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Novels

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Sydney Foote

on 18 January 2013

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Transcript of Novels

Passing Novels Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain by Nella Larsen The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West Opening Skinner's Box by Lauren Slater The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Setting Characters Plot Making Fathers Proud Overwhelming Guilt In this book Lauren Slater investigates many controversial psychological experiments. Each chapter covers a different experiment narrated in the form of a short story. Slater covers the original experiment, then does her own investigations and interviews. Lauren Slater brings to light much of the good and bad about these experiments, giving a different view on each. Harry Harlow's
Monkey Love Quieting the Mind:
the Santo Family Obscura! Obscura!
and Stanley Milgram Setting Characters Plot Infatuation Issues Materialism Setting Characters Plot Security Your Own Identity Setting Characters Plot Nothing Can Be Easy Society vs Slavery Setting Characters Plot Hmmm... Sutpen's Hundred and the Civil War Amir Hassan Baba Ali Sohrab This book opens in Afghanistan during the 1970s and early 80s before the country was taken by war. As the war starts, though, Amir and Baba travel to California where they stay for decades. After Baba's death Amir is prompted to return to war-ruined Afghanistan and then, again, back to California. An Afghan Childhood An American Adulthood War-Torn Afghanistan America and a Silent Child The narrator of the story. He grows up with his wealthy Afghan father after his mother died during childbirth. Throughout his childhood Amir tried and failed to be everything his father wanted him to. His father was finally proud of Amir when he won the kite flying competition. Directly following this, though, he witnessed the rape of his best friend, Hassan, and did nothing. This guilt would follow him out of Afghanistan and to America until he finally got the chance to redeem himself by rescuing and adopting Hassan's orphaned child, Sohrab. Amir's best friend and servant. He is a Hazara, which makes him an inferior in Afghanistan. Hassan is selfless and always pushing to please Amir, even after Amir allows him to be raped. Hassan is the illegitimate child of Amir's father, but believes that Ali is his true dad. Amir and Hassan's father. He is wealthy and well-respected, always doing what is right. However, his embarrassment over having a child with a Hazara woman causes him to disown Hassan as his own child. Due to his guilt over this, he tends to favor Hassan over Amir, often making Amir uncontrollably jealous. Acts as Hassan's father. He is also a Hazara and Baba's servant. His face is partially paralyzed and he walks with a limp due to his polio, causing many of the neighborhood children to tease him. He is poor, but very sweet and loving, though, like Baba, he does not show his emotions often. The son of Hassan, he is extremely shy and quiet. After being orphaned he lands in a Afghan orphanage and is then taken away and used as a servant and sex slave to a soldier, the same man that had raped his father. Amir travels back to Afghanistan to take Sohrab and, after a chain of problems, is able to adopt him and take him back to California. Once in the US, though, Sohrab becomes silent, refusing to talk to anybody. The book opens in a picturesque Afghanistan; Hassan and Amir prepare for the kite flying competition. Once Amir wins, Hassan goes running to find the second place kite. He is then cornered into an ally and raped. Amir goes looking for Hassan and finds him, but chooses to run away instead of standing up for Hassan, something that he has done for Amir countless times. After this, their friendship is never the same and, eventually, Hassan and Ali leave Baba's house, much to Baba's distress. Afghanistan is then taken by war and Baba and Amir escape to the US. Amir and Baba make a much less luxurious living in California, though they get by. Amir meets and marries an Afghan girl, Soraya. Shortly after, Baba dies, devastating Amir. The couple try to have children, but cannot, devastating Soraya. Their lives continue in California, though, until Amir gets a call from an old friend from Afghanistan telling Amir that he is dying and needs Amir to go overseas immediately. Amir obliges, leaving Soraya in California. Amir finds his friend again and is told that Hassan and his wife have been shot by the Taliban and that their son was orphaned. Amir is also told that Baba was Hassan's true father. After some convincing, Amir travels into Afghanistan to rescue Hassan's son, Sohrab. He finds that Sohrab has been taken into custody of the same man that raped Hassan who was now a soldier for the Taliban. However, Amir was successful in getting the child, granted, after a bloody confrontation that almost ended his life. Adopting an Afghan child was nearly impossible at the time, though, and it took a while for Amir to figure out how to get Sohrab back to the US. Luckily, Soraya had connections and after a long battle Amir returned to California with Sohrab. Sohrab was safely in America, but he was a difficult
child to deal with. Any trust he had had with Amir had been broken when Amir thought he was going to have to put Sohrab back into an orphanage back in the Middle East. The child did not talk and did not bond with either of his new parents for over a year. Finally, though, Amir connected with Sohrab as they both flew a kite in a park in California. In this book, I can relate to Amir's need to make his father proud. My dad was the popular, athletic, jock in high school. To me, it has always seemed that he wanted to have a son that could follow in his footsteps, however, he was left with two, uncoordinated girls. I do not believe that my sister and I have disappointed him in any way, we've always been hard workers, but, as far as sports go, we've never really gone above and beyond until I started shooting trap. It was truly a man's sport but even as a small, young girl, I succeeded more than I could ever imagine. Finally, after a couple years of shooting and a lot of success, I felt as if I had made my father proud, in the same way Amir felt when he won the kite flying competition. This novel's main theme is centered around Amir's guilt. He begins his life with guilt over his mother dying in child birth. Because of this Amir felt indebted to his father and thought the only way of redeeming himself was to win the kite flying competition. Right after he did this, though, Hassan was raped and Amir did not stand up for him, even though he had always stood up for Amir. So, Amir had redeemed himself with his father, but created a much worse situation. Amir lived with this guilt until, finally, decades later, he got the chance to redeem himself by traveling into war-torn Afghanistan and rescuing Hassan's orphaned child, Sohrab. Eventually, after a lot of blood and obstacles, Amir got Sohrab safely back to America. Amir had finally stood up for what is right and, in doing so, redeemed himself fully. The Story Slater's Experience Audrey Santo had almost drown when she was four, leaving her brain dead and stuck on life support. However, her mother chose to keep her alive and surrounded her with figurines of holy people. These figurines began bleeding and oozing oil. It was soon found that the oil had healing principles; it could heal cuts and scrapes on contact.This oil was tested, though it was unlike any oil ever found before. Audrey's mother was very involved in the church and many of the people of her parish began coming to the Santo house to see Audrey. They found that if they asked Audrey to heal them, no matter what kind of disease or sickness they had, she would. There numerous occasions that, after someone left, healed, Audrey had the disease. She would bleed and scream and yell, yet she still healed. Lauren Slater went to the Santo household. She was not permitted to see Audrey, but she did talk to her mother. All of the miraculous events, according to her mother, had really happened. Slater did not seem to fully believe until she touched one of the oozing figurines, getting oil on her finger. She rubbed this on a small cut she had on her leg; amazingly, it immediately healed. This does not absolutely confirm the Santo story, but it is absolutely mind-blowing and incredible. The Shock Experiments What Would I Do? Stanley Milgram did an obedience experiment using two actors and an oblivious volunteer. One actor was dressed as a doctor, the other as another volunteer. The volunteer actor was put into an electric chair while the doctor actor took the actual volunteer to a room with a generator complete with switches for different voltages of shock. The doctor actor then instructed the volunteer to ask the man in the electric chair a series of questions, shocking him with more voltage every time he got a question wrong. The doctor constantly told the volunteers to continue, even though the actor in the electric chair was screaming in agony. In this experiment, 65% of people were obedient until they thought they had killed the man. I was disgusted when first reading about this experiment. It was awful that the majority of these people just did not stop. Then I realized that, if it was me, I would not have either. I am always obedient to authority and I'm sure I would have been in this situation. Stanley Milgram found useful information with this experiment, but I cannot imagine the emotional toll many of the volunteers had after they participated. Personally, I can imagine I would be in an awful mental state for a long while. After all, I would have just been convinced that, because I was so obedient, I killed a man. Tod Hackett Homer Simpson Faye Greener Harlow's Monkeys The Definition of Love Harry Harlow went in search for the definition of love using infant rhesus macaque monkeys. He tore the babies away from their mothers and put them in a cage with two new moms: a food-filled harsh, metal surrogate and a dry, but soft terry cloth one. Harlow found that the infants chose to cling to the cozier terry cloth option. He thought he had found the one variable that was needed for love: touch. Unfortunately, these monkeys grew into unhealthy, paranoid adults. So, Harlow went back to the lab. He created a surrogate mother that could rock to raise more infants; these monkeys were more normal, but still not completely stable. Finally, a half-hour of play with a real, live monkey was added to the experiment; this produced a normal adult. Out of all of this Harlow finally concluded that there were three variables to love: touch, motion, and play. Through his experiments Harry Harlow found that touch, motion, and play were the three main variables needed in love. However, he did not apply these to his own life. He went through multiple wives and many affairs. Harlow had children, but tended to choose the lab over them. He grew up with a distant mother and unconsciously raised his children in the same sort of way. He spent his whole life trying to define love; however, he never took the time to apply it to his own life. A set and costume designer and painter that recently moved to Hollywood from Yale, Tod Hackett is somewhat disgusted by the people of Hollywood and tends to spend most of his time with the "outsiders" of the town. Immediately after moving he became infatuated with Faye Greener, who lived in the same apartment complex. Nonetheless, Tod sees himself as superior to the people of Hollywood and finds their materialism distasteful. However, just as all of the other Hollywood goers Tod becomes caught up in the materialistic life. Like Tod, he has recently moved to Hollywood. Homer previously was a bookkeeper at a hotel in Iowa. Although, he is fairly empty, living a uneventful, repetitive life. His huge hands constantly fidget due to his sexual frustration and pent up anger. Homer Simpson also unconsciously falls for Faye Greener. Faye is a seventeen-year-old aspiring actress. Her father was a comedian, so she grew up around acting. However, neither of them are very good; luckily, Faye Greener's beauty entices her audience. She constantly flirts, making many men misunderstand and think she actually likes them, but all of it is simply her acting. This novel takes place during the early 20th century. It centers around Los Angeles and Hollywood with a few instances when the characters travel into the surrounding hills. Hollywood This book begins three months after Tod Hackett, a designer, has moved to Hollywood from Yale. He has made friends, but enjoys criticizing the people he is surrounded by. Tod is most interested in the lower middle-class, though. It is made up of Midwestern immigrants; Tod has labeled them the ones who "have come to California to die". Tod decides to paint them in an apocalyptic scene called "The Burning of Los Angeles"; he spends much of the book deciding just who to put in this painting and how to portrait them. Courting Faye Greener Tod chose to move into the apartment complex he did in Hollywood because he saw that Faye Greener lived in the apartment below him with her father. Tod tried to attract her, but was blatantly denied. Then Faye's father fell ill while trying to sell homemade silver polish to Homer Simpson, who would then become one of Tod's friends, mainly due to Tod's curiosity. After this, Tod spent every evening with Faye's father hoping to gain her Faye's affection. However, after her father died, she moved in with Homer as a "business" arrangement, and an episode in the woods with a few other men who were also courting Faye, including Homer, Tod vowed to stay away from her and Homer. Eventually, Homer convinces Tod to come to his house with Faye and a few other men for a cockfight. Afterward, though, a violent fight erupts mainly due to Faye's constant, empty flirting with everyone. Though Tod and Homer stay out of it, it results in Faye moving out of Homer's house, crushing him. The next day, Tod tries and fails to comfort him. He leaves Homer alone for a few hours and goes downtown where he gets caught up in a crowd of people waiting for a few movie stars to arrive at a theatre. Tod then sees Homer downtown, with two suitcases, but he is swallowed up by the violent, sexual crowd, also the fate for Tod. After being pulled and pushed around in the crowd for a while, Tod is rescued by a policeman. The book ends with Tod in the back of a police car, trying to tell the difference between his own screams and the police siren. Fights and Sirens To me, this book showed just how materialistic people can be and the consequences it has. Even though Tod was not when he moved to Hollywood, he was so influenced by all of the materialistic people around him that he could not tell the difference between himself and a police siren. Faye Greener was convinced that nice clothes and a nice car would get her an acting job and Homer Simpson completely supported this. Material items are not everything; however, the people in this novel did not understand that. In this book, Tod Hackett clearly has infatuation issues. He obsesses over Faye Greener, even though he doesn't actually know her. He criticizes all of the people in Hollywood that obsess over movie starts they don't know, yet he essentially does the same thing with Faye. Personally, I have infatuation issues with just about everything. Like Tod, I obsess over certain people, though they are famous: every member of Avenged Sevenfold, Ronnie Radke, Rafael Nadal. Although, my problems do not only include people. I am overly interested in many different things, such as tennis, elephants, and knitting. In my view, if I am going to like something, I am going to REALLY like it. Sometimes, I would like to calm this down but, in reality, I know it is just an aspect of my personality that I will have to live with. Irene Redfield Clare Kendry This novel takes place during the early twentieth century. It centers around the racist, white communities and the welcoming, black communities in both Chicago and New York City. To me, this novel centers around finding one's identity. Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry both have the choice to be accepted into the white community by lying, or being accepted into the black community by being themselves. Irene decides to stay herself, only passing occasionally while Clare stays in the white community most of the time, even lying to her husband about her ethnicity. In the end, Clare dies, to me signifying who made the correct choice. Granted, Irene is still not in a good situation since her marriage was falling apart due to Clare. Towards the end of Passing, Irene Redfield questions her need for security. She realized that her husband was cheating on her with Clare Kendry. Irene battles between what she knows is true (that her husband is cheating on her) and what she wants to believe is true (that her husband is being faithful and she's just being paranoid). The latter leaves her secure and leaves her life in place which, I believe, is exactly what she wishes would happen. Personally, I know what Irene is going through as far as the need for security goes. In my life, I do not mind change, but it always causes a lot of anxiety with me. I want to live my life to the fullest, but I also want to feel secure during it. I hate it when I have to constantly question myself about anything, whether it be because of a relationship or a math test. I would rather just know what to do and, therefore, feel secure. Irene Redfield was a woman that could pass as white, but had a black heritage. She was married to a black man and had two children. Most of the time, Irene chose to stay in the black community, only passing into the white community on occasion. Throughout the book, Irene's main focus was her children. At the beginning of the novel, she seems to be a strong, confident woman. However, as the novel progresses the reader sees that this is not necessarily true. Irene's marriage was falling apart; she argued with her husband on a regular basis. Then, at the end, it was revealed that her husband was cheating on her with her childhood friend that she had recently reconnected with, Clare Kendry. Clare Kendry had a black heritage, but chose to pass as white, constantly lying about her ethnicity. She had an extremely racist white husband and one daughter. When Clare ran into Irene at a restaurant in Chicago, Clare immediately wanted to reconnect, even though Irene was hesitant. Unlike Irene, Clare was more focused on the material things in life. She wanted to have expensive possessions and nice clothing. Furthermore, she blows off her husband's racist comments like nothing. However, after seeing Irene's life Clare seems to want to get back involved in the black community, though she has to do so behind her husband's back which, in the end, causes her death. An Unexpected Meeting A Racial Encounter Too Much Clare Kendry A Party to Die For Irene Redfield had not seen Clare Kendry since Clare had moved away to live with her two white aunts after her father's death when they were school age children. Then, out of nowhere, Irene runs into Clare at a restaurant in Chicago. At first, Irene does not recognize her, but Clare identifies Irene immediately. Clare clearly wants to rekindle their friendship and sits down with Irene. This is when Irene learned that Clare had married a white man and constantly passes as white. Although Irene does not necessarily seem to like Clare, she does agree to meet up with her again before either of them leave Chicago. Reluctantly, Irene went and met Clare again in Chicago. This time, Clare had another friend there who, like Irene and Clare, was also passing as white. At first, the meeting was going well, much better than Irene expected. Then Clare's extremely racist husband, John Bellew, showed up. Immediately, he walks in and greets his wife as "Nig", even though he knows nothing about her African American heritage. He does not have any problems talking to the three women, thinking they are all white. He casually carries a conversation with the three of them, including expressing his racist ideals. Irene's blood boils, but she stays composed. After this, though, she has absolutely no urge to see Clare Kendry or her husband again. Once again, despite Irene's protests, Clare Kendry works her way into Irene's life. She writes letters and ends up spending a lot of time at the Redfield household. Irene does not seem to mind too much, until she starts getting suspicious of the relationship between her husband and Clare. Irene's marriage was falling apart due to her husband wanting to uproot their family to Brazil and Irene's reluctance. Then Clare came in and Irene started wondering if her husband was cheating on her. She tried to convince herself otherwise but, in the end, never found out whether her suspicions were correct or not. After Clare's persistence, Irene agreed to go to a negro party with her. At first, everything was going fine, even though Clare kept dancing with Irene's husband. Then the situation took a turn for the worse. Clare's husband showed up, furious. He had finally realized, mainly because he caught her at a negro party, that Clare had an African American background and had been lying to him for years. Out of pure anger, he stormed toward her. It would never be known if Clare was pushed or if she simply fainted, nonetheless, as she watched her husband angrily coming towards her Clare fell out of a window to her death. Obviously, everyone was extremely concerned, particularly Irene's husband. After the incident, though, Irene did stay with her husband, mostly for her children's sake. Huckleberry Finn Jim Tom Sawyer Huck Finn is a thirteen-year-old boy; his father is a drunk so, much of the time, he lives off of his own intelligence. Though he was never formally educated, he is very smart and extremely independent, resisting many people's attempts at civilizing him. He constantly questions what society has taught him, many times contradicting it and making his own decisions. However, no matter how independent he is, Huck always followed whatever Tom Sawyer told him to. Jim was an escaped slave and he constantly worries about his family that he was separated from. Through his intelligence, practicality, and selflessness he shows Huck that race does not define a person. He longs for friendship and, partially because of this and partly because he a black man and escaped slave, he does pretty much whatever Huck and Tom tell him to, even if it puts him in degrading situations. Tom Sawyer is also thirteen and Huck's best friend. However, he was brought up in a more comfortable environment than Huck and, therefore, is more civilized. In this novel he is the exact opposite of Huck: imaginative and dominating. He stubbornly follows the "rules" set out by romance and adventure novels that he has read for many situations, making them much more difficult than needed. Above anything, Tom Sawyer seems to want to entertain himself, not worrying about anybody else's feelings. This book starts off in St. Petersburg, Missouri. Then it follows Huck and Jim as they float down the Mississippi River into the deep South. In this novel, Tom Sawyer makes everything more complicated than it needs to be, particularly when he and Huck are trying to set Jim free. Although it is ridiculous how much the boys do, I can relate to Tom's making everything more difficult than it needs to be. In almost every aspect of my life I make things more complicated than it needs to be. For example, if there are two ways to do a math problem I almost always pick the harder, more complicated method. I do not do it consciously, it just makes more sense to me. So, I guess my brain, like Tom Sawyer's, just understand complicated ways of doing things better than the easy ways. Much of this novel focuses on Jim and just how much he is degraded even though he is a smart, good man. White American during this time still saw slavery as a perfectly normal occurrence. Huck clearly struggled with this throughout the book. He liked Jim and did not see him as a slave due to his longing feelings for friendship and his family. However, society had taught Huck to feel more privileged than African Americans and that the "right" thing to do in his situation would be to turn Jim in. Luckily, Huck does not feel this is necessary Become Civilized and Escape The Duke and the Dauphin Tom Sawyer's Plan Huck's father came and went in Huck's life, so he lived with two sisters that attempted to civilize him. Though he hated the schooling and cleanliness he went along with it because Tom Sawyer told him to. Then his father came back to town, though, and took Huck back, locking and beating him in a cabin in the woods. Eventually, Huck hatched a plan to escape; he faked his own death and hide on a large island in the middle of the Mississippi River. There he found Jim, a slave that had escaped from the two sisters' house. The man and the boy teamed up and escaped the island on a raft when they discovered that people were about to start searching the island for Jim. As Jim and Huck floated down the river they encountered two older men claiming to be a duke and a dauphin, though they would later find out these men were simply frauds. After multiple stops and hoaxes, the duke and dauphin, knowing Jim was an escaped slave with a reward out for him, sold Jim to a farm. Huck was furious and went to the farm to steal Jim back. Once he got there, though, he was discovered sneaking around and taken in the house. However, the family was expecting their nephew and thought that Huck Finn was their nephew, Tom Sawyer. Tom's aunt and uncle take Huck in and everything goes smoothly for a few days. Huck starts thinking of a plan to take Jim and leave when the real Tom Sawyer shows up. Huck explains the situation and Tom decides to pretend to be his brother, Sid. Tom's aunt and uncle are thrilled to have both of them but Huck still needs to free Jim. Tom convinces Huck that they need to do many extra, unnecessary things to get Jim free, since that's the way prisoners escape in books Tom has read. Finally, they set Jim free, but Tom gets shot in the leg in the process and Huck has to get a doctor; Jim sacrifices his freedom to help Tom. All three of them get taken back to Tom's aunt and uncle and Jim is chained up again. The next morning, though, Tom reveals that Jim's owner had died a month ago and she set him free in her will. Tom then goes on to tell his aunt all about who was actually who and the lies they had been telling. As the book ends, Huck announces his plan to set out for the West. This novel mostly takes place in and around Sutpen's Hundred, in in Yoknapatawpha County, near Jefferson, Mississippi. This novel follows the rise and fall of Sutpen's Hundred in relation to the rise and fall of the South during the Civil War. Some of the characters even fought in the war. However, in the end, no matter what was done, both Sutpen's Hundred and the South fell. This does not mean that everything was lost, though. After the war the southern attitude still continued and Jim Bond remained, a heir to the Sutpens. In all honesty, this book is not easy to relate to. I did not grow up in the south, nor have I ever really had an interest in the Civil War. My father has always been there for me and I have never been knocked up by a man three times my age. This novel is difficult to read and, honestly, not really relateable. Nonetheless, I realize it is a classic piece of literature and gained many vital skills while reading it. Thomas Sutpen is the main character of this book. He built Sutpen's Hundred and had many children with many women. He was a man whore. This is his family tree. Thomas Sutpen Ellen Coldfield Henry Sutpen Judith Sutpen Charles Bon Clytemnestra Sutpen Rosa Coldfield Eulalia Bon Charles Etienne de St. Valery Bon Jim Bond Wash Jones Milly Jones Married Sisters Illegitimate Daughter Temperarily Engaged Married and Divorced Grandfather Got Pregnant Thomas Sutpen Thomas Sutpen comes into Jefferson, Mississippi, buys land from Indians, and builds a mansion which he dubs Sutpen's Hundred. He marries a local woman, Ellen Coldfield, and they have two children, Henry and Judith. Henry goes off to school and befriends Charles Bon, who comes home with Henry for Christmas. Charles and Judith end up getting engaged. Thomas tells Henry that Charles Bon is actually his son from a different marriage; Henry becomes outraged and leaves for New Orleans with Charles. Murder Charles and Henry enroll in the military and fight for four years. Thomas finds Henry and tells him that not only is Charles Judith's half brother, he is also part black. Then, Henry and Charles go back to Sutpen's Hundred on the day Judith and Charles are supposed to get married. There, Henry becomes outraged that Charles is part negro and kills him in front of the estate. Sutpen Returns After the war, Thomas Sutpen returned to his broken estate a broken man. He fell to alcohal and stayed locked up in the house most of the time. He then decided to have an affair with a fifteen-year-old slave girl, Milly, that lived on his plantation. (His wife had died previously). He got her pregnant and, shortly after the baby was born Milly's grandfather, Wash, murdered Milly, the baby, and Thomas Sutpen. The Story Rosa Coldfield tells the story of Sutpen's Hundred to the son of Thomas's first friend in the county, Quentin Compson. Quentin becomes taken by the story and burns in into his brain. He travels back out to the estate with Rosa to see if anyone is still there. The two find that Henry Sutpen is hiding in the house with Clytie, both withered and old. Months later Rosa returned to the house with an ambulance to try to help Henry. Unfortunately, Clytie thought she had come to arrest Henry for his murder of Charles Bon, so set the house on fire, killing her and Henry. Surprisingly, one person did escape from the house: Charles's son, Jim Bond, keeping the Sutpen legacy going.
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