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Re: Antonia

[ Edited ]
OK, yes, so it shows it actually remains polarized Jim/Antonia. Hmmm, makes more sense...interesting.

ziki

http://cather.unl.edu/writings/scholarly.html

Message Edited by ziki on 05-13-200706:35 AM

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Racism

I’d love to hear how any of you think this book deals with racism, because it’s a big topic in the book.

The white Americans often don’t grant the immigrants much dignity. In Book 1, ch 14, we get this line: Jake thought “Ambrosch…showed more human feeling than he would have supposed him capable of.”
That’s an important line. Racism is, in fact, often connected to our false belief that outsiders are incapable of the most complex human emotions.
Recent psychology studies have looked at this—how there are two types of emotions. There are basic emotions, which animals also feel, like anger and bliss; and there are complex emotions, which only humans feel, like nostalgia and empathy. Studies show that we tend to assume that people of our own race or culture are more capable of the higher-order, human emotions than outsiders are. That is, we tend to think that people of our own culture have more ability to love, feel regret, and lend empathy than the “less-human” outsiders.

Anyone want to comment on racism in here?



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Laurel
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Re: Racism



IlanaSimons wrote:
I’d love to hear how any of you think this book deals with racism, because it’s a big topic in the book.

The white Americans often don’t grant the immigrants much dignity. In Book 1, ch 14, we get this line: Jake thought “Ambrosch…showed more human feeling than he would have supposed him capable of.”
That’s an important line. Racism is, in fact, often connected to our false belief that outsiders are incapable of the most complex human emotions.
Recent psychology studies have looked at this—how there are two types of emotions. There are basic emotions, which animals also feel, like anger and bliss; and there are complex emotions, which only humans feel, like nostalgia and empathy. Studies show that we tend to assume that people of our own race or culture are more capable of the higher-order, human emotions than outsiders are. That is, we tend to think that people of our own culture have more ability to love, feel regret, and lend empathy than the “less-human” outsiders.

Anyone want to comment on racism in here?




I guess that would be normal, especial for people who have little experience with other cultures. It would be easier to understand the higher emotions of people one is close to than of people who express themselves differently.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Racism

When I look at the roots of racism I wonder if it is conected to the fear of survival. Our mind mechanism is very simple, primitive even if we tend t see ourselves as superior to animals. What we know and can define we term as safe; what is unknown to us, what we deem as suspicious should be avoided. It's a very basic judgement (inherent also in senses i.e. smell and taste). Add also a psychological need to feel strong which we often achieve just by bullying or manipulating someone else.

We project our shadow(=fear) onto someone else, individually or collectively. We blame and scapegoat. All that is different from "me" is seen as potentially dangerous and to be avoided or defeated. In that respect racism is very primitive and because of that hard to come to terms with. It can exist in a very refined way, under a polished polite smile.

The different categories of feelings you mention have to do with the information processing in the reptile brain vs. front lobes and it is an issue of emotional intelligence.

The immigrants that came first wanted to impress and prove themselves (be as the rich class in their homeland was once). They had an ambition to succeed and "be some bodies" and sometimes perhaps even to the cost of looking down on others,quickly forgetting how it felt to be looked down at.

ziki
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Re: Racism



Laurel wrote:I guess that would be normal, especial for people who have little experience with other cultures. It would be easier to understand the higher emotions of people one is close to than of people who express themselves differently.




I listen to Kite Runner, one could say it is a study in racism.
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780743545235&itm=3

ziki
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Re: Racism

very cool ideas in here. I think you're also suggesting that when an immigrant population comes into a place, they really are forced to tend to their more animalistic drives: They need to eat; they need to defend themselves; they need to survive. Maybe that why Mrs. Shimerda comes off looking so animalistic, so crass. It's only with the luxury of money and leisure time that we can cultivate the second-tier emotions, like love of art and empathy.
So that might be one of many reasons why one culture thinks another is incapable of higher-order sensibilities.




ziki wrote:
When I look at the roots of racism I wonder if it is conected to the fear of survival. Our mind mechanism is very simple, primitive even if we tend t see ourselves as superior to animals. What we know and can define we term as safe; what is unknown to us, what we deem as suspicious should be avoided. It's a very basic judgement (inherent also in senses i.e. smell and taste). Add also a psychological need to feel strong which we often achieve just by bullying or manipulating someone else.

We project our shadow(=fear) onto someone else, individually or collectively. We blame and scapegoat. All that is different from "me" is seen as potentially dangerous and to be avoided or defeated. In that respect racism is very primitive and because of that hard to come to terms with. It can exist in a very refined way, under a polished polite smile.

The different categories of feelings you mention have to do with the information processing in the reptile brain vs. front lobes and it is an issue of emotional intelligence.

The immigrants that came first wanted to impress and prove themselves (be as the rich class in their homeland was once). They had an ambition to succeed and "be some bodies" and sometimes perhaps even to the cost of looking down on others,quickly forgetting how it felt to be looked down at.

ziki





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Re: Racism

[ Edited ]
I never read The Kite Runner, and everyone says such great things about it. Describe?



ziki wrote:


Laurel wrote:I guess that would be normal, especial for people who have little experience with other cultures. It would be easier to understand the higher emotions of people one is close to than of people who express themselves differently.




I listen to Kite Runner, one could say it is a study in racism.
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780743545235&itm=3

ziki

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 05-14-200709:49 AM




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Re: Early Chapters: 4 Questions for Conversation

4. Immigration and Identity
If “foreigners” like the Shimerdas and the Cuzaks are, for Cather, developing a new American identity, what do you think this novel says about the multiracial nature of the U.S. today? Do you think the notion of American identity changes with each new wave of immigration, or do you feel that the U.S.’s national identity is becoming more fixed, allowing for less change or development than seemed the norm at the time My Ántonia was written?
Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 04-26-200705:50 PM

Immigration in our country is a ever evolving process. I read in my library classes, "Together in Pinecone Patch". ( I am an elementary school librarian) In the story two children, Keara from Ireland and Stephan from Poland live in Pinecone Patch. The town is a Pa. mining town in the late 1890's. The Irish live in one section and the Polish live in another section of the town. The different groups do not get along with each other. Keara and Stephan grow up and marry each other. The Bride and Groom are so happy but wedding guests are ready to fight each other. After the story the students discuss where their families came from. I have had children who are 6 to 7 different nationalities. One time a girl said my father is Irish and my mother is Polish.
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Re: Early Chapters: 4 Questions for Conversation



johanna49 wrote:I read..."Together in Pinecone Patch." ...In the story two children, Keara from Ireland and Stephan from Poland live in Pinecone Patch. The town is a Pa. mining town in the late 1890's. The Irish live in one section and the Polish live in another section of the town. The different groups do not get along with each other. Keara and Stephan grow up and marry each other. The Bride and Groom are so happy but wedding guests are ready to fight each other.




Sounds like a Romeo and Juliet plot. I guess that sometimes cultural barriers make love all the more tempting and wonderful.



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Re: Early Chapters: 4 Questions for Conversation



johanna49 wrote:
Willa Cather loved and enjoyed nature. It is evident in her prose. I have never been
to Nebraska. Though, I can visualize it from her writing.




Me neither, I have never been to Nebraska. Willa Cather's descriptions of the place make me dream of going there! Here's one that I found especially amazing (from chapter II) ...
As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country, as the water is the sea... And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running.
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Kite Runner



IlanaSimons wrote:
I never read The Kite Runner, and everyone says such great things about it. Describe?





It's about a boy growing up in Afghanistan, his relation to his father and atonement, actually, finding a way to live inspite of 'himself in his past'. The context and setting is broad enough, it is not a chamber music so to speak.
I read the book earlier and saw it as exotic but now, while listening to the CDs (author reads himself), I find the story more disturbing. Also: his second book is coming out soon.

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basic needs



IlanaSimons wrote:
very cool ideas in here. I think you're also suggesting that when an immigrant population comes into a place, they really are forced to tend to their more animalistic drives: They need to eat; they need to defend themselves; they need to survive. Maybe that why Mrs. Shimerda comes off looking so animalistic, so crass. It's only with the luxury of money and leisure time that we can cultivate the second-tier emotions, like love of art and empathy.
So that might be one of many reasons why one culture thinks another is incapable of higher-order sensibilities.






Even more so at that time, I think, the immigrants had to deal with their basic needs first. Mr Shimerda never got used to it. He suffered and it is implied he had perhaps simple but also more refined life in his old country, Bohemia.

They couldn't just hop on the buss and go to nearest K-Mart and get the broccoli and pizza. :smileywink: It tookmore effort to get the food on the table.
And then there is the cultural isolation. I suspect there is an inevitable regression connected to immigration and perhaps a loss of parts of one's self in a way that are not possible to retrieve. Instead something else needs to be substituted, and that takes time. I think the immigrants become psychologically very vulnerable, lost in a way and maybe Mrs. Shimerda deals with it in her own 'beat it all' way. Perhaps the anger helps her to cope.

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Re: Early Chapters: 4 Questions for Conversation



johanna49 wrote: One time a girl said my father is Irish and my mother is Polish.




I hope they didn't fight at home :smileyhappy:

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Re: basic needs



ziki wrote:

Even more so at that time, I think, the immigrants had to deal with their basic needs first. Mr Shimerda never got used to it. He suffered and it is implied he had perhaps simple but also more refined life in his old country, Bohemia.


So well said. This man, you're saying, kills himself because of the great gap between the self he knows and the non-self people see in him, in this new country.



Ilana
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Re: Kite Runner

Funny you just wrote this. I just now got home from Barnes & Noble, where I was thumbing through The Kite Runner, wondering, "when's Ziki going to answer my post?"



ziki wrote:


IlanaSimons wrote:
I never read The Kite Runner, and everyone says such great things about it. Describe?





It's about a boy growing up in Afghanistan, his relation to his father and atonement, actually, finding a way to live inspite of 'himself in his past'. The context and setting is broad enough, it is not a chamber music so to speak.
I read the book earlier and saw it as exotic but now, while listening to the CDs (author reads himself), I find the story more disturbing. Also: his second book is coming out soon.

ziki






Ilana
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Re: Kite Runner



IlanaSimons wrote:
Funny you just wrote this. I just now got home from Barnes & Noble, where I was thumbing through The Kite Runner, wondering, "when's Ziki going to answer my post?"





heheh, the admin got in the way here locking me out :smileyvery-happy:

I trust that a book gets read when the time is right. When I resist a book, no matter what others say about it, I trust my gut feeling.
OTH a lot of the reading I do here with BNC is a reading out of my comfort zone. The advantage is that it is not forced like at school, it is still a free choice.

And some writers one reads "backwards", starting with the latest book and moving to their first work.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781594489501&itm=6

It says father's day's gift? hola :smileysurprised:

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Re: basic needs-memories



IlanaSimons wrote: This man, you're saying, kills himself because of the great gap between the self he knows and the non-self people see in him, in this new country.




hahah, it helps me when you tell me what I am saying... this is very true, I didn't see it. Like they are asked to give up a part of themselves. It is expected, the 'otherness' bothers the new community. It is such a 'given' approach that the immigrant needs to adjust, take the habits of the new country, melt in, actually become invisible if you think of the implications. They have to anihilate themselves to some extend in order to reconstruct themselves. But Antonia managed to stay herself and do the best without compromizing too much. She was a child when she came, Mr. Shimerda was an adult with more memories. The memories get in the way.

ziki
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Re: basic needs-memories



ziki wrote:
[The foreigners] have to anihilate themselves to some extend in order to reconstruct themselves. But Antonia managed to stay herself and do the best without compromizing too much. She was a child when she came, Mr. Shimerda was an adult with more memories. The memories get in the way.

ziki




Yes. This is resonating with Cather's line about fresh, new country: "There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made." That's like Antonia--who's America as she shapes America. Mr. Shimerda is already shaped.



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Re: Early Chapters: Romeo and Juliet

It is true that Together in Pinecone Patch has the Romeo and Juliet theme. In fact,
I tell adults, the book is Romeo and Juliet for the elementary school set.
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Re: Chapter 10: Mrs. Shimerda's Dignity



caroline88 wrote:
I just thought of Mrs. Shimerda as a strong and courageous woman. Doing things her own way. Who are we to say that ours are better? She does not have much but she does the best she can, with what she has. Even being generous with the best that she has (the mushrooms).




I am just about through with Book Two so far, so I don't know if there'll be more of Mrs Shimerda in the later chapters, but anyway my impression of her is of somebody who has nerve and guts - she is evidently more intrepid than her husband - nevertheless, she is also ignorant, rough and vulgar. But that is the way she is, all that is part of her personality and character.

Grandmother Burden, on the other hand, we might consider as more refined. But I was aghast when she threw away the mushrooms! Now that was ignorance on her part! She should at least have tried them, I'm almost sure they would have been delicious. I live in France where mushrooms are a delicacy. I have friends who never miss going to the forest in the fall to pick mushrooms (I've gone with them sometimes) and they prepare them in all sorts of ways.
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