Canadian Literature and Film 2003 S Final Exam Outline—Major Themes A. Nation and Global Culture B. Life: its Stages and Survival Survival and its Representation Women After trauma a sense of community Minorities: 1. The Caribbean; 2. The Japanese; C. Race and Gender, Body and Language A. Nation & Global Culture How is Canada presented in two of the following texts? (By drawing boundaries or showing the lack of them? By defining certain Canadian character? Presenting an allegory of its relations with the U.S. in terms of gender relations? Or by showing the various people in it?) Denys Arcand's The Decline of the American Empire (1986); M. Atwood "Tricks with Mirror"; Earle Birney's "Can. Lit."; Ray Smith's "Cape Breton is the Thought Control Centre of Canada." A. Nation & Global Culture 2. How do the following two films present and comment on global cultures (supermodel + media, advertisement and Disney)? What roles do Canadian artists play in the films? Denys Arcand's Stardom (2000); Jill Sharpe's Culture Jam Global Culture Perspectives of media culture, not really perspectives of the world. It controls us. e.g. Disney, Means of spreading global culture; e.g. TV. Products of media– Tina Menzel; Minority’s stances: controlled, we have the spaces “within” to resist. Nothing outside of media – e.g. We’re always within the TV frames; BLF has to clean up what they produce. Global Culture 1. 2. 3. The role of Canadian artists: Tina– assimilated and absorbed by the American (not French) global culture. In Culture Jam, small but subversive actions. In Stardom, the director played by Robert Lepage– following Tina 24/7, he believes that nothing exists outside of media. Through the camera, he still shows his concern for Tina. 3. B. Life: its Stages and Survival 4. Stages in Life -- The following texts, in one way or another, deal with different stages of human life (beginnings, initiation, endings) on a realistic level as well as symbolically. Choose two to discuss how they present one stage of life realistically as well as symbolically. (Pay close attention to the techniques--e.g. narrative perspectives, camera angles, etc.--they use too.) Cynthia Scott's The Company of Strangers, Don McKellar's Last Night; Alice Munro's "The Found Boat" Jeremy Podeswa The Five Senses Stages of Life Natural process with different social rituals and different ways of communication; The Five Senses: and their dysfunction Rachel – eyes; Middle-Aged: The doctor (ears) there are other languages; The message therapy (touch); the homosexual cleaner (smell) The cook (taste); Stages of Life Old people in The Company of Strangers Experience physical and mental aging; A lot of stories to tell. Why a new beginning? Stages of Life Last Night Old people review life; The young decide to have funs; not afraid of death; Sandra –chooses her way of death; A new beginning? B. Life: its Stages and Survival 3. Survival --For Margaret Atwood, survival of the victims is one theme typical of Canadian literature and culture. How is this theme treated in the following texts? Choose two to compare. (For example: what ordeals or traumas they experience and how/whether they survive them, and how they heal/support themselves or each other.) Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient; Joy Kogawa's Obasan, Jeremy Podeswa's The Five Senses and Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter; Helen Lee's "Prey"; Clement Virgo's Rude; Austin Clarke's"Canadian Experience." 1. Speaker: What about the new shoes, we have ten seconds left, tell us about the new shoes. Woman: I looked down and I remembered thinking, why would he buy new shoes if he was going to kill himself? why would he kill himself if he had on brand new shoes, 2. And you lie there, passive and violated, feeling like someone told you you were going to win an award, and then you didn't get it. Except the award was your dignity, your sanity, your middle class inviolability. It was taken away and given to someone else who never made the mistake of going to a hotel room in a strange place with a strange man. 2 And all you were worried about was how to get out of there with your luggage intact, how to avoid upsetting this man who not only had a black belt in Tai Kwon Do but also had your ticket for the boat out of that nightmare land,and how to get somewhere safe to sleep. God, you wanted to sleep, so bad. . . So, you take a picture of yourself so that you can remember what the Mona Lisa looks like when she realizes Leonardo is just another letch. 2 You go home, and get on your bed, and Ross takes a picture of you. You lie there, small and helpless and black and white. And it looks like this: And you think, wow, pictures don't tell you anything. 4. I wonder if you realize that all of us - Dolores, me, the children who survived, the children who didn't that we're all citizens of a different town now, where waters gushed and fruit trees grew, and everything is strange and new. . . 4. 6. "We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. . . . I believe in such cartography--to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books." 6. 7. 7. " Peter wasn't trying to destroy you. . .Actually you were trying to destroy him." I had a sinking feeling. "Is that true?" I asked. . . ."But the real truth is that it wasn't Peter at all. It was me. I was trying to destroy you." I gave a nervous laugh. "Don't say that." "Okay," he said, "ever eager to please. Maybe Peter was trying to destroy me, or maybe I was trying to destroy him, or we were both trying to destroy each other, how's that? What does it matter. . . you're a consumer." 5. 8. The square woman farther down the slope moves up towards me from under the curly- branched trees. One of her arms is now connected to her shoulder by four hooks locked to make a hinge. It dangles there as she approaches. She begins to speak but the words are so old they cannot be understood. There is a calmness in her face as she recites an ancient mythical contract made between herself and the man so long ago the language has been forgotten. . . . . The dream changes now and Uncle stands in the depth of the forest. He bows a deep ceremonial bow. In his mouth is a red red rose with an endless stem. He turns around slowly in a flower dance--a ritual of the dead. Behind him, someone--I do not know who--is straining to speak, but rapidly, softly, a cloud overtakes everything. Is it the British officer . . . ? C. Race and Gender, Body and Language 5. Body, Race and Gender -- Why does Eisha Marjara refuse to eat in "Desperately Seeking Helen"? And how about Marian in Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman? Compare their reasons and their ways of overcoming their food rejection. C. Race and Gender, Body and Language 6. Language and Racial Identity-- The issues of language concern minority writers/filmmakers a lot; for instance, they or their characters have to struggle between their mother tongue(s) and English, over their lack of either one, as well as through the difficulties in speech, communication and the necessity of silence. Frequently these conflicts influence their sense of identity and their social positions. Choose two of the following texts and discuss the language issues they deal with. Joy Kogawa's Obasan; Helen Lee's "Prey"; Mina Shum's Double Happiness; M. Nourbese Philip's "Discourse on the Logic of Language," "Universal Grammar"; Laiwan's "The Imperialism of Syntax"