“The Perforated Sheet,” by Salman Rushdie
“Girl,” by Jamaica Kincaid
“Wedding at the Cross,” by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
The Read Book One of “Omeros,” by Derek Walcott
- Ambition Corrupts
Break classroom into four groups. Each group must choose one of the four reading selections. They must, as a group, identify the part or part of their chosen / assigned reading which best illustrates blurred national lines. Helpful Hint – allow students to use their notes from this in-class group assignment to guide their written homework assignment.
Students will postpone the discussion portion until after they’ve completed the homework assignment, so they can share what they’ve written.
Instruct students to complete a 250-500 word short essay selecting one example of blurred national borders from the readings and how it relates to a current piece of news.
Short Summary From the Week
Factors such as race, gender, social class, generation, and religion shape our beliefs and work to fashion us as unique individuals. And while these factors are all important, individual experience and personal perception may even have a greater influence on our development.
Each person is a unique creature which has been formed by a particular set of circumstances. For example, participating in the Nazi work camp – worker selection process may have felt like a curse to some and a blessing to other Poland Natives. An example from our readings this year is Borowski’s character – who had become maddened by the daily horror he witnessed in concentration camps as he was captured and forced to participate in the execution/worker selection process.
Literature casts a global net simply because it comes from the heart and mind of mankind.
I believe the Bible says something like: there’s nothing new under the sun. Well, there are TECHNICALLY tons of new things under the sun, but I understand the meaning. Although each person is shaped by various factors, certain experiences, thoughts, and feelings seem to be common to most people. For example, in Rushdie’s The Perforated Sheet, the main character feels as if “time is running out” and his grandfather lost his faith over a small event that was seemingly superstitious.
Bloodying his nose as he bowed to pray, he resolved to never “kiss earth for any god or man.”.
This particular example rings true with me as I often joke about the things people attribute to “God”. They didn’t get the job, so it must not have been God’s will. Never did they stop to think that perhaps they weren’t the best candidate for the position. I believe we can find a “Global” context for just about any piece of literature.
Whether written in Carthage, North Carolina or Zimbabwe. Every person eats, sleep, cries, feels emotions and processes these experiences into a set of beliefs – literature is merely an outpouring of these life components.
Blurred National Boundries?
Some obvious examples of blurred national boundaries can be found in this week’s literature.
For example, in “Girl”, and “The Perforated Sheet” where we gain insight into the girls inner voice and insecurities, as well as Rushdie’s character who is afraid of “running out of time”, in life.
Each piece from this week’s reading selections are chock full of “blurred national boundaries”, shall we play the devil and advocate for “Omeros” to win this one. Sure, a solid argument can be made for each piece, but I believe Omeros’ uses metaphor and perhaps magical realism to illustrate the depravity of mankind using ambition and greed as a medium.
Whether the world was created by God, or whether we’ve evolved, or a combination of both – from the beginning of mankind, we’ve pushed forward for a better tomorrow.
Mankind is ambitious, and we always want more and better things.
Throughout history, this ambition has spurned evil and caused pain and death. For example, “the necessary evil of slavery, in the catalog of Georgia’s marble past, the Jeffersonian ideal in plantations”, alludes to the evil practice of slavery to illustrate the point. Consider child labor, slavery, companies who sell adulterated honey, passing off rice sugar as pure honey to unknowing consumers.
The evil as a result of man’s ambition is blind to color, gender, sexuality, age, religion, and even culture. Despite one’s place of origin or residence, we’re all susceptible to the evil that comes from the love of money.