English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures

Queens College, City University of New York

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Class Notes, 16 Nov. 2011

November 16th, 2011 · No Comments · 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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