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“Patriotism”-Discussion Prompt #1
Extensive reading was the best approach to take while viewing Patriotism since the book projected a foreign culture. Coming from a western culture, understanding the writer’s viewpoint with regards to the protagonist’s suicidal ideation was somewhat difficult. Suicide is engrained in the Japanese culture in practices such as Seppuku. This differs from the west where it is vilified.
“Patriotism”-Discussion Prompt #2
The book had a profoundly shocked me. The ritualistic glorification of suicide to symbolize patriotism and honor came across as extreme and fanatical. The writer’s choice for surreally violent imagery in description of Reiko’s seppuku was specifically baffling. For example, in page 686, the writer describes Reiko as having “a severe expression”, with “wide gazing eyes” so as to portray the intensity of his action (Mishima,686).
“How to Tell a True War Story”-Discussion Prompt #1
Pat O’Brien problematizes the notion of truth in his work by stating that the distinction between the truth and the story is mostly blurred in most war stories. I related to the writer as he described how the jungle and war itself are scary since I agree with him on that. I personally trust that the author narrates the truth since he constantly reminds us to be skeptical.
“How to Tell a True War Story”-Discussion Prompt #3
The shooting of the water buffalo was an emotionally shocking read. This since one cannot establish the emotions of the protagonist towards the buffalo because at first he seems to care for it by feeding it and at later goes on to kill it mercilessly. Moreover, the description of the deaths and the helpless buffalo calf makes the whole story dark and eerie.
Ralph Ellison – Discussion Prompt #1
Ellison attacks the American dream as a merely a myth by rejecting the premise that hard work will be rewarded since racial discrimination nullifies the hard work of the protagonist. However, the book affirms the premise that money equals success since rich people are considered cultural icons.
Ralph Ellison – Discussion Prompt #3
When the grandfather says ‘I want you to overcome ’em with yeses, undermine ’em with grins, agree ’em to death’, he meant to say that when one is dealing with powerful rivals, one shouldn’t antagonize them so as to avoid inevitable defeat. One should thus seek to assimilate with the rival even if one is viewed as a traitor.
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