1. In Silko’s “Yellow Woman’, what do the stolen beef and the Jello have in common? How do these elements break the prevailing mood?
To me, it seems like the beef and the Jello are the only two things that really tie the narrator to the real world — it’s food, it’s necessary for survival, and it’s real. The rest of the narrator’s story seems like she’s walking around in a dream. We find her waking up with Silva, not really quite sure how she found it so easy to walk away from her family. She spaces out while at Silva’s cabin; she even forgot to go home when she very specifically LEFT the cabin to go home! She treats her entire adventure as one of the “Yellow Woman’ stories that her grandpa used to tell her. Maybe it is one of those stories, Silva is certainly elusive enough to be the ka’tsina — “Little Yellow Woman, you never give up, do you? I have told you who I am. The Navajo people know me, too.’ The appearance of the food though, suddenly reminds the reader that Yellow Woman’s journey isn’t really a dream, but is actually happening to her.
2. After reading Saadawi’s “In Camera’, how do you feel about Leila Al-Fargani’s father? Upon what evidence do you base your judgement?
I was a little disappointed in him, to be honest. While at first I felt that he was a good dad, standing in the crowd to support his daughter even while ill, that changed when he began to think about the dishonor that had come to his family. His daughter was on trial for calling someone “stupid’ for crying out loud. She had been beaten, tortured, and raped, and could barely see, and all he could think about was how his family had been dishonored by her remarks? He seems like he’s much too easily swayed by society’s view of how things should go, versus standing up and being brave for his daughter. However, having been in the Middle East, his position is understandable, though extremely cowardly. The “justice’ system there is so skewed to favor men and those in authority that had he stood up for his daughter, he and his wife may have been abducted and tortured as well. It often seems like the women are much stronger than the men of that culture, emotionally speaking. Laila’s mother stood strong in the audience at her daughter’s trial while her heart breaks at the sight of her daughter, while Laila’s father is hunched over and beats himself up over dishonor.
3. What is the importance of the title of the story “Death Constant Beyond Love’? What does it tell us about the story’s central thematic concerns?
In the introduction, the explanation is that “Death Constant Beyond Love’ was a play on the poem by Spanish writer Quevedo “Love Constant Beyond Death’, and is meant to say that even though we may have love, eventually death will get us. In Senator Onesimo Sanchez’s case, he finds himself extremely lonely when given a terminal diagnosis. While out on the campaign trail (for he’s determined to live his life as normal and not tell anyone about his condition, even though he has less than a year to live), he finds a beautiful woman and suddenly becomes extremely attracted to her. He’s happily married, and so this seems to be an escape for him in order to forget about his diagnosis: “He scrutinized the sleeping guards, then he scrutinized Laura Farina, whose unusual beauty was even more demanding than his pain, and he resolved then that death had made his decision for him’. He doesn’t actually end up having sex (at least, not in this story) with Laura Farina, but does ask her to sleep next to him, for “It’s good to be with someone when you’re so alone’. This ruins his career, but the only thing that he “weeps with rage’ at is the fact that he doesn’t have her next to him at his death.