on American culture
The development of the culture of the United States of America—history,
holidays, sports, religion, cuisine, literature, poetry, music, dance, visual arts,
cinema, and architecture—has been marked by a tension between two strong
sources of inspiration: European ideals, especially British, and domestic originality.
American culture encompasses traditions, ideals, customs, beliefs, values, arts,
and innovations developed both domestically and imported via colonization and
immigration. Prevalent ideas and ideals from the European continent such as
democracy, capitalism, various forms of monotheism, and civil liberties are
present as well as those which evolved domestically such as important national
holidays, uniquely American sports, proud military tradition, innovations in the
arts and entertainment, and a strong sense of national pride among the
population as a whole.
It includes both conservative and liberal elements, military and scientific
competitiveness, political structures, risk taking and free expression, materialist
and moral elements.
It also includes elements which evolved from Native Americans, and other ethnic
subcultures; most prominently the culture of African-American slave descendents
and different cultures from Latin America. Many cultural elements, especially
popular culture have been exported across the globe through modern mass
media where American culture is sometimes resented. A few of the cultural
elements have remained rather exclusive to North America.
Mark Twain is regarded as among the greatest writers in American history.
Main article: Literature of the United States
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, American art and literature took
most of its cues from Europe. During its early history, America was a series of
British colonies on the eastern coast of the present-day United States. Therefore,
its literary tradition begins as linked to the broader tradition of English literature.
However, unique American characteristics and the breadth of its production
usually now cause it to be considered a separate path and tradition. Writers such
as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry David Thoreau established a
distinctive American literary voice by the middle of the nineteenth century. Mark
Twain and poet Walt Whitman were major figures in the century's second half;
Emily Dickinson, virtually unknown during her lifetime, would be recognized as
America's other essential poet. Eleven U.S. citizens have won the Nobel Prize in
Literature, most recently Toni Morrison in 1993. Ernest Hemingway, the 1954
Nobel laureate, is often named as one of the most influential writers of the
twentieth century.[1] A work seen as capturing fundamental aspects of the national
experience and character—such as Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851), Twain's
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great
Gatsby (1925)—may be dubbed the "Great American Novel". Popular literary
genres such as the Western and hardboiled crime fiction were developed in the
United States.
[edit] Religion
Main article: Religion in the United States
Completed in 1716, Mission Nuestra Señora de la
Purísima Concepción de Acuña is one of numerous
surviving colonial Spanish missions in the United States.
These were primarily used to convert the Native
Americans to Roman Catholicism.
Surrounded by sleek modern skyscrapers, Saint
Patrick's Cathedral stands as the last old world
holdout of New York's Rockefeller Plaza
Among developed countries, the US is one of the most religious in terms of
its demographics. According to a 2002 study by the Pew Global Attitudes
Project, the US was the only developed nation in the survey where a majority
of citizens reported that religion played a "very important" role in their lives,
an attitude similar to that found in its neighbors in Latin America.[2]
Several of the original Thirteen Colonies were established by English and
Irish settlers who wished to practice their own religion without discrimination
or persecution as religious extremists in Europe: Pennsylvania was
established by Quakers, Maryland by Roman Catholics and the
Massachusetts Bay Colony by Puritans. Nine of the thirteen colonies had
official public religions. Yet by the time of the Philadelphia Convention of
1787, the United States became one of the first countries in the world to
enact freedom of religion by way of a codified separation of church and
state.
Modeling the provisions concerning religion within the Virginia Statute for
Religious Freedom, the framers of the United States Constitution rejected any
religious test for office, and the First Amendment specifically denied the
central government any power to enact any law respecting either an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting its free exercise. In following
decades, the animating spirit behind the constitution's Establishment Clause
led to the disestablishment of the official religions within the member states.
The framers were mainly influenced by secular, Enlightenment ideals,
But they also considered the pragmatic concerns of minority religious groups who
did not want to be under the power or influence of a state religion that did not
represent them.[3] Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence said
"The priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot."[4]
[edit] Religious statistics for the United States
It should be noted the following information is an estimation as actual
statistics constantly vary.
According to the CIA,[5] the following is the percentage of followers of
different religions in the United States:
• Christian: (78.5%)
• Protestant (51.3%)
• Roman Catholic (23.9%)
• Mormon (1.7%)
• Orthodox (1.6%)
• Jewish (1.7%)
• Buddhist (0.7%)
• Muslim (0.6%)
• Atheist/Agnostic (4%)
• Other/Unspecified (14.6%)
[edit] National holidays
Fireworks light up the sky over the Washington
Monument. Americans traditionally shoot fireworks
throughout the night on the Fourth of July.
Martin Luther King Day memorializes the legacy of Dr.
King, who is widely regarded as the Patriarch of the Civil
Rights Movement. Dr. King is pictured above delivering his
"I Have a Dream" speech.
Inauguration Day is the only Federal holiday that is not annual
but rather occurs only once every four years. The day begins
with the inaguaration ceremony and ends with a military parade.
Halloween is a widely observed tradition in the United States. It
typically involves dressing up in costumes and an emphasis on
the bizarre and frightening.
The
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is attended by over 2.5
million people each year. It is the largest organized festivity in
the United States and is viewed by more Americans each year
than any other holiday celebration.[6]
Today, Thanksgiving is generally celebrated as a family reunion with a large
afternoon feast. European colonization has led to many traditional Christian
holidays such as Easter, Lent, St. Patrick’s Day, and Christmas to be widely
observed albeit they are celebrated in a secular manner by many people
today.
Independence Day (colloquially known as the Fourth of July) celebrates the
anniversary of the country’s Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom
of Great Britain. It is generally observed by parades throughout the day and
the shooting of fireworks at night.
Halloween is thought to have evolved from the ancient celtic festival of
Samhain which was introduced in the American colonies by Irish settlers. It
has become a holiday that is widely celebrated by children and teens who
traditionally dress up in costumes and go door to door saying the words
“Trick or Treat” in exchange for candy. It also brings about an emphasis on
eerie and frightening urban legends and movies. The popularity of
celebrating Halloween has become continusly popular among university
students in the US. Both University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ohio
University in Athens, Ohio are known across the US for their Halloween
street fairs.
Additionally, Mardi Gras, which evolved from the Catholic tradition of
Carnival, is observed notably in New Orleans, St. Louis, and Mobile, AL as
well as numerous other towns. Texas still observes the anniversary of its
Independence Day from Mexico.
Federally recognized holidays are as follows:
Date
Official Name
January 1
New Year's Day
Third Monday in January
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 20, the first January 20 following a Presidential election
Inauguration Day
Third Monday in February
Washington's Birthday
Last Monday in May
Memorial Day
July 4
Independence Day
First Monday in September
Labor Day
Second Monday in October
Columbus Day
November 11
Veterans Day
Fourth Thursday in November
Thanksgiving Day
December 25
Christmas
P. 4
Discussion Points
․ Over the years, did many people immigrate to your country? Are there
many immigrants today? Where are the immigrants from? Why did they
leave their countries?
․ Did many people emigrate from your country to other countries? What are
some of the countries they went to ? Did many people go to the United
States? If so, do you know if there was a particular period when they went
and a particular region where they settled?
․ What do "melting pot" and "mosaic" refer to? What do you think are some
of the advantages and disadvantages of each?
P. 6
Discussion Points
․ How many main political parties does your country have? Are there clear
differences between the parties?
․ What are some of the bad effects of a low voter turnout? What can be
done to increase voter turnout? In your country, is voter turnout high or low?
P. 7
Discussion Points
․ What are some of the major imports and exports of your country?
․ The passage says that in the United States two major economic
challenges are (1) increasing productivity of workers and (2) training
workers for new kinds of jobs. Do you know what major economic
challenges your country is facing now?
영미문화 discussion topics
Topics for discussion (On American Values and Assumptions)
Choose one of these topics to discuss (work in small groups)
1) Please describe the differences between values and assumptions.
2) What are the main values in America? Are these similar to those of our
country? (p 19)
3) How does my country view the United States? Americans have been
accused of believing that their country is better or more important than any
other. Do you think the United States is more important? Explain.
4) This book describes Americans as "optimistic." Are you (Koreans) basically
optimistic about the future? Why or why not?
5) The most important value in America is individualism. Do you think
individualism has only positive aspects? Or if you do not think so, please
explain why?
6) Americans' attitudes about privacy can be difficult for foreigners to
understand. Please give some examples.
7) Please describe the concepts of “equality” that Americans believe.
They have a deep faith that everyone is equal, but they make distinctions
among themselves as a result of such factors as gender, age, wealth, or
social position. Give some examples for these differences.
8) Relationships between students, teachers, and coworkers in American
society are very informal. Please illustrate some examples (see p. 30)
9) Please introduce some examples of "goodness of humanity" (pp. 33-34)
10) For Americans, time is a resource that, like water or coal, can be used
well or poorly. "Time is money." "Americans are seen by foreign visitors as
automatons, unhuman creates who are so tied to their clocks...." Do you
agree with this opinion? If you think there are different concepts on time
between Americans and Koreans, please illustrate the difference.
After reading the chapter of American Values and Assumptions
Reading Journal
In your journal, write about one of the following topics.
1. Explain what a visitor to your country should know in order to avoid
intercultural misunderstandings.
2. Describe an experience you had in a foreign country or culture that
helped you understand it better.
3. Choose a topic of your own related to the reading.
One of the most important skills you can develop as a good reader is the
ability to recognize the main idea in a piece of writing. Although writers
often include many ideas, there is usually a central point, or message, they
wish to convey.
When you read something, you should ask yourself the following questions:
What main idea is the writer trying to communicate?
* How does the main idea relate to other ideas in the reading?
How does the writer develop his or her main point? What does the writer
want me to remember about this subject?
Ch. 2 The Communicative Style of Americans
1) When they first encounter another person, Americans engage in a kind
of conversation they call ( ). What kinds of ( ) they do enjoy? (see p. 47)
2) Explain the difference in the favorite topics between Americans and other
countries? (p. 48, second paragraph from the bottom)
3) What are the favorite forms of interaction? Illustrate the four forms in
detail. (pp. 50-51)
4) Americans often relate to each other as occupants of roles rather than as
whole person. 이것의 예는? 이 문장의 의미는? (p.54)
5) To conclude from their relatively limited verbal abilities that they are
unintelligent is to underestimate them. (p. 54) 이 문장의 의미는?
6) Americans' preference for verbal over nonverbal means of communicating
pertains also to the written word. ( ) are important to Americans. Explain
about this sentence. (56-57)
7) Body Movements and Gestures 에 있어 Americans 와 other country people
사이 차이점에 대해서 작가가 든 예 중에서 두개만 설명해 봅시다(59-60).
8) What is an especially complex, subtle, and important aspect of nonverbal
behavior? "Americans are trained to distrust people who do not "look them
in the eye" when speaking to them." Explain about Americans' eye contact
(62).
9) “It is amusing to watch a conversation between an American and someone
from a culture where habits concerning "conversational distance" are
different.” Please provide some examples that the writer gives about
"converational distance." (63)
American Communication Styles
The USA
The desire to debate issues directly leads Americans to be seen
by some cultures as aggressive
Cultural Compatibility
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Communication styles in business in the States are determined by many of
the approaches to business we have already described above. The desire to
debate issues directly and openly leads Americans to be seen by some
cultures as aggressive and even rude. Coded speech and verbosity is often
seen as time wasting and in time pressured corporate USA, that is a crime.
Thus, when an impasse is reached in meeting situations, the reaction is often
to address it directly and ‘with feeling.’ This direct, robust debate can
often be viewed by more harmony seeking cultures as signalling the
breakdown of meaningful discussions and as the signal to try to abandon
the interaction - whereas in the States it is seen positively and as a sign of
definite progress.
Paradoxically, on first introductions, American can seem very friendly, polite
and solicitous of your well being which seems to be at odds with the verbal
behaviour exhibited half an hour later in the meeting. This overt friendliness
(Have nice day!, Hi, how are you doing? etc.) should be taken for what it is
— part of the protocol of the language and not as an attempt at
establishing a life long friendship.
Although coded speech and over-verbosity are frowned upon, the latest
‘management speak’ is often to the fore in business dealings which
can make Americans sound extremely jargonistic — almost to the point of
obscuring the real message.Americans are much more open in conversation
about private affairs than many European cultures and the converse of this is
that Americans will often, quite naively, ask very personal questions at an
early stage in a relationship which may be perceived by some people as
intrusive. (‘What do you make?)
• Education in the United States
Education in the United States is highly decentralised with funding and
curriculum decisions taking place mostly at the local level through school
boards. Educational standards are generally set by state agencies. The
Federal government through the United States Department of Education is
involved with funding programs.
School Grades
Primary education and secondary education in the United States together
are sometimes referred to as K-12 (kindergarten through twelfth grade). It
should be noted that practice can vary from this general picture.
Level / Grade, Age (Years old)
• Pre-School, Nursery School, or Head Start; Under 5
• Elementary School In the nineteenth and early twentieth century,
Elementary School or Grammar School included grades one through
eight, high school included grades nine through twelve.
• Kindergarten 5-6
• 1st Grade 6-7
• 2nd Grade 7-8
• 3rd Grade 8-9
• 4th Grade 9-10
• 5th Grade 10-11
• Middle school (also called Junior High School)
• 6th Grade 11-12 (not always. Some Elementary Schools include
6th grade as their highest grade.)
• 7th Grade 12-13
• 8th Grade 13-14
• High school
• 9th Grade (Freshman year) 14-15
• 10th Grade (Sophomore year) 15-16
• 11th Grade (Junior year) 16-17
• 12th Grade (Senior year) 17-18
"Middle school" or "Junior high school" may refer to schools that begin in
7th grade and end in either 8th or 9th grade, where 6th grade is the final
grade in elementary school, and in the case ending in 9th grade, only grades
10, 11, and 12 are in high school. The term "junior high school" and the
arrangement beginning with 7th grade is now much less common.
"High school" runs from grades 9 through 12.
• College or University Undergraduate grades are also called Freshman,
Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years.
• Undergraduate
• College or university
• Four years leading to a a Bachelor or Arts (BA) or a
Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
• Community college
• Lower division, two years leading to an Associate of Arts
(AA) degree.
• Upper division, two years leading to B.A. or B.S.
• Postgraduate
• One to three years leading to a Master of Arts (MA) or
Master of Science (MS) degree.
• Four or more years leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
degree or two or more years after earning a Masters.
Contemporary issues in the United States
Major educational issues in the United States center on curriculum, funding,
and control.
Curriculum issues
• What type of school works best.
• How to teach reading: phonics vs. whole language
• Evolution: whether to teach evolution as a historical truth, or
simply present evidence and how it supports various theories.
• sex education: how much to teach about sexual intercourse, and
at what age; is purpose to reduce disease and out-of-wedlock
pregnancy, or what?
• "Diversity" and hate speech: to what extent may students be
required to tolerate or even approve of repugnant people and
practices?
• Dumbing down of curriculum: high school graduates often at 6th
to 8th grade levels in 3 R's.
Funding
Each state government provides free schools for residents, funded by taxes
(often on real estate).
• Vouchers: have voucher programs helped students learn better?
Or do they damage public education? What are the trends?
• Spending: is there any correlation between per-pupil spending
and student achievement?
• Class size: does hiring more teachers to reduce the teacherstudent ratio have any correlation with student achievement?
• Current trends in US: building more prisons than schools. Samuel
Clemens' thoughts on the matter:
Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you
gain at one end you lose at the other. It's like feeding a dog on his
own tail. It won't fatten the dog.- Speech 11/23/1900
At the college and university level, funding becomes a major tangle, as the
US Government offers partial subsidies for education at accredited
universities through federal financial aid and student loans. However, there is
very little standardization as to how funding can be applied, often leading to
a great deal of confusion regarding what steps to take.
Control
• Who's responsible for a child's education?
• Who decides curriculum contents: what should be mandatory, what
should be forbidden?
There are some facts. In U.S. law parents have the ultimate responsibility for,
and authority over their children's education. The crucial tests of this legal
doctrine occurred in attempts to sue public school officials for malpractice, in
cases where, for example, illiterate young people graduated from highschool. The U.S. Supreme Court (Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972))
defined the proper goal for education as "literacy and self-sufficiency," that is,
an educated, not a socialized child was recognized as the essential goal for
the U.S.'s democratic republic. This decision is now interpreted as court
recognition that parents have a fundamental right to choose the method to
achieve literacy and self-sufficiency, that is to educate their children.
History
Expansion of American education during the late 1800s
In 1870, only 2% of 17 year olds graduated from high school. By 1900,
however, 31 states required 8-14 year olds to attend school. As a result, by
1910, 72 percent of American children attended school and half of the
nation's children attended one-room schools. Lessons consisted of students
reading aloud from their texts such as the McGuffey Readers, and emphasis
was placed on rote memorization. Teachers often used physical punishments,
such as hitting students on the knuckles with birch switches, for incorrect
answers. Because the public schools focused on assimilation, many
immigrants, who resisted Americanization, sent their children to private
religious schoools.
Higher Education
Between 1880 and 1885, more than 150 new colleges and universities were
opened in America. Philantrhopists endowed these institutions. Leland
Stanford, one of The Big Four, for example, established Stanford University in
1885.
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, by Hemingway
Plot Summary
The story begins at a cafe very late at night. Two waiters are watching their
last, lingering customer, an old man who is by now very drunk. These are the
story’s three major characters. The older of the two waiters informs the
young one that the old man tried to commit suicide the previous week. They
then watch a couple go by, a soldier and a young woman, and comment on
the soldier’s chances of going undetected after curfew.
Next, the young waiter moves into action. When the old man indicates that
he wants another drink served, the young waiter mutinies. He decides he
wants to go home, regardless of an unspoken rule that dictates he not go
until the last customer voluntarily leaves. He pretends not to know what the
old man wants. The old man realizes that the younger waiter is being
offensive, but ignores him and asks out loud for the drink. When the waiter
brings it, he makes it spill deliberately. Moreover, knowing that the old man
is deaf, as he walks away he says, “You should have killed yourself last week.”
With these actions, the character of the young waiter is established.
The two waiters then have a number of conversations about the old man
and his suicide and situation. These talks are interrupted by the younger
waiter finally telling the old man to leave, which he does. We learn various
facts from these interchanges. For example, the young waiter is “all
confidence,” he is married, he has a job, he is content with life and has little
pity for those who are not content. He defends his actions (being churlish
and making the old man leave): a cafe is not an all-night venue; if the old
man were considerate he would let the waiters go home to their beds; there
are bars and bodegas for people wanting to stay out late. The older waiter
resembles the old man: he is lonely and he lives alone with no wife. He is an
insomniac. He insists that special deference is due the old man because of
his recent suicide attempt.
Once the cafe is tidied and locked, the two waiters part amicably enough.
The reader now finishes out this very short story with the older waiter. He
does not go straight home. He thinks how he completely understands the
old man’s desire to linger at a cafe, because the ambiance of a cafe is
entirely different from that of a bar or bodega. He ends up, however, at a bar.
All the cafes are, after all, closed. The old waiter looks at the bar where he
stands and points out to the barman that his venue is well-lighted, but not
clean: “The light is very pleasant but the bar is unpolished.” The barman
ignores the waiter. The waiter does not stay for a second drink. Apparently,
he now feels strong enough to go home to his insomnia: “He disliked bars
and bodegas. A clean, well-lighted cafe was a very different thing. Now,
without thinking further, he went home to his room. He would lie in the bed
and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it
is probably only insomnia. Many must have it.”
Themes
Solidarity
One of the most touching aspects of this short story is the older waiter’s
expressed solidarity with the old man. While the young waiter is all “youth”
and “confidence,” the old waiter and the old man seem overwhelmingly
lonely and tired-out by life. This communality structures the older waiter’s
consistent thoughts of solidarity with the old man. He understands and
defends him; he too prefers a clean, well-lighted cafe to a bar or bodega; he
too seeks out such a place to forestall his own despair that night. The climax
of this theme of solidarity is the climax of the story itself. It comes in its final
line: “He disliked bars and bodegas. A clean, well-lighted cafe was a very
different thing. Now, without thinking further, he went home to his room. He
would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all,
he said to himself, it is probably only insomnia. Many must have it.” It is the
“many” of the final sentence of the story with which the story is concerned.
Against the singular and selfish young waiter, the coupled old men signify
the group or community that hangs together out of loyalty and a sense of
common cause. Hemingway’s fiction around the time of “A Clean, WellLighted Place” frequently thematizes solidarity, undoubtedly because this
principle of conduct was highly valued at the time. Much political advance
was achieved in the first three decades of the century through the methods
of mass demonstrations and movements (e.g., groups of workers and women
bonded together for better working conditions and the vote). Solidarity
fueled these mass rights’ movements and ensured their success.
Good Conduct
Hemingway is a writer obsessed by ethical conduct. The bulk of his writing is
concerned with questions of good versus bad actions. In this fiction, it’s not
about winning or losing, it’s about how you play the game. This is true,
perhaps, because in Hemingway’s fictional universe one rarely wins. The title
of the collection from which “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” comes suggests
this complicated stance. It is called Winner Take Nothing. If one has won
nothing as a winner, then all one has done is played the game.
The old waiter is the epitome of a someone who plays by the rules. No
matter that it is a lone and drunk old man making this waiter stay up all
night; the cafe offers a specific service, and is run according to certain rules
from which the old waiter will not deviate. He cuts no corners in his social
responsibilities.
The centrality and repetitiveness of this theme in this author’s oeuvre costs
him popularity in many camps. Hemingway’s heroes consistently detect and
perform unspoken ritual, usually in trying conditions so that their upholding
of these rules seems all the more admirable. These beset characters are
always male, and they are usually proving themselves while pursuing very
traditional male pursuits (e.g. while big-game hunting or deep-sea fishing).
This self-conscious cultivation of, and propensity for, an agonistic and allmale world is immortalized in a title of another of his short story collections.
Appropriately, it is called Men Without Women. This highly gendered world
of strenuous physical and moral contest makes Hemingway’s fiction seem
dated in many respects.
The Unknowable and Nothingness
“Nothing,” or the Spanish equivalent “nada,” is the most important word in
this short story — if only by virtue of the high number of times it is
repeated in a story so very brief. It is the reason why the old man kills
himself, according to the older waiter: ‘“Last week he tried to commit suicide,’
one waiter said.”/’“Why?”’/“’He was in despair.’”/ ” ‘What about’“/” ’Nothing.“/ ”
‘How do you know it was nothing?’”/ ’“He has plenty of money.’” It is the
word which obsesses the old waiter as well. After work, he leans against a
bar and recites two prayers to himself substituting “nada” for most of the
prayer’s major verbs and nouns. The result is a litany of “nadas.”
This narrative pattern suggests at least two possible explanations. The first
follows from considering the character of the older waiter. The waiter is a
man of few words, an elemental soul. He is face to face with humanity itself
under duress, what he identifies as “despair,” and attributes the cause of this
despair to be “nothing.” This paradox of believing in an emotion (despair)
with no cause (“Nothing”) is unraveled if one decides that with “nothing” the
waiter refers to intangible yearnings, as opposed to referring to bodily or
material yearnings (“He has plenty of money”). In this case, he exemplifies a
stance which does not presume to fathom the mysteries of life (intangible
yearnings), but prefers to stand before them mute. “Nothing” has become
his way of indicating the mystery of humanity and his own professed
conceptual and verbal limitations when faced with it. Thus, this old waiter
might be elemental or simple, but it is this simplicity that makes him wise.
He is not afraid of admitting that the task of explaining humanity is beyond
him, and his manner of speaking indicates this humble stance.
A second explanation follows from taking the old waiter’s answer (’“Nothing”’)
to mean that the old man, at least in his opinion, is in despair over the fact
that his life means “nothing.” This can be linked, for example, to the old
waiter later thinking, “It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too.” In
this case, despair follows from a belief in the inherent meaningless or
absurdity of life. If one suffers one does so for no reason; it does not matter
if one lives or dies. This is why despair is over nothing if one has “plenty of
money.” In this world view, there is no meaning beyond the bodily and
material; all intangible yearnings are nothing but illusion. If the old man does
not sink into nihilism because of this bleak knowledge, it is because of his
ethical bylaws and his ability to revel in the physical present: “It was all a
nothing and a man was nothing too. It was only that and light was all it
needed and a certain cleanness and order.” In the view above, however, this
reveling in “light.. .[and] a certain cleanness and order” would indicate a
certain blind, dumb faith. One’s environment gives one proof of some “order”
or meaning, it is simply that this meaning will never be known, expressible,
or repre-sentable by mere human beings.
Topics for Further Study
• Research the famous U.S. brigade of the Spanish Civil War, the
Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Which U.S. artists and writers fought or raised
money for the Spanish Loyalists during this conflict?
• Examine the rise of fascism in the 1930s in Europe. How do historians
account for the popularity or power of Mussolini, or Hitler and/or
Franco? Or, research what platforms and positions characterize fascism.
Hitler’s party, for example, was called the National Socialists. Why was it
named this? What was “national” about it? What “socialist”?
• Explore theories about the “folk” that were circulating amongst artists
and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance (1919-1935). Alain Locke’s
1925 essay “The New Negro,” a manifesto for this social and artistic
movement, is a good place to begin. A seminal precursor text of the
movement, also dealing with issues relating to “folk,” is W. E. B. Du Bois’s
The Souls of Black Folk.
• Examine Hemingway’s continued cultivation of Latin connections after
his experiences in France and Spain. How was southern Florida and
Cuba important to his life and development as a writer once he
returned to the U.S.?
Characters
Old Man
The old man is drowning his sorrows in drink, and his sorrows grow out of
loneliness, if we are to believe the old waiter (the old man lives alone, his
wife now dead). However, lest this turning to drink be interpreted as
weakness, the author is careful to depict the old man as being punctiliously
neat and controlled in his despair. He does not, after all, spill a drop. Rather,
the old man is a heroic drunk, one whose pursuit of oblivion is depicted as a
reasonable, even noble course of action in a world which can be too much
for certain souls to withstand. Where the younger waiter seems to feel not
enough, this man seems to feel too much.
Old Waiter
The older waiter, in contrast to the selfish younger one, is a sympathetic man.
He knows the old man’s history and identifies with it. Like the old man, the
old waiter is lonely, a little sad, and he takes pleasure in a quiet public place.
The old waiter is not, however, as desperate as the old man is. He seems to
endure his loneliness with a certain objectivity, realizing that although he is
alone, he is not alone in suffering. The older waiter seems wise and resigned.
Young Waiter
Set against the two mild and weary older men, the younger waiter’s
personality seems acerbic, even cruel. We learn about an unspoken rule of
service which dictates that a cafe only close when the last customer leaves
voluntarily, and never because of a pre-established closing time. But it is very
late and the younger waiter wishes above all else to go home to bed.
Accordingly, he serves the old man in a churlish way, purposefully slopping
his drinks, to make the old man feel unwelcome and unwanted. Then, as the
two waiters discuss the drunk old man, the younger waiter has only nasty
things to say. He is depicted as someone who does not follow the rules of
good social conduct, and who considers his own wishes more significant
than anybody else’s.
Ethnic and Racial Diversity
1) How are the student-student relationships in America?
2) student-professor relationships?
3) roommates와의 관계에서 지켜야 할 사항?(124-125)
4) What is plagiarism? (126-127). Many colleges and universities have explicit
regulations with respect to plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty.
from Ethnic and Racial Diversity
5) What is "assimilation," "bicultural"?
6) The dominant American culture....English-speaking, ( ), ( ), and middle-class
in character.
7) What is "Civil War" in America? When and why it happened?
8) What are Martin Luther King's two civil rights?
9) What are the difference between King's goal and Malcom X's goal as black
leaders?
10) What is "affirmative action"?
11) What does "an American Paradox" mean?
A Boy with His Hat over His Crotch
Yifeng Chang, a Chinese student who has a delicate sense, had come abroad
to America for study because of obtaining his master’s degree. He was
charming and had an attractive appearance. Furthermore, he made an effort
to seem to be a gentleman. He had many problems in the campus life as a
foreign student-for example, tuition did not arrive, and his two classes
turned out to meet at the same time-however, he finally found that the
Foreign Student Affairs Office was helpful for him.
One day, he had a problem that he was not on the class list for two of his
courses, and that for one of them, enrollment was already closed, and then
he went to the Foreign Student Affairs Office to have some help, as he did
when he had same kinds of problems. There Yifeng met Cammy, a secretary
of the Foreign Student Affairs Office, but her first impression was not so
good to him, because of the quite differences of appearance from Chinese
girl.
Male-Female Relationships 에서 다루는 중요한 문제들
1) male and female relationship에 영향을 준 문화적 가치관들? (88-89)
2) women's liberation and Feminism이 일어난 시기? What is women's
liberation? 그 이후 미국 여성들의 삶이 어떻게 달라졌는지?
3) Workplace Relationships에서 가장 논쟁이 되는 문제는 무엇인가? 그리고 그
문제의 정의? 그것에 대한 3가지 정도의 예?, 그것에 대한 해결점을 어떻게 제
시하고 있는가? (94-95).
4) Many couples choose to have their wedding ceremony in ( ) or ( ) even if
they do not consider themselves to be particularly religious. 미국의 romantic
relationship의 또 다른 새로운 형태는?(100)
5) Sales Tax? Customer and clerk relationships는 어떠한가? Procedures for
returning and exchanging 에 대해 논해보자.
6) Rules for Behavior in public places? (111-114)
7) How are the student-student relationships in America?
8) student-professor relationships?
9) roommates와의 관계에서 지켜야 할 사항?(124-125)
10) What is plagiarism? (126-127). Many colleges and universities have
explicit regulations with respect to plagiarism and other forms of academic
dishonesty.
Topics for discussion on Male Female Relationships
1) Discuss about family types in America (68)
2) People are getting married later in life. Observers usually attribute these
changes in the American family to two factors. Please explain about two
factors. (72)
3) Very young children receive considerable attention. Many American
homes are what sociologists call "child-centered."(76-77). Please explain
about this in detail.
4) Students from abroad may want to look into "host family" opportunities in
the cities where they are studying.(81) Please explain about this in detail.
5) male and female relationship에 영향을 준 문화적 가치관들? (84-85)
6) women's liberation and Feminism이 일어난 시기? What is women's
liberation? 그 이후 미국 여성들의 삶이 어떻게 달라졌는지?
7) Workplace Relationships에서 가장 논쟁이 되는 문제는 무엇인가? 그리고 그
문제의 정의? 그것에 대한 3가지 정도의 예?, 그것에 대한 해결점을 어떻게 제
시하고 있는가? (90-91).
8) Many couples choose to have their wedding ceremony in ( ) or ( ) even if
they do not consider themselves to be particularly religious. 미국 결혼식이
주로 행해지는 곳은?(95)
9) 미국의 또 다른 성의 정체성 형태에 대해 살펴보자 (96)
Crash
A sexually frustrated couple starts experimenting with the outlines of
anonymous sex. It is the husband James Ballard (James Spader) who gets
into a car crash with Dr. Ellen Remington (Holly Hunter) and her husband.
They crash frontally and both Ballard and Remington are seriously injured.
Remington's husband dies while being launched from his seat through his
own windshield into Ballards. Ballard ends up in the hospital, traumatized,
trying to recover from his injuries. He gets into deeper contact with Helen
Remington. Their mutual Crash-victim status brings them closer together,
ultimately delivering them into the sump-oil-soaked world of the
pathological Vaughan (Elias Koteas). Renagade scientist and leader of a
strange subbterranean group, Vaughan is only able to achieve sexual release
by crashing into people on the motorways surrounding Heathrow airport.
Getting sucked into his world, Ballard becomes obsessed with car crashes,
and dives into the illegal world of "thrill seeking" and raw and hard (but
mostly cold) sex.
The review:
To be quiet honest "Crash" is a very underestimated picture. First of all there
are a serious amount of people who thought that the subject was laughable,
and not to be taken serious, for how could you take something like this
serious ?
After crashing your car and being injured, having sex with the victim of a
car-crash ?
Apart from the post-traumatic stress that can appear after such an incident it
also triggers a lot of adrenaline, which is almost a self produced drug.
Cronenberg cuts a subject which is still very much of a taboo, the "thrill
seeking taboo". You got a lot of so called thrill seekers now these days,
which can result into ghost riding on the freeway, climbing on buildings
without security etc. All in all the thrill seek element isn't that original.
This is where Cronenberg has looked for a thrill that rushes into a perverse
sexual outburst. After the shock of crashing into a car, the adrenaline, the
rush of the experience becomes so real, you feel so alive that you need to
let it all out, which comes into the act of "making love". Cronenberg is trying
to paint the audience a picture of an event like this.
Based on J.G. Ballards novel "Crash" which was quiet deattached and cold,
the director follows in style with the dark freeways of Canada, showing that
even in your car you are not always save, and how a car can become the
ultimate "drive“ for pleasure. The problem with this film (like many others) is
that it is so far out there that you either hate it or love it. The pacing is
rather slow in the beginning and its hard to get into, if you don't understand
the psycholgy that lies underneath the dialog. The movie has a solid script
but the subject and material is not accessible for everybody. James Spader
who often (he almost could be a stereotype) plays sexual frustated
protagonists ("Sex,Lies,and Videotapes", "Secretary", "Speaking of Sex")
delivers a terrific performance here. His distant and alienated acting fits
perfectly into the dark en and sensual story, and doesn't come as a insincere
or "over the top". Some people felt that Koteas and Hunter performances
where a little flat, but they have just the balance between low key and an
over the top performance (Koteas more than Hunter). You got to keep in
mind that these people are already deranged from the beginning. What you
see is simply a drop falling into bucket that is overflowing.
The use of light and shadow is very subtile and excellently done by
cinematographer Peter Suschitzky. He really knows how to pull you into a
certain world, that LOOKS like ours but feels very different. In any case I can
recommend the movie if you want to watch something different. A lot of
people will not understand the weight this film carries, and therefore this
movie will be underrated, or simply will be put aside as boring or unrealistic.
THIS IS A MISTAKE,... don't put it away, watch it, and feel the awkwardness.
The result ?
Crash
A black detective, Graham Waters (Don Cheadle), speaks dazedly about the
nature of L.A. and the need for people to crash into each other. A Latino
woman driving the car Waters is in, Ria (Jennifer Esposito), mentions that
they were hit from behind. She ensues to argue with the other driver as
Waters gets out of the car.
Walking to a nearby crime scene, the police officer there informs Waters of a
newly discovered body. A shoe is seen, while Waters stares at something off
screen on the ground. He is horrified by the latter.
At a gun shop, Iranian Farhad (Shaun Toub) and his daughter Dorri (Bahar
Soomekh) are buying a gun. The shop's owner, angered by the two speaking
Persian, tells them to leave his shop, ending in an infuriated Farhad being
escorted outside. After being harassed with sexually charged comments from
the shop owner, Dorri hurriedly purchases the gun and buys a box of bullets.
Two young black men, Anthony (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) and Peter (Larenz
Tate), leave a restaurant. Anthony is lecturing Peter on racism when they walk
past Rick Cabot (Brendan Fraser), the local D.A., and his wife, Jean (Sandra
Bullock). The two men then promptly carjack them. Inside Rick's Navigator,
Peter puts a St. Christopher statue on the dashboard.
At the Cabot house, Jean is upset. A locksmith (Michael Pena) is changing
the locks, and overhears her telling Rick to hire another locksmith in the
morning, labelling the current one as a gang member. The locksmith, Daniel
Ruiz, hears this and leaves insulted.
In a diner, two Asian men talk about a pickup of items. Nearby, LAPD Officer
John Ryan (Matt Dillon) speaks with an HMO administrator (Loretta Devine)
about his father's medical ailment. When a racist comment is made by Ryan
because Shaniqua refuses to help, she hangs up.
As Ryan leaves, a white van containing the Asians passes by. He and his
partner, Tom Hansen (Ryan Phillipe) begin their evening patrol and notice a
black Navigator. Ignoring Hansen's protests, Ryan pulls the car over because
the occupants are black. The cops order the couple, director Cameron Thayer
(Terrence Howard) and his wife Christine (Thandie Newton) to exit. Cameron
is polite, but Christine, who's a little drunk, taunts the cops. An angry Ryan
makes an example of the woman by "frisking" her, in reality, sexual molesting
her. Thayer says nothing. Once Ryan's done, the couple is let go.
At Farhad's shop, his wife Shereen (Marina Sirtis) notes that the door doesn't
close right. Dorri loads the gun with the bullets.
At the Thayers' house, Christine is enraged that Cameron did nothing.
Cameron insists what he did was correct, and the argument ends with
Christine storming out.
At his home, Daniel talks to his daughter, Lara, who is hiding under her bed
after hearing a gun shot. To "protect" her from bullets, Daniel gives her an
"invisible impenetrable cloak". He then lovingly puts her to bed, only to get
a page for another locksmith job.
In the SUV, Anthony and Peter continue talking about racism, and country
music. As they talk, they pass a van and hit something. Getting out, they see
that they hit an Asian man (one of the two from earlier). Unsure as to what
to do, they eventually pull him out from under the car and dump him in
front of a hospital.
At the police station, Hansen talks to his superior, Lt. Dixon (Keith David)
about switching partners. Dixon, a black man, claims that Hansen's "Ryan's
racist" claim could cost them (Hansen and Dixon) both their jobs. Dixon
suggests a transfer to a one-man car, due to uncontrollable flatulence.
Daniel replaces the lock, but tells Farhad he needs a new door. Farhad
doesn't listen and, thinking he is being cheated, refusing to pay. Daniel
crumples up his workorder and throws it away, leaving irritated.
At a chop shop, the owner, Lucien (Dato Bakhtadze), tells Anthony and Peter
that he can't take the car due to the bloodstains.
Waters and Ria are making love when the phone rings. Upset that Waters
answered, and that he says he's with a white woman to annoy his mother,
Ria angrily leaves.
The next morning, Farhad discovers that his shop has been wrecked and
tagged with racist graffitti.
Jean angrily berates her Mexican maid, Maria, for the lack of clean dishes.
Anthony refuses to take the bus and claims that he'd never rob a black
person.
Ryan visits Shaniqua in person. Apologising, Ryan says his father, who has a
bladder infection, has an incompetent HMO. He wants a transfer, but is told
that their health plan won't cover it. Furious, Ryan tells of his father's acts on
behalf of blacks and how he lost everything due to Affirmative Action. He
begs her to help, and she says that if his father had come, she would have.
Shereen tries to clean the mess, wondering when Persians became Arabs.
Waters goes to visit his mother. She lives in a small apartment and is high on
cocaine, worried about his little brother who is missing. Waters promises to
find him, noticing before leaving the lack of food. Outside, Ria has no clue
what is actually happening.
In the studio, where Cameron works, a white producer says a black actor isn't
acting ‘black’ enough. Cameron thinks he's kidding, but is made to re-shoot
the scene. Christine then appears and wants to talk about the previous
evening, saying that he lost his dignity. Cameron is livid and leaves her in
tears.
An insurance man tells the Persians that their insurance won't cover the
damage, calling it a case of negligence on Farhad’s behalf. Farhad vows
revenge, but the locksmith company won't tell him Daniel’s name.
Going out on shift, Ryan says goodbye to Hansen, claiming that Hansen
doesn't know himself as well as he thinks. Meanwhile, a dispatcher makes a
joke at Hansen's flatulence problem.
Farhad discovers Daniel’s address through his tossed away work order.
At the scene of an accident, Ryan runs to an overturned car, where a woman
is trapped inside. The woman is revealed to be Christine Thayer, who, upon
recognizing Ryan, screams for him to leave. Unfortunately, gas is pouring
from a nearby flaming wreck, and has been set ablaze. With the assistance
of his partner and spectators, Ryan manages to pull Christine out just as the
car explodes. A grateful Christine looks back at Ryan as she is taken away.
Jake Flanagan (William Fichtner), Rick's campaign manager, offers Waters a
position in Office. Waters refuses, but as an incentive, Flanagan offers to
acquit his missing bother’s criminal record. Waters eventually agrees.
Driving alone in his Navigator, Cameron comes to a stop sign. Suddenly,
Anthony and Peter appear to carjack him, realizing too late that he is black.
A fight ensues when Cameron fights back, which is seen by some nearby
cops. Peter leaves as Cameron and Anthony take off in the car. After a chase,
the car is cornered. Cameron gets out and threatens the cops, while Anthony
hides in the passenger seat. Hansen, who responded to the call, recognizes
Cameron and talks him down. When they are released, Cameron calls Anthony
an embarrassment and sends him away.
Farhad confronts Daniel when he returns home and points his gun at him,
demanding money. Seeing this, Lara runs out to protect him with her "cloak",
just as the shot is fired. For a moment, it looks bad, but miraculously, the little
girl is okay. Daniel carries his daughter away as Farhad leaves, confused.
As his mother sleeps, Waters returns with fresh groceries and places them in
her fridge.
After telling a friend that she wakes up angry everyday, Jean slips and falls
down some stairs.
Later that evening, while hitchhiking, Peter is picked up by Hansen, who is offduty. They chat, but problems soon arise. Peter laughs at the statue of St
Christopher on Hansen's dashboard and tries to get his out of his pocket.
Thinking the worst, Hansen shoots him dead. Horrified when he sees Peter's
statue, Hansen dumps the body.
Back to the opening scene, Peter is revealed to be Waters' missing brother,
which explains his look of horror.
Anthony rides a bus and, while observing the other passengers, notices
something. He gets out and goes to the white van from earlier and takes it.
The Asian woman from the rear end in the film's opening arrives at a hospital
for her husband, the man Anthony and Peter hit. Still coherent, he tells her
to cash a check that he has.
Anthony takes the van to the chop shop, where a bunch of illegal
immigrants are found in the back. Lucien offers $500 for each.
When Mrs. Waters sees Peter's dead body at a morgue, she breaks down in
tears. Waters promises his mother to find who is responsible for Peter's
death, however, she tells him she already knows who is responsible -- Waters.
She tells him he is to blame because she asked him to find his missing
brother and he failed to do so because he was "too busy with other things."
She claims she and Peter are not a priority to Waters anymore. She also tells
Waters that Peter must have come home when she was sleeping, because he
filled her refrigerator with groceries. Waters stares at his mother with
resignation and sadness and lets her believe the best about Peter, while Ria
looks on, unaware of the significance of the exchange.
Dorri comes to see Farhad, who explains what happened. He thinks that the
little girl was his angel and tells her its okay. As Dorri removes the gun and
box of bullets, we see that the bullets were actually blanks.
Rick and Jean talk on the phone. Ironically, none of Jean's friends had arrived
to help her, and she had been taken to the emergency room by Maria.
Miserably, she hugs her housekeeper and tells Maria that she is her closest
friend.
Hansen abandons his car and sets it on fire. Cameron later finds it and, as it
snows, throws a block of wood into the blaze. Christine then calls him and
they forgive each other.
Anthony, having refused the money, drops the immigrants off in Chinatown
and gives one of them money for food. He then leaves, feeling redeemed.
Nearby, a minor rear ender occurs and Shaniqua and another driver start
yelling at each other as the snow falls.
Crash is a drama filmdirected by Paul Haggis. It premiered at the Toronto
Film Festival in September 2004, and was released internationally in 2005.
The film is about racial and social tensions in Los Angeles. A self-described
"passion piece" for director Paul Haggis, Crash was inspired by a real life
incident in which his Porsche was carjacked outside a video store on Wilshire
Boulevard in 1991.[1]
It won three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best
Editing of 2005 at the 78th Academy Awards.
주제) The all-encompassing theme of the film is racism, and it is dealt with
bluntly, honestly, and without reservation. Every single character participates
in the perpetuation of the ugly cycle but also suffers because of it.
Where racism makes for an interesting enough subject for an already
provoking and fairly experimental film (I was surprised to see this get wide
release), it's only the catalyst for a deeper, resounding story of redemption
and the universality of our lonely situation which the movie becomes during
its second hour (what you could call Act II). It switches from a somewhat
depressing contemplative amalgamation of moments about racism in
everyday life and how destructive it is, to a throbbing, intense web of
choices and consequences -- life and death, vivifying or soul killing -- and
the chance at redemption.
Following their actions in Act I, everyone meets a fork in the road or is given
a second chance of some sort. Some take it, some don't, but regardless, by
the end of the movie everyone has changed. This is what gives the movie
wings during its second hour, makes it interesting, keeps you guessing and
on knife's-edge. It also gives the characters depth and souls and shows that
despite perceived and upheld differences, when it comes down to it we
aren't different (which we see in a shattering scene between Ryan Philippe
and Larenz Tate after Tate notices that he and Philippe have the same St.
Christopher statue), in fact we desperately need each other. It's one of the
few films I've seen where everyone is at fault somehow and yet there are no
villains. It makes it hopeful, particularly with something as ugly as racism:
everyone's fallible, but everyone has the capacity for good and nobility. That
said, each of these character's inner struggles makes for all the conflict and
resolution you need.
주요인물)
Rick Cabot
Rick Cabot (Brendan Fraser) is the white District Attorney of Los Angeles. He
and his wife Jean are carjacked by Anthony and Peter, both of whom are
black. Subsequently the Brentwood resident tries to save his political career
by reassuring voters that he is racially sensitive. His character is never
depicted as openly bigoted, making his racial stance ambiguous.
Jean Cabot
Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) is Rick's wife, whose racial prejudices escalate
after the carjacking. At the end of the film, following an accident in her
home, she realizes that the person who is the kindest and most helpful to
her is Maria, her Hispanic maid, while her snobby friends are too busy with
shallow pursuits.
Anthony
Anthony (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) is an African-American inner-city car thief
who steals vehicles for a bigoted chop shop owner. He believes that society
is unfairly biased against blacks, and at one point in the film he justifies his
actions by claiming he would never hurt another black person. However,
Anthony tells Peter to shoot a black man, Cameron, after they try to carjack
his car and he fights back. A disgusted Cameron kicks Anthony out of his car
and says "You embarrass me. You embarrass yourself." Towards the end of
the movie, Anthony steals a van which - unknown to him at the time - was
full of trafficked people from South East Asia. He refers to these immigrants
disparagingly as Chinamen, but when the owner of the chop shop offers him
$500 per head for the immigrants with the intention of selling them on,
Anthony refuses. Instead, he lets them out onto the Asian district of LA in
the closing scenes of the movie. Anthony gives them all of the money that is
in his pocket – $40.
Peter Waters
Peter Waters (Larenz Tate) is Anthony's friend and partner in crime. He is also
Detective Waters' younger brother. Like Anthony, he is black, but he
humorously scoffs at Anthony's paranoia over racism. He also likes the Los
Angeles Kings hockey team. Peter is shot to death by Officer Hansen, who
picks him up in the valley hours after their failed carjacking of Cameron's
SUV and mistakenly shoots him after assuming he is drawing a gun. In
reality he was reaching into his pocket to show the cop a figure of Saint
Christopher, identical to the one Officer Hansen had stuck to his dashboard.
Graham Waters
Graham Waters (Don Cheadle) is an African American detective in the Los
Angeles Police Department. He is disconnected from his poor family, which
consists of his drug-addicted mother and criminal younger brother. He
promises his mother that he will find his younger brother, but he is
preoccupied with a case concerning a suspected racist white cop who shot a
corrupt black cop. Flanagan (William Fichtner) an assistant district attorney,
offers Graham the chance to further his career in exchange for withholding
evidence that could possibly have helped the white cop's case. Flanagan also
tries to convince Graham that the black community needs to see the black
cop as a hero, and not as a drug dealer, as Graham suspects that he may
have been. Graham is both offended and opposed, and is ready to storm out,
when Flanagan mentions that there is a warrant out for Graham's brother's
arrest, and that this is his third felony, which carries a life sentence in the
state of California. Graham makes a very difficult personal decision to
withhold evidence and possibly corrupt a case in order to have the District
Attorney forget about his brother. That brother is eventually revealed to be
Peter, the hitchhiker who is killed by Officer Hansen.
LA 교외의 한 도로에서 시체가 발견된다. 현장에 도착한 수사관 그레이엄(돈 치들)의 표
정이 당혹과 슬픔으로 일그러지는 순간, 이야기는 36시간 전, 15명의 삶으로 돌아간다.
백인 부부 릭과 진 - 지방검사 릭(브랜든 프레이져)과 그의 아내 진(산드라 블록)이 두
흑인청년에게 차를 강탈당한 밤, 아내 진은 주위 모든 것에 화가 난다. 집문 열쇠를 수리
하러 온 멕시칸 남자 대니얼은 의심스럽고 가정부에겐 짜증이 난다. 그러나 그녀는 지금
모르고 있다. 자신이 정치적 성공에 몰두한 남편 때문에 외로우며, 36시간 후 결코 예상
하지 못했던 기적을 만난 다는 것을...
흑인 부부 카메론과 크리스틴 - 같은 시간, 흑인이자 방송국 PD인 카메론(테렌스 하워드)
과 아내 크리스틴(탠디 뉴튼)은 지방검사 릭의 강탈당한 차와 같은 차종이라는 이유로
백인 경찰 라이언과 핸슨에게 검문을 당한다. 라이언은 여자에게 몸수색을 이유로 성적
모욕을 준다. 수치를 당한 아내는 남편을 비난한다. 그러나 남편은 그 사건이 자신의 지
위에 위협을 줄까 두렵다. 아직... 그는 자신이 지켜야 할 것이 무엇인지 모르고 있다.
백인 경찰 라이언과 핸슨 - 라이언(맷 딜런)은 아버지의 병 수발이 힘들기만 하다. 그의
폭력은 병든 아버지로부터 받는 아픔에 대한 화풀이일 뿐이지만, 그는 아직 자신이 수치
심을 안겨준 흑인 여자(크리스틴)와의 운명적 만남을 알지 못한다. 또한, 핸슨(라이언 필
립)은 라이언의 행동에 분노하지만 36시간 후, 그 역시 편견에 사로잡힌 엄청난 충돌이
있음을 감히 상상도 못한다.
이란인 파라드와 멕시칸 대니얼 - 페르시아계 이민자인 파라드는 자신의 가게를 지키기
위해 총을 사고 열쇠를 고치지만, 자신이 무시당하고 있다고 느낀다. 도둑이 가게에 침입
한 날, 그것이 열쇠 수리공 멕시칸 대니얼 때문이라고 생각한 파라드는 결국, 대니얼의
어린 딸을 향해 총을 쏘게 된다. 그리고, 이 모든 오해는 기적과 구원을 가져온다.
흑인형사 그레이엄 - 살인사건의 현장, 그가 보고 있는 시체는 자신의 동생이다. 백인사
회에서 성공을 위해 가족으로부터 스스로 소외를 선택한 그이지만, 지금 그 앞엔 동생의
시체와 함께 '동생을 죽인 살인자는 너'라는 어머니의 비난만 남아있다.
흑인청년 피터와 앤쏘니 - 36시간 전, 지방검사 릭의 차를 강탈했던 피터와 앤쏘니. 피터
는 수많은 사람들과의 만남 끝에 집으로 향하고 있었다. 그리고... 당신이 절대 상상할 수
없었던 충돌을 맞이한다.
LA. 결말을 예측할 수 없는 36시간을 향해 그들은 서로 교차하고 충돌하며 달려가고 있
다.
아직, 그들은 모르고 있다. 서로와의 충돌이 어떤 영향을 가져올 것인지...
From Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Plot Overview
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl opens with an introduction in which the
author, Harriet Jacobs, states her reasons for writing an autobiography. Her
story is painful, and she would rather have kept it private, but she feels that
making it public may help the antislavery movement. A preface by abolitionist
Lydia Maria Child makes a similar case for the book and states that the events
it records are true.
Jacobs uses the pseudonym Linda Brent to narrate her first-person account.
Born into slavery, Linda spends her early years in a happy home with her
mother and father, who are relatively well-off slaves. When her mother dies,
six-year-old Linda is sent to live with her mother’s mistress, who treats her
well and teaches her to read. After a few years, this mistress dies and
bequeaths Linda to a relative. Her new masters are cruel and neglectful, and
Dr. Flint, the father, soon begins pressuring Linda to have a sexual relationship
with him. Linda struggles against Flint’s overtures for several years. He
pressures and threatens her, and she defies and outwits him. Knowing that
Flint will eventually get his way, Linda consents to a love affair with a white
neighbor, Mr. Sands, saying that she is ashamed of this illicit relationship but
finds it preferable to being raped by the loathsome Dr. Flint. With Mr. Sands,
she has two children, Benny and Ellen. Linda argues that a powerless slave girl
cannot be held to the same standards of morality as a free woman. She also
has practical reasons for agreeing to the affair: she hopes that when Flint
finds out about it, he will sell her to Sands in disgust. Instead, the vengeful
Flint sends Linda to his plantation to be broken in as a field hand.
When she discovers that Benny and Ellen are to receive similar treatment,
Linda hatches a desperate plan. Escaping to the North with two small children
would be impossible. Unwilling to submit to Dr. Flint’s abuse, but equally
unwilling to abandon her family, she hides in the attic crawl space in the
house of her grandmother, Aunt Martha. She hopes that Dr. Flint, under the
false impression that she has gone North, will sell her children rather than risk
having them disappear as well. Linda is overjoyed when Dr. Flint sells Benny
and Ellen to a slave trader who is secretly representing Mr. Sands. Mr. Sands
promises to free the children one day and sends them to live with Aunt
Martha. But Linda’s triumph comes at a high price. The longer she stays in her
tiny garret, where she can neither sit nor stand, the more physically
debilitated she becomes. Her only pleasure is to watch her children through a
tiny peephole, as she cannot risk letting them know where she is. Mr. Sands
marries and becomes a congressman. He brings Ellen to Washington, D.C., to
look after his newborn daughter, and Linda realizes that Mr. Sands may never
free her children. Worried that he will eventually sell them to slave traders,
she determines that she must somehow flee with them to the North. However,
Dr. Flint continues to hunt for her, and escape remains too risky.
After seven years in the attic, Linda finally escapes to the North by boat.
Benny remains with Aunt Martha, and Linda is reunited with Ellen, who is now
nine years old and living in Brooklyn, New York. Linda is dismayed to find that
her daughter is still held in virtual slavery by Mr. Sands’s cousin, Mrs. Hobbs.
She fears that Mrs. Hobbs will take Ellen back to the South, putting her
beyond Linda’s reach forever. She finds work as a nursemaid for a New York
City family, the Bruces, who treat her very kindly. Dr. Flint continues to pursue
Linda, and she flees to Boston. There, she is reunited with Benny. Dr. Flint now
claims that the sale of Benny and Ellen was illegitimate, and Linda is terrified
that he will re-enslave all of them. After a few years, Mrs. Bruce dies, and
Linda spends some time living with her children in Boston. She spends a year
in England caring for Mr. Bruce’s daughter, and for the first time in her life she
enjoys freedom from racial prejudice.
When Linda returns to Boston, Ellen goes to boarding school and Benny
moves to California with Linda’s brother William. Mr. Bruce remarries, and
Linda takes a position caring for their new baby. Dr. Flint dies, but his
daughter, Emily, writes to Linda to claim ownership of her. The Fugitive Slave
Act is passed by Congress, making Linda extremely vulnerable to kidnapping
and re-enslavement.
Emily Flint and her husband, Mr. Dodge, arrive in New York to capture Linda.
Linda goes into hiding, and the new Mrs. Bruce offers to purchase her
freedom. Linda refuses, unwilling to be bought and sold yet again, and makes
plans to follow Benny to California. Mrs. Bruce buys Linda anyway. Linda is
devastated at being sold and furious with Emily Flint and the whole slave
system. However, she says she remains grateful to Mrs. Bruce, who is still her
employer when she writes the book. She notes that she still has not yet
realized her dream of making a home for herself and her children to share.
The book closes with two testimonials to its accuracy, one from Amy Post, a
white abolitionist, and the other from George W. Lowther, a black antislavery
writer.
Linda Brent - The book’s protagonist and a pseudonym for the author. Linda
begins life innocently, unaware of her enslaved state. In the face of betrayal
and harassment at the hands of her white masters, she soon develops the
knowledge, skills, and determination that she needs to defend herself. Linda is
torn between a desire for personal freedom and a feeling of responsibility to
her family, particularly her children.
Read an in-depth analysis of Linda Brent.
Dr. Flint - Linda’s master, enemy, and would-be lover. Although Dr. Flint has
the legal right to “use” Linda in any way he chooses, he seeks to seduce her
by means of threats and trickery rather than outright force. Linda’s
rebelliousness enrages him, and he becomes obsessed with the idea of
breaking her will. Throughout the long battle over Linda’s right to own herself,
Dr. Flint never shows any sign of remorse or understanding that she is a
person with rights and feelings.
Read an in-depth analysis of Dr. Flint.
Aunt Martha - Linda’s maternal grandmother and chief ally. Aunt Martha is
pious and patient, suffering silently as she watches her children and
grandchildren sold off and abused by their masters. Aunt Martha also
represents a kind of maternal selfishness, grieving when her loved ones
escape to freedom because she will never see them again. For her, family ties
must be preserved at all costs, even if it means a life spent in slavery.
Read an in-depth analysis of Aunt Martha.
Mrs. Flint - Linda’s mistress and Dr. Flint’s jealous wife. Mrs. Flint is
characterized mainly by her hypocrisy. She is a church woman who
supposedly suffers from weak nerves, but she treats her slaves with
callousness and brutality. Mrs. Flint demonstrates how the slave system has
distorted the character of southern women.
Mr. Sands - Linda’s white lover and the father of her children. Mr. Sands has
a kindlier nature than Dr. Flint, but he feels no real love or responsibility for
his mixed-race children. He repeatedly breaks his promises to Linda that he
will free them.
Uncle Benjamin - Linda’s beloved uncle, a slave who defies and beats his
master and then runs away. Uncle Benjamin’s successful escape inspires Linda,
but also shows her that to run away means to give up all family and
community ties.
Benny and Ellen - Linda’s children with Mr. Sands. Linda loves Benny and
Ellen passionately, and her feelings about them drive the book’s action. Benny
and Ellen are dutiful children but otherwise are not characterized in great
detail.
Uncle Phillip - Linda’s other uncle, instrumental in her escape. Uncle Phillip is
reliable and moderate, remaining in the South with his family long after his
mother, Aunt Martha, buys his freedom.
William - Linda’s brother, to whom she is close. William’s escape from Mr.
Sands, his relatively “kind” master, shows that even a privileged slave desires
freedom above all else.
Aunt Nancy - Linda’s maternal aunt and Mrs. Flint’s slave. A martyr figure,
Aunt Nancy is slowly killed by Mrs. Flint’s abuse.
Peter - A family friend who helps Linda escape. Peter urges Linda to risk the
escape he has planned rather than to remain in her attic hideaway.
The “white benefactress” - An upper-class white friend of Aunt Martha’s
who hides Linda for a while. She is not named even with a pseudonym and is
one of the few genuinely sympathetic slave owners in the book.
Betty - A slave in the household of the white benefactress. Betty is
uneducated but an intelligent, loyal, and resourceful slave who provides
material assistance and encouragement to Linda.
Sally - A family friend who lives with Aunt Martha and helps Linda escape
into hiding.
Aggie - An old slave woman who tells Aunt Martha to rejoice that William
has run away. Aggie provides a counterpoint to Aunt Martha’s reluctance to
see her loved ones escape to the North.
Emily Flint - Dr. Flint’s daughter and Linda’s legal “owner.” Emily Flint serves
mainly as Dr. Flint’s puppet, sometimes writing Linda letters in her name,
trying to trick her into returning to Dr. Flint.
Mr. Dodge - Emily Flint’s husband, who seeks to recapture Linda after Dr.
Flint dies. Although Mr. Dodge is northern by birth, entering southern society
has made him feel as floundering and desensitized as any native-born slave
holder.
Nicholas Flint - Dr. Flint’s son. Nicholas is essentially a carbon copy of his
father, with the same lecherous tendencies toward his female slaves that Dr.
Flint has.
Young Mrs. Flint - Nicholas’s bride. Seemingly kind at first, young Mrs. Flint
provides further evidence of the cruelty of slaveholding women when she
orders an elderly slave to eat grass.
Mrs. Hobbs - Mr. Sands’s New York cousin, to whom he “gives” Ellen. Mrs.
Hobbs is a little slice of the Old South in Brooklyn, selfishly treating Ellen as
property and highlighting the continued danger for escaped slaves even after
they reach the Free States.
Mr. Thorne - A southerner visiting Brooklyn who betrays Linda’s whereabouts
to Dr. Flint. Like Mrs. Hobbs, Mr. Thorne signals that a fugitive slave can never
feel safe again.
Mrs. Bruce (#1) - Linda’s first employer in New York City. Mrs. Bruce is a
kindly Englishwoman who helps Linda hide from the Flints. She dies and is
replaced by Mrs. Bruce #2.
Mr. Bruce - Mrs. Bruce’s husband, who takes Linda on a trip to England.
Mrs. Bruce (#2) - Mr. Bruce’s second wife. The second Mrs. Bruce is an
abolitionist American who protects Linda at great risk to herself and ultimately
buys her freedom from Mr. Dodge. Linda claims to be very grateful to Mrs.
Bruce but is also very upset at being purchased by her.
Amy and Isaac Post - Abolitionist antislavery friends of Linda’s in Rochester.
The Posts appear in the book under their real names. They show Linda that it
is possible for white people to treat her as an equal.
Reverend and Mrs. Durham - Free blacks, and the first people Linda meets
in Philadelphia. The Durhams, with their legitimate marriage and morally
upstanding lives, remind Linda that slavery has robbed her of the chance to
have a normal existence.
Fanny - A slave friend of Linda’s with whom she escapes by boat to the
North. Fanny had the devastating experience of watching all of her children
be sold to slave traders.
Miss Fanny - An elderly woman and the sister of Aunt Martha’s mistress.
Miss Fanny buys and frees Aunt Martha when Dr. Sands puts her on the
auction block.
Luke - An acquaintance of Linda’s from home whom she meets on the street
in New York. Luke has escaped by stealing money from his dead master, and
Linda uses him as an example of how slaves cannot be judged by the same
moral standards as free citizens.
Themes
The Corrupting Power of Slavery
Jacobs takes great pains to prove that there can be no “good” slave masters.
She argues that slavery destroys the morality of slave holders, almost without
exception. Slave holders such as Dr. Flint become inhumane monsters. With
no legal checks on their behavior, they inflict every conceivable kind of torture
on their servants. Most slave masters view slaves as little more than animals
or objects, never acknowledging their humanity. But even “kindly” slave
holders, such as Mr. Sands, show themselves capable of betraying their slaves
when it is convenient or profitable. Mr. Sands promises to free his slave
children and may even intend to do so at first. However, in the slave system,
such good intentions are easily forgotten. If a slave owner such as Mr. Sands
encounters financial problems, he will likely be tempted to sell his own
children to get himself out of trouble. Thus, slavery distorts even the most
basic emotional instinct: the love of a parent for a child.
Slaves also suffer from the influence of the slave system on their moral
development. Linda does not condemn slaves for illegal or immoral acts such
as theft or adultery, saying that they usually have no choice but to behave
this way. However, she also points out that slaves have no reason to develop a
strong ethical sense, as they are given no ownership of themselves or final
control over their actions. This is not their fault, but the fault of the system
that dehumanizes them. Slaves are not evil like their masters, but important
parts of their personalities are left undeveloped.
Domesticity As Paradise and Prison
At the end of Incidents, Linda states that she is still waiting to have her
greatest dream fulfilled—that of creating a real home for herself and her
children. The desire for a comfortable and safe home runs throughout this
book, reflecting the cult of domesticity that would have been familiar to
Jacobs’s mostly white female readers in the nineteenth century. During
Jacobs’s time, women were relegated to the domestic sphere and expected to
find all of their fulfillment in caring for their homes and children. Women were
considered to be housewives by their very natures, unfit for any other kind of
life. As a black woman excluded from this value system, unable even to live
with her children, Linda’s longing for a home is understandable.
Jacobs does not always present the domestic sphere as an uncomplicated
good. Aunt Martha, the book’s representative of domesticity and the only
black woman Linda knows who has a real home, is both a positive and a
negative character. She is caring and stable, the backbone of her family and a
paragon of domestic virtue. Her tidy home is a refuge and a lifeline for Linda
from the time her own mother dies. But at times in which Linda needs
encouragement in her quest for freedom and independence, Aunt Martha and
her house become a discouraging, even confining force. Placing her children’s
needs above her own, Linda remains a virtual captive in Aunt Martha’s home
until she is permanently crippled. Hence, home and family are valuable, but
they must be balanced with personal freedom. Otherwise, they may
overwhelm a woman’s individuality.
The Psychological Abuses of Slavery
Most slave narratives emphasize the physical brutality and deprivation that
slaves were forced to endure, presenting gory descriptions of beatings and
lynchings to shock the reader. Jacobs does not ignore such issues, but her
focus on slaves’ mental and spiritual anguish makes an important contribution
to the genre. As a slave with a relatively “easy” life, Linda does not have to
endure constant beatings and hard physical labor. However, she and many of
the other slaves around her suffer greatly from being denied basic human
rights and legal protection. Men and women are not permitted to marry
whomever they choose—they often are not allowed to marry at all. Women
are frequently forced to sleep with the masters they despise. Worst of all,
families are torn apart, with children sold to a place far away from their
parents. Thus, even slaves who are not beaten or starved are stripped of their
humanity. When Linda states that she would rather be a desperately poor
English farm laborer than a “pampered” slave, she underscores the point that
slavery’s mental cruelty is every bit as devastating as its physical abuses.
Motifs
Fractured Family Ties
There is only one intact black family in this book, and it does not live in the
South. The happy Durham family, whom Linda meets in Philadelphia, contrasts
starkly with the situation of black families living under slavery. Aunt Martha
struggles to keep her family together, but sees nearly all of her children sold.
Linda is taken away from her father at age six to live with her mistress. Her
mistress acts as a sort of mother to Linda, but she shows how little this
relationship means to her when she treats Linda as property in her will. Linda
is also denied the right to raise her own children and meets many women
who will never see their children again. Slaves are often not allowed to marry,
and if they are, husband and wife cannot always live together. White men
father children with black women but feel no parental obligation to them, and
they abuse them or sell them as if they were unrelated. If a white woman and
a black man have a child together, the woman’s family will frequently have the
infant killed. Even privileged white families do not care for their own children,
fostering them out to slave wet nurses. Finally, pseudofamilial ties that
develop between white and black half-siblings and foster siblings are broken
as soon as the whites deem it appropriate. Normal human relationships
simply cannot survive the disruptions of the slave system.
Confinement
Linda’s seven-year imprisonment in Aunt Martha’s attic may be the narrative’s
most spectacular example of confinement, but it is not the only one. Dr. Flint
seeks to lock Linda up in an isolated cottage in the woods so he can sleep
with her freely. Linda’s Uncle Benjamin is jailed for six months before he finally
escapes. Dr. Flint imprisons Linda’s brother and small children when he finds
that she has run away. Linda herself is confined in several places, including
under the floorboards of her the house of her “white benefactress.” She
continues to feel circumscribed by slavery even after she reaches New York.
After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, she becomes a virtual prisoner in
her employers’ home.
The greatest confinements of all, though, may be mental. Masters keep slaves
trapped by ignorance: unable to read, they cannot question the pro-slavery
claims that the Bible dictates their condition. They know nothing of life
beyond their immediate surroundings, and many believe that free blacks in
the North are starving in the streets and begging to return to slavery.
Graphic Violence
Violence is a motif common to all slave narratives, and Incidents is no
exception. One of Linda’s earliest memories is hearing Dr. Flint brutally whip
one of his plantation slaves. She recalls seeing the blood and gore on the
walls the next morning. Mrs. Flint, a supposed Christian, orders slaves
whipped until they bleed and spits in their food so they will have to go
hungry. She forces Aunt Nancy to sleep on the floor outside her room,
continuing this practice even when Nancy is pregnant, causing her to give
birth to many stillborn babies. Mrs. Flint’s treatment of Aunt Nancy, as Linda
points out, amounts to murder committed very slowly. Slaves are burned,
frozen, and whipped to death. Their wounds are washed with brine for further
agonizing torture. Jacobs includes such accounts throughout the book,
narrating them in detail to shock the reader into sympathy for slaves and to
goad him or her into joining the abolitionist movement. Such stories of
violence also counteract the common proslavery claim that most slaves were
well cared for and led happy, peaceful lives.
Symbols
Dr. Flint
Dr. Flint is based on Harriet Jacobs’s real-life master, and there is no reason to
think that she exaggerated his vicious nature. Through historical research,
scholars have confirmed that her depiction of him is accurate. However, in
addition to his role in the true events of Jacobs’s life story, Dr. Flint also
functions as the book’s main symbol of the slave system. He is monstrously
cruel, hypocritical, and conniving, and he never experiences a moment of guilt,
self-doubt, or sympathy for his victims. Given absolute power by the slave
system, Flint never questions his right to do whatever he pleases to his slaves.
He will accept nothing less than total submission from them. Dr. Flint aptly
symbolizes the defining qualities of slavery: lust for power, moral corruption,
and brutality. When Linda defies him, she threatens the legitimacy of slavery
itself—hence his insistence on “mastering” her.
Aunt Martha
Aunt Martha, religious, domestic, and patient, represents ideals of
womanhood and femininity that were important in Jacobs’s time. She lives for
her home and her children and wants only to keep her family intact. She is so
humble and pious that she believes that God has ordained her a slave for her
own good. All of this is in keeping with a set of sexual stereotypes called the
Cult of Domesticity (sometimes called “True Womanhood”), which dictated
that women were essentially pure, submissive, pious, and oriented toward the
private realm of home and family. Jacobs presents Aunt Martha as a
sympathetic, virtuous figure, but also uses her to question some of the
“feminine” values she represents, particularly as they apply to black women.
Her virtue, patience, and piety go unrewarded, as she sees most of her
children and grandchildren sold away or escaped to the North. Her last child,
Aunt Nancy, is slowly killed by slavery. Aunt Martha’s story suggests that if
slave women try to adhere to white middle-class ideas of how women should
behave, they will be rewarded only with greater suffering.
The Loophole of Retreat
Linda’s attic hideout, a place where she is so restricted that she cannot sit or
stand, represents all of the forces that keep her from being free. Conversely, it
also represents the space of freedom she creates for herself in her own mind.
Like slavery, the attic confines Linda’s body in terrible ways. She suffers
physically and psychologically, losing her ability to speak and walk and
becoming despairing and depressed. Her time in the attic almost kills her,
which causes the reader to recall how Dr. Flint had claimed his right, under
the laws of slavery, to do so himself.
However, the attic is also a prison of Linda’s own choosing, and in this regard
it differs from the imposed confinement of slavery. By going into hiding, she
rejects Dr. Flint’s claim to own her soul as well as her body. Just as she
decides to have consensual sex with Mr. Sands to avoid forced sex with Dr.
Flint, she chooses the tortures of the attic over Flint’s luxurious cottage in the
woods. She may have replaced one set of physical and emotional hardships
with another, but she has claimed her mind and spirit as her own. The
“loophole,” a peephole through which she can watch the outside world,
symbolizes the spiritual freedom Linda finds even in seemingly restricted
circumstances.
Important Quotations Explained
1. READER, be assured this narrative is no fiction. I am aware that some of my
adventures may seem incredible; but they are, nevertheless, strictly true. I
have not exaggerated the wrongs inflicted by Slavery; on the contrary, my
descriptions fall far short of the facts.
Explanation for Quotation 1 >>
Jacobs opens her autobiography with these boldly stated instructions to her
mostly white readers. This passage seeks to preempt a common criticism
aimed at slave narratives by proslavery forces: that they were fabricated or
inaccurate. Jacobs knows that many white northerners will be unwilling to
accept her story, so she must assert her authority over her narrative from the
start. She literally orders her readers to “be assured,” establishing an active,
confident narrative voice. Also, Jacobs is about to make her sexual
transgressions public, and she cannot trust genteel readers to be sympathetic.
Therefore, she lets her audience know that whatever their interpretation of her
story, she will remain firmly in control of it. Even as she asserts power over
her readers, Jacobs also creates a feeling of intimacy with them by addressing
them directly. This is an important strategy, given the sexually frank and
politically controversial nature of her text. By making her narrator seem like a
real person with whom readers can identify, she makes them less likely to
automatically reject her story as unbelievable or immoral.
Close
2. Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.
Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings,
and mortifications peculiarly their own.
Explanation for Quotation 2 >>
This passage from Chapter XIV embodies Jacobs’s most important
contribution to the literature of slavery—her depiction of the emotional
anguish of slave women. Most slave narratives were written by men, and
followed a standard formula that placed great emphasis on bodily pain and
physical endurance. They included graphic descriptions of whippings and
other physical abuses that stripped the slave of his masculinity. In order to
reclaim his manhood, the slave had to assert bodily control over his master by
fighting him. The male slave then endured more physical suffering during his
dangerous and solitary escape to the North. As a female slave with a very
different story to tell, Jacobs creates a new type of slave narrative. She
emphasizes that whether or not they are beaten, starved, or made to work in
the fields, all female slaves suffer horrible mental tortures such as sexual
harassment and the loss of their children. In repeated anecdotes, she portrays
the emotional agony of mothers whose children are taken from them, as well
as the shame of slave girls who are sexually victimized by white men. For
these women, such experiences were just as difficult as any physical
punishment, if not more so.
Close
3. When he told me that I was made for his use, made to obey his command
in every thing; that I was nothing but a slave, whose will must and should
surrender to his, never before had my puny arm felt half so strong.
Explanation for Quotation 3 >>
In this passage, Linda realizes that although Dr. Flint has complete legal
authority over her, she nonetheless has the power to resist him. His goading
causes her to erupt into the rebelliousness that will come to define her
character and will direct the course of her future. The statement appears in
Chapter IV, after Linda relates that Aunt Martha believes slavery to be God’s
will. Linda and William, taught by their parents to view themselves as selfrespecting human beings, do not agree with their grandmother’s submissive,
fatalistic attitude. They both long to take control of their own destinies. Soon
after her encounter with Dr. Flint, Linda advises William to be patient and
forgiving in the face of Nicholas Flint’s abusiveness. However, as soon as she
recommends this course of action, it occurs to her that she herself has no
intention of submitting to Dr. Flint’s control. Linda realizes that she will never
be able to bear slavery passively, and notes that the “war of [her] life had
begun.” This is an important moment of awakening for her, in which she finds
that although Flint owns her body, she can remain spiritually free.
Close
4. Pity me, and pardon me, O virtuous reader! You never knew what it is to be
a slave; to be entirely unprotected by law or custom; to have the laws reduce
you to the condition of a chattel, entirely subject to the will of another.
Explanation for Quotation 4 >>
In this remark from Chapter X, Jacobs makes one of her narrative’s most
powerful and radical claims: that other women have no right to condemn her
for her shocking revelations about her sexual history unless they have been
similarly victimized. As in the Preface, she uses a direct tone, taking charge of
the reader at a controversial moment and asserting her right to interpret her
own life story. If you have never been powerless in the face of sexual
harassment and abuse, Jacobs argues, you cannot possibly understand what
she has been through. The implication is that slaves should not be judged
according to the moral and legal standards of the free world at all. Since
slaves have no control over their bodies and destinies, they cannot reasonably
be convicted of unethical or illegal actions. Elsewhere in the book, Jacobs
makes similar arguments about slaves’ relationships to crime and the law,
even defending the right of a slave to steal from his master on the grounds
that all slaves are owed a lifetime of unpaid wages.
Close
5. Reader, my story ends with freedom; not in the usual way, with marriage. I
and my children are now free! We are as free from the power of slave holders
as are the white people of the north; and though that, according to my ideas,
is not saying a great deal, it is a vast improvement in my condition.
Explanation for Quotation 5 >>
In this passage from Chapter XVI, Jacobs explicitly refers to the novelistic
conventions she has used to shape her autobiography. Incidents borrows
much from melodramatic novels, known as “sentimental fiction,” which also
featured lovely virgins trying to preserve their virtue, lecherous villains,
desperate mothers, and enterprising young men. Although Jacobs tells a true
story, she uses the popular literature with which her readers were familiar to
help them accept and understand her unconventional, even radical, tale.
However, Incidents also departs from sentimental fiction in important ways, as
this quote reminds us. The heroine does not preserve her virtue. She has no
valiant male protector, and the villain dies peacefully at home rather than
receiving his just desserts. And, as Jacobs notes, the story does not end with
the inevitable wedding. Not only is Jacobs still unmarried, but she still does
not even have a home of her own, as she points out shortly after this passage.
Thus, even as her writing strategy allows her readers to identify with her story,
it also challenges the literary conventions of the time. Jacobs makes the point
elsewhere in the narrative that slaves cannot be judged according to the laws
and morals of the free world. Similarly, she implies here, the “life of a slave girl”
cannot be written according to the usual plot lines.
P. 109~110
ETHNIC AND RACIAL DIVERSITY
IN THE UNITED STATES
So in this continent, the energy of Irish, Germans, Swedes, Poles and all the
European tribes, of the Africans, and of the Polynesians─will construct a new race,
a new religion, a new state. Ralph Waldo Emerson(1803-1882)
BEFORE YOU READ
Preview Vocabulary
A. Work with a partner to answer the questions. Make sure you understand
the meaning of the AWL words in italics.
1. If a country tries to accommodate new immigrants, is it trying to help
them succeed or trying to prevent them from entering the country?
2. If there is discrimination against a minority group, how might the people
be treated differently?
3. Is a federal government program one at the state level or at the national
level?
4. If you are inclined to do something, are you likely or unlikely to do it?
5. Is instruction usually given by a teacher or by a student?
6. When public facilities were segregated in the South, did blacks and
whites go to different schools and sit in separate areas of restaurants
and movie theaters?
7. Do most people live in residential or commercial(business) areas?
8. If an ethnic minority wants to retain its culture, are families more likely to
continue speaking their native language at home or to speak English?
9. If smoking is prohibited in a public facility, are you allowed to smoke
there or not?
10. How many generations back can you trace your ancestry?
B. Some words in English have a positive or negative connotation. That is,
they give you a good or bad feeling. For example, hero has a positive
connotation, while villain has a negative connotation.
Write a plus sing(+) next to the words that you think have a positive
connotation and a minus sign(-) next to words with a negative connotations.
______
______
______
______
______
______
______
______
accommodation
civil rights
despair
discrimination
elite
festival
inequality
inferior
______ inspire
______ integration
______ poverty
______ prejudice
______ resources
______ segregation
______ slavery
Preview Content
A. Before you read, think about what you know about the racial and ethnic
diversity of the United States. Discuss the questions with your classmates.
1. Read the quotations by Emerson at the beginning of the chapter. How did
people from so many different countries create the American culture in the
United States?
2. Skim the first paragraph of the reading. What does assimilation mean?
What group had the strongest influence on shaping the dominant
American culture? Why do you think so?
3. Why do you think some immigrants from some countries might have more
success in the United States than others have?
4. What do you know about the history of African Americans in the United
States?
P. 148
EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES
Improve Your Reading Skills: Scanning
Scan the chapter to find the answers to these questions.
1. When were public schools first established in the Unites States?
2. What did the mayor of New York City say in his toast at the dinner for
Tocqueville?
3. What is a charter school?
4. How much does a college education in the United States cost per year?
5. What did the Supreme Court rule in 1954 about segregated schools?
6. Who was Allen Bakke?
7. What segment of the population in the public schools has increased by
218 percent since 1968?
8. Who said, "Effective participation by members of all racial and ethnic
groups in the civic life of our Nation is essential if the dream of one
Nation, indivisible, is to be realized“?
9. What is the "canon"?
10. What is the SAT?
Talk About It
Work in small groups and choose one or more of these topics to discuss.
1. Should universities be free or have very low tuition? Why or why not?
2. Are most schools in your country coeducational? what are the advantages
and disadvantages of having boys and girls in the same classroom?
3. Is it possible for college teachers and students to be friends? What do
you think the role of a teacher should be?
4. Are students vessels to be filled or lamps to be lit? Which do you think is
more important─learning a large quantity of facts or learning to think
creatively? Why?
5. What should the requirements for entering a university be? Should
extracurricular activities in high school or personal characteristics be
considered? Why, or why not?
P. 159~160
A Boy with His Hat over His Crotch
Focusing on the Story
1. Describe Yifeng Chang as he arrives at the Foreign Student Affairs Office.
2. Describe Cammy, the Foreign Student Affairs Office secretary, as Yifeng
Chang sees her. What are some things Cammy does for Yifeng Chang?
How does she make him feel? What are some things Yifeng does for
Cammy? Why can Yifeng not "begin to guess her age"? how does Cammy
differ from young Chinese women?
3. What does Yifeng's American name Ralph mean? How does Yifeng feel
about his new name when he discovers its meaning?
4. Yifeng accepts his new name rather quickly, without thinking it over. How
does he later justify his rash behavior?
5. What is Yifeng or Ralph's "mission" in the United States? Why can't he
accomplish this mission in China?
Interpreting and Evaluating
1. It has been customary for new immigrants to this country to anglicize
their names for ease of pronunciation and spelling by native speakers of
English. How much of your identity does your name represent? How
would you feel if someone decided to change your name by whim?
2. When Yifeng realizes that he has accepted his new name too readily, he
rationalizes that his hasty move is not important. What does his behavior
say about his character?
3. Ralph studies at the library, finds where the best bargains are, and
learns to cook. What does all this, as well as his other actions, say
about Ralph's ability to adapt? Will he ultimately succeed? Explain.
4. At the end of the story, Ralph comes to Cammy's rescue again─"a hero
appeared." Based on evidence in the story, what predictions can you
make about Cammy and Ralph's future relationship? Could their
relationship develop into a romantic one? Explain.
5. How may a marriage between people from different cultures be more
difficult than a marriage between people from similar backgrounds?
P. 166-167
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
Comprehension
1. Did the old man come often to the café?
2. Why did the two waiters keep watching the old man?
3. Why, according to one of the waiters, did the old man try to commit
suicide?
4. How did the old man try to kill himself? Why didn't he succeed?
5. What reason does the older waiter give for the old man's staying up late?
What reason does the younger waiter give?
6. Were both waiters in a hurry to leave?
7. Why is the older waiter reluctant to close up for the night?
8. What doesn't the older waiter like about bars?
9. What did the older waiter do on the way home?
10. Would the older waiter go to sleep as soon as he went to bed? What
does he think might keep him awake?
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