Monday, September 24, 2007

Options for Blog #5 (Group 1)

Here's a couple ideas...

#1) In class today we're going to talk a little about things which Hank and the nameless adventurer of Zork have in common with one another. My argument is that we can classify both A Connecticut Yankee and Zork as "engineering narratives." If this idea interests you, I want you to construct your own definition of "engineering narrative," using detailed examples from a work (film/tv/game/book) other than one we've studied for this class.

#2) Now that you know that Merlin triumphs, and that there was something to his magic, analyze the significance of Merlin or of the supernatural to the text, using specific examples. You should phrase it as a thesis "the meaning/significance of magic/Merlin in A Connecticut Yankee... is x.

#3) We've spent some time talking about irony, and we may get a chance to talk about the term oscillation (from science fiction critic Darko Suvin) today. Rather than asking what aspect of life in the 1890s Twain wants us to focus on, in theory, focus on what aspect of our lives or world the book (especially the last few chapters) does make us consider. How does Twain make you rethink some aspect of our world or life?


Liam said...

About point #2 - are we sure that Merlin's magic is real? Is it not entirely possible that the narrator is simply crazy and invented the entire story, including Merlin's sudden manifesting of real power to send him back to the present?

Perhaps this point was covered when I wasn't there. But it's something I thought about as I finished the story, and I am curious if anyone else brought this up.

Adam Johns said...

It's a good question. My argument is that the magic is real, although that contradicts everything Hank says and believes through the entire book - because the only alternative is that, as you say, Hank is simply crazy -- i.e., never went to Britain in the first place, in which case nothing he says or does is meaningful. When left with the choice between reading a text in a way that makes it more complex and interesting versus less complex and interesting, and you have no compelling way to read it one way or the other, I vote for reading it the former way.

There's a flip side, though, which I can see already. If the trip to Arthur's Britain wasn't real in any way, then it should become more obvious that it is all a metaphor for the contemporary (to them) U.S.