

–reliable narrator

–narrative time: distortion;


Potential heuristic approaches (narratology + )

–Marxism: labor, exploitation, relations of economic, cultural, historical domination;

–Psychoanalysis: divided personality; schizo



–Queer theory



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Class Notes, 7 Nov. 2011

November 7th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Free-write: why did you like/dislike Cobra?

Responses from class

Jennifer: still taking it in: difficult at times, so much going on; which character to focus on; spirituality things going on: reincarnation, higher spirituality: Hinduism, Buddhism

Daria: don’t like it: mathematical terms (pg. 27); lost in all the characters; too graphic at times, for example the end of part 1 the sex change;

Christopher: poetic language: there were parts of intense imagery; inconsistent, that he didn’t write that way the entire time: pg. 22: “drug scene” intense visuals

Andrea: hard to follow because there was a lot going on; a lot of characters, and names of characters were animals  . . . .; have to re-read passages: feel like I’m reading it then I ask, “what just happened?”: “readers believe they’re processing information, but when they stop at a sentence to remember what they just processed, they forget”

John: if you’re reading something difficult, you have to re-read two or three times to understand what the author’s trying to say: Don Quixote for example: characters are aware characters means I have to train myself to accept that: more complexity means you have to read further

Romina: artistic references, wooden statues; lots of visuals, relies on visuals for the narrative; difficult because the pronouns would shift; “who was looking at whom” was all over the place;

Anthony: reminded me People of Paper; how not just narrative: composed of quotes, math problems, poems (pg. 20): bricolage

Short list of “difficult” novels and styles of writing:

The Grapes of Wrath: moves away from the plot; written in non-standard English accents

Oscar Wao: styles, techniques, footnotes; history

Pale Fire

Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton (archaic English)

Joseph Andrews

Angels and Demons

Bleak House

Journal articles, literary criticism

The Divine Comedy

Things Fall Apart

Jane Austen stuff

David Foster Wallace


Cobra as a difficult text:

Pg. 5: “Be Brechtian”: Bertolt Brecht (A-effect, alienation-effect);

De-familiarization: ordinary language transformed into poetic language

Defamiliarize the familiar: make the everyday unique, desensitize our habits

E.G.: “Mack the Knife”:


COBRA Cast of characters

Members of the Lyrical Theater of Dolls

Cobra                                                                          Pup


Cadillac (Za za)



Mei Lan Fang (impersonator)                                        Pup



Eustachio (Indian, body painter)

Dr. Ktazob (performs Cobra’s sex change)

(the bikers)






“Lyrical Theater of Dolls”


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Class Notes, 2 Nov. 2011

November 2nd, 2011 · Uncategorized

Structuring Academic Essays

Intro section: introduction to the topic at hand, and briefly also the terms, and, most importantly, what your aim/argument/interpretation is:

Your interpretive lens will be . . .

4 paragraphs


Theory section: you bring in your theoretical model, including the terms you’ll be using to apply to the texts under analysis:

6 paragraphs


time applied to book 1

5 paragraphs


POV applied to book 1

4 paragraphs



4 paragraphs


 Politics                          Technology                       Arts

Don Quixote 1605/1615

Spain/Europe                            monarchy, pirates               printing press                  Shakes

Empire: colonialism             maritime                         linear

Religious wars                     guns                           perspective

Expulsions                           steel                             the epic

Immigrations                       maps                            the novel

Rise of nation states                                           Las Meninas

The emergence                                                    boroque

Of the world market

Garcia Marquez 1920-1970

Colombia/South America                                                                                  typewriter


Cobra 1972




The People of Paper 2005

Mexico/USA/North America                                                                            computers



Example of typewriter affecting shape of literature: typewriter

lonliness      l












in    g

 Mandeep’s Blog Post

A technique of presenting an episode repeatedly, each time seen through the eyes of a different (internal) focalizer. Typically, what is demonstrated by this technique is that different people tend to perceive or interpret the same event in radically different fashion. Texts that are told by more than one narrator that create multiple focalization based on external focalizer. (N3.2.4)


–don’t get bias POV: different approaches from different characters’ POVs

–different take on one event each time

–see inside the character’s mentality: their emotions/moods

–takes apart a scene and can reproduce from different angles

–reader becomes judge: the reader can add their own biases

–readers know the characters’ secrets that other characters in the story may not know

–the knowledge that readers have of a narrative compared to the characters in their own story


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