Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grass's Hero

While I was reading Grass's Nobel Prize Speech, I noticed he talked about the concept of a "positive hero," one that gives people hope. This "positive hero" figure conquers people in the globalized world, is suave, fit, and admired; his example is James Bond. Instead of crafting a novel centered on this type of hero, Grass writes about Oskar, certainly an atypical hero, if he is one at all. Oskar is certainly not suave nor fit, and I myself can't say I admire him.
Why do you all think that Grass decided to create a character who, rather than provides us with hope, deeply unsettles us?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fizz Powder

Hello class and teachers, this is my post about fizz powder:

I think that this was one of the more excruciating readings of the book. Gunter Grass, fortuantly or unfortunatly (depending on the reader), paints a picture of the fizz power occasion in tremendous detail. I find the "fizz power" incident interesting becuase it helps support the unreliability of the author. When Oskar asks Anna if she recalls their fizz powder encounter she denies and recollection of these events. Maria may be lying out of denial but regardless I find this event bewilderingly interesting.

Free will or Predestination

In the end of One Hundred Years of Solitude, after the last Buendia baby dies, his father, Aureliano, reads manuscripts that tell him the story of the Buendia family. The papers include the prophesy of the baby with a pig's tail and Aureliano's death. He reads each prediction of his life as it occurs. These manuscripts could have been written 100 years ago before hand and therefore explain the fate of each member of the Buendia family. If this were to be true, there would be no free will in Macondo and everything would be predetermined. Another option could be that the story was written alongside the family's life; each moment that occurred was documented. This option would declare free will in the city. Which version do you guys think it is?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oskar's Accountability

I think that Oskar's perspective of reality is completely unreliable. His mental instability, in the context of an unstable society and cultural ambiguity, "stunts" his growth. However, not only does Oskar demonstrate an inability to be reliable or responsible for his actions, but society as a whole shows their psychological disconnection from the atrocities happening in Poland and Germany during the war. I also don't think that Oskar is truly culpable because his insanity overrides mental growth. I know that many of you guys would disagree, though. What do you think? Is Oskar accountable for what happened?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


In both pieces of work, incest appears multiple times. It occurs often in 100 Years of Solitude as well as in the movie The House of the Spirits with Esteban falling in love with both sisters, his sister falling in love with Clara, and Esteban's bastard son making sexual moves on his step-sister Blanca on separate occasions. I am not quite sure why Marquez and Allende would have their characters have incestuous relationships in times that reflect modern points of history. One thought I had for the employment of incest in 100 Years of Solitude is that it is used as another depth to the solitude of the Buendia family. It is a problem in their family possibly because they are too confined to their own family/town of Macondo. In The House of the Spirits Esteban (the bastard son) even tells Blanca they have the same blood running through their veins as he runs his hand along her inner thigh, so I am not quite sure why Allende would include this in the story. What do you guys think?

Monday, August 23, 2010

The House of the Spirits vs. One Hundred Years of Solitude

Now that we haved watched most of The House of the Spirits and read One Hundred Years of Solitude, what similarities have you found? The obvious theme in both is the use of magical realism but there are more similarities. There is the fighting between the Liberal and Conservative parties that hugely impact the book and the movie. The liberals in the movie share some of the same concerns that the Buendia family and the entire city of Macondo had in the book. In both the movie and the book there are conflicts within the families regarding marriage. In the movie, both sisters were in love with one man, just as this appears in the book. These are just a few of the similarities I have found. What else can you think of?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Foucault and Marquez

After discussing the analyses of the role of the author, it made me wonder what a conversation would be like between Foucault and Marquez. Although I acknowledge the authorial reticence in "100 Years" and Marquez's objectivity, I believe that Foucault would argue with Marquez's employment of historical implications. Foucault emphasized the significance of cultural and historical influences on discourse; thus, I think he could have argued with Marquez's metafiction, as well as his subversive texts. What would Foucault have said to Marquez about his work??

Foucault Reactions

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jesus vs. the Witch

I am not sure of how well I managed to interpret Oskar's connection to Jesus, but I think that there may be a dichotomy between Jesus and the Witch. I don't think we can call Oskar "good," but what is good? At the very least, he is "pure," unchanging in his being as he is in his intellect and stature. For example, he resolutely denies loving Jesus, and he becomes a rock worthy of a foundation. Perhaps this purity frees him from the burden of guilt (thus, he does not fear the Witch for the majority of the book, nor does he dive during the trial). He is an ambiguous form of Jesus, fitting for our time. Therefore, I connect Oskar's fear in the Witch at the end with a sacrifice. Is it possible that Oskar's adoption of a fear of the Witch, in the guilt of mankind, makes him a martyr? When he was admitted to an asylum, did Oskar "die" for man's sins? Or perhaps it would be more accurate to connect Oskar's actions with Jesus being made man?

I really have no solution to this line of thought, nor do I know if I am even looking at these motifs in the proper way. I just thought that it may be worth the consideration. What do you all think?

The Witch

In The Tin Drum, Oskar has an obsession with the “Witch.” He first refers to this witch as he mentions a few games that the neighborhood children play, one of which is called “Where’s the Witch, black as pitch?” Later in the novel, Oskar progressively references the witch more and more as his fear of her amplifies. At one point, he mumbles about the witch in conjunction with his dread of Lucy Rennwand. Ultimately, as Oskar flees from the authorities at the end of the piece, he relates to the reader that his fear of the Witch has become incapacitating. He senses that she follows behind him as he climbs the escalator and then faces him. Although Oskar claims that he is unaware of the Witch’s identity, I have been asking myself this question. I believe that the witch represents a force of evil in Oskar’s life and the overwhelming guilt that he has accumulated through the implicit murder of his mother, Jan, and Matzerath. What do you all think the witch represents?