Week 14 Discussion

1. In Silko’s “Yellow Woman,’ what do the stolen beef and the Jell-o have in common? How do these elements break the prevailing mood?

The concept of the story has a tone of a woman who does not feel a part of anything important, thus opening up her gullibility when the man informed her she is in fact a “yellow woman,” adding much desired intrigue in herself. She wants to believe the self proclaimed spirit (Silvia), but has some doubts, although all the events the spirit is telling her match the yellow woman myth she learned so perfectly. There were many “prevailing mood changers, such as Stolen Beef which was a major turning point in the story because the spirit tells her he is a cattle rustler and later Silvia is preparing cow meat to sell in town, only on the way to town a rancher claims Silvia stole the meat and a gun battle ensued. Shots rang out in the background as the “yellow woman” rode her horse off to town, not knowing who was the certain victor. This is the turning point where the woman decides to go home and not stay with the spirit any longer, almost like she was under a spell which had been broken. Maybe adding some validity to the the spirit, if he was killed during the shooting resulting in the spells disintegration. Her grandmother was making Jello when the woman returned home from her spiritual affair, which could first appear as a mundane activity. For me this acted as a symbol of plainness, because now that she has left her mythical experience behind her she is returning to her “regular” lifestyle. I found the story pretty culture based, because there was a lot of cultural folklore entwined in it and an apparent battle between modern and ancient life experiences.

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?

Well, from my own viewpoint on what is right or wrong I feel like her father was pretty uncaring throughout the whole fiasco. Although because of the cultural norms they were a part of, his reactions seem just that, normal. Because Leila voiced her opinion, especially against the president’s intelligence, she was criminally charged. This story brings about multiple of touchy subjects in today’s “politically correct” movement. Because the issue in this story was primarily of ancient religious practices, which minimize a females role in society, especially as far as opinions are concerned perhaps that would be the root of the culture shock from the readers. Which brings us back to the father, because culturally he was acting as was expected with such anti-religious (rules) and political outspokenness. He wishes his daughter and himself would die instead of becoming so shamed in the eyes of society. There were many subjects in the story about the horrible abuse towards women being the norm, and those who abused them seemed to have a high degree of duty in those horrific actions. Truly a sad subject matter, saddest most is that it is reality for many women in today’s “modern” societies. For example, if a woman is raped in Dubai and reports it to the police, it is she who becomes imprisoned, not those who committed the crime. So at that I will conclude that I really hope those sorts of traditions will be weeded out, but until then, her father acted culturally correct and unfortunately in their society, it was Leila who was the criminal.

3. What is the importance of the title of the story “Death Constant Beyond Love’? What does it tell us about the stories central thematic concerns?

The title seems to be saying two things, fist death is constant and the second is that there is nothing beyond love. The senator discovers his imminent death, or should I say more extreme immediacy of his death, because death is always imminent. The central theme seems to be the senator trying to find peace, only not with his family but with someone else, a woman named Laura Farina. I got a vibe from the senator character that he lost interest in all responsibility or, for good reason future consequences. Therefore he came to terms with the fact that he was going to lose everyone he loved when he died so he would rather find love in the now, which is what drove him to become so obsessed with Laura. I almost feel like he wanted to love someone he did not know very well, because he knew he was going to die soon and didn’t want his wife or children to “ruin” his mood, so to say. Thus the only way for him to be happy and his family to avoid sadness, was for him to love someone and die with what comfort he could get from his brief affair. The main premise of the story is that we will all die and when we are dead all love dies with us, so we may as well be happy and love while we are still alive (a hippyesque mentality).

2 thoughts on “Week 14 Discussion

  1. jwmaring

    I thought you had really good points to make on the first discussion question. I think something that I might have overlooked and you helped point out was that meat and the Jell-O also signified differing historical vintages. The meat was related to a different period in time and a different lifestyle reminiscent of almost mythical lore, whereas Jell-O is by comparison a modern kitchen treat that represents a more settled and domesticated way of life. Essentially, these two differing foods were the proof-positives that let the narrator know definitively what world she was in.

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  2. sdpost

    I think that’s really smart on number one when you mention that maybe the spell was broken if it was Silva who lost that gun battle. Really good.

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