In the Franzen article about Edith Wharton, Franzen asserts sympathy is one of the strongest tools which writers use to make fiction successful, and how Wharton, as an author, unsuccessfully executes the sympathy vote. Franzen claims Wharton was unsuccessful in getting readers to feel sympathetic because, as an author, Wharton was supposedly unattractive, sexually inept, and did not entertain a gaggle of women women companions. According to Franzen, the lack of female companionship for Wharton was detrimental in appealing to the sympathies of readers, and that her physical appearance could potentially eliminate the possibility of sympathy for readers to feel toward her characters, especially the character which Franzen thinks Wharton ‘punished’ for being goodlooking.
Most of the articles regarding Franzen claim his article only perpetuates the hierarchal nature of male dominance in America, and trivializes women literature by claiming literature and fiction is dependent upon physical appearances, same-sex friends, and the nature of their sexual activities by claiming it is ‘natural’ for women who are more wealthy, and physically attractive, to be elevated in society until an author like Wharton knocks them down with capitalistic America (according to Franzen).
“And when some of the friends, the ones who came every day, waylaid the doctor in the corridor….before she could start him on the new drug…” (page 587)
How is the portrayal of the doctor an example of how Sontag plays with readers’ expectations and assumtions?
The doctor, at first, is introduced only by their professional title of ‘doctor’. Then, lines later, the doctor is disclosed to be a woman, which some readers might not have known or might have interpreted differently. Then further throughout the story, it is disclosed that the doctor is an elderly woman with white hair. The descriptions of the doctor are not disclosed immediately, so readers might assume the physical characteristics of the doctor which are inaccurate, according to later text. The author, in this way, shows readers how their immediate perceptions might be incorrect and the incorrect assumptions are what make the narrative compelling.
Susan S. Lanser in “Queering Narratology” (1996) asserts naratology could be complicated and queered by perceptions of sex, gender, and sexuality which readers might attempt to use as contextualizing agencies to understand a narrative. Lanser supports the assertion by explaining the ambiguity of “Written on the Body” in regards to sex, gender, and sexuality, and how through the sex of the narrator is undisclosed, readers through gender assumptions and relationship detail might attempt to rationalize the sex of the narrator, as well as infer the narrator is homosexual. THe purpose of the article is to propose, possibly, how narratives which didn’t rely on the sex of the narrator might broaden the scope of understanding to elimate the binaries of gender, thus creating new forms of contextualizing the narrative.
“He made certain comments about my forehead, about my cheeks…..We started off sitting at one end of the couch and then our feet were squished against the armrest and then he went over to turn off the TV and….” (page 405)
How does Minot arrange the narrative in order to provide readers with an example of postmodern fiction?
Minot in the passage above rearranges the story in order to create plot without a linear time line of beginning, middle, and end, in chronological order in regard to time. The narrator describes one aspect which she remembers about one of her sexual partners, then afterward started to explain the encounter with the sexual partner. The rearrangement of information aligns with postmodern literature because the narrative does not follow a linear time line.
Catherine Burgass in “A brief Story of Postmodern Plot” asserts plot can be influenced by the concept of time, however, postmodern literature subverts the concept that time is a linear structure. Burgass supports the assertion by exemplifying texts which challenge the linear time structure, such as Heidegger’s “Being and Time”. The purpose of the article is to enlighten readers of the literary and intentional break in postmodern fiction of the linear time model and not as something arbitrary.
The topic I would like to discuss in the upcoming paper is flat characters and round characters, and how due to circumstances of the fiction or where the story ends, certain characters either remain flat or have the ability to become round.
Bharati Mukherjee in “The Management of Grief” portrays how different people grieve over those lost, as well as how government instutions attempt to control how people grieve. Mukherjee constructs the portrayal of different ways of grieving by providing information about characters who, due to cultural custom, created new lives immediately, and how some people could not move past the thought of their sons deceasing. Also, the portrayal of a woman from the government attempting to give the couple money asserts the government’s haste in wanting all resitution to be taken care of politically, and any resistance to the restitution is deemed ‘ignorant’. The purpose of the story is to reaffirm the concept of how different people grieve differently, and that those grieving processes, for various reasons, are not the same for everyone, and those who attempt to make all grieving processes uniform are actually those who are ignorant, not the people who resist the management of grieving from outside sources.
AnnLouise Keating in “Interrogating ‘Whiteness’, (De)constructing ‘Race’” (2012), asserts the concept of ‘whiteness’ must be acknowledged and critically analyzed, and that ‘race’ in general is a societal construct determined to create binaries and thus perpetuate racism. Keating supports the assertion by elaborating how ‘white’ is determined the ‘norm’ or standard, and all ‘minority’ groups are deviations from the standard, thus ‘whiteness’ must be critically analyzed in itself in order to establish the concept of how ‘whiteness’ as an identity could be established similarly to any other ethnic group. However, Keating also states the classification of races is an inadequate generalization because most people in America are not one homogenous race, and the separation of race reaffirms stereotypes, as well as creates binaries which perpetuates racism by classifying people and identities as their race, not as humans, as if race confined people to inherently different biological tendencies, which it does not. The purpose of the article is to enlighten readers, critics, and writers of the precarious nature of generalizing people based on race, as well as raising awareness of the need to acknowledge and critically evaluate ‘whiteness’ in order to eliminate the concept of other races of deviations from the norm.
“Troop 909 was doomed from the first day of camp; they were white girls, their complexions a blend of ice cream: strawberry, vanilla. They turtled out from their bus in pairs, their rolled-up sleeping bags chromatized with Disney characters…” (page 503)
How does the portrayal of the Troop 909 girls provide an example of the young children’s unearned advantage in life?
The girls of Troop 909, who were Caucasian, experienced unearned advantages in life by having the luxury of owning sleeping bags, especially sleeping bags with commercialized icons like Mickey Mouse and Sleeping Beauty. Though the girls might not have noticed their advantage, society would also have not encouraged them to acknowledge their advantage in society, even though they were not as mentally advantaged as other people in the world. The iconic sleeping bags portray white citizens who are provided with materials of luxury, and in the story, readers are not given insight as to whether or not the white girls attempt to lessen their advantage to compensate for the disadvantage of the girls of other races.
Peggy McIntosh in “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (1988) claims racism caused by white supremacy in the United States is prevalent due to the lack of acknowledgement of racist tendencies throughout society by white citizens. McIntosh supports her claim by composing a detailed list of the advantages she daily encounters as a white citizen in America, and at the end of the list, explains conferred dominance and unearned advanatages are prevalent in the lives of white citizens, and the country wishes to keep those citizens ignorant to the luxuries they have due to their race. The purpose of the article is to make citizens, specifically white citizens, aware of the benefits they recieve because of their race, and how this racism can only cease to exist if acknowledgement of the problem is made and people try to make the race benefits for only one group end.
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