20 March 2007

Global Literature Discussions

These exercises have been created for my Modern World Literature course. However, some of them could be used in other literature courses or as critical reading and thinking exercises in composition courses.


Read the poem titled “Frida Kahlo” by the English poet James Reich: http://www.richmondreview.co.uk/library/frida_kahlo.html

Discussion Questions:
1. Who is Frida Kahlo? If you don’t know, do a quick Internet search on her and provide a live link to your source within your discussion post.
2. What is she like? List some specific examples and images from the poem.
3. Does the poem have any references to her geographical or cultural origin? What are they?
4. Why do you think James Reich, an Englishman, wrote about Frida Kahlo?
5. What other poems or songs do you know that portray a famous person? If you can, find one example on the Internet and provide a live link to your discussion group.


Read the following two poems:

“A Peach Larger Than a Former Three-Story Building, Larger Than the Sun” by the Slovenian poet Josep Osti: http://www.litrag.com/indexthirteen.html

“Ode to the Tomato” by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda: https://lsc.ims.mnscu.edu/d2l/orgTools/ouHome/ouHome.asp?ou=406868

Discussion Questions:
1. The subject of each of these poems is a natural food product. In what way do the two poems portray its primary subject similarly? Give some specific examples.
2. How does the writer use an ordinary fruit or vegetable to reveal something about the poem’s cultural context? What specifically does each food item reveal about its culture?
3. What is the point of each poem? Do the poems have any kinds of “message”?
4. What is your personal reaction to these poems? Explain.
5. If you had to choose a natural food item for a poem or a song, what would it be? Explain why you would choose this particular item and how you would use it. Find an Internet link depicting your choice, and attach a live link to your discussion post. Have fun with it!


Read the short story “Lepanto’s Other Hand” by the Mexican writer Carmen Boullosa:

Discussion Questions:
1. Who was Esteban Luz?
2. What does “Moorish” mean and why is this information relevant to the story? If you don’t know, do a quick Internet search and provide a live link to your source within your discussion post.
3. What is special about Esteban’s parents and his relationship with them?
4. After reading the story carefully, answer the writer’s own questions, which are stated at the end of the story:

· Which of the two stories identified is true? Neither?
· Did time itself do away with Esteban Luz, since he never understood that to practice his art he needed protection, money, friends in high places?
· And protection from what?
· Why such jealousy?
· Why could he not just paint and be admired and bask in glory?


Read the short story “The Man With the Long Mustache” by the Brazilian writer Carlos Machado:

Discussion Questions:
1. What is the situation and mood of the story’s opening scene?
2. Who is the narrator and what is his “eccentricity”?
3. Why does the narrator call his “eccentric” activity a vice?
4. How does the narrator’s wife find out about and deal with his habit?
5. Who is the “Man With the Long Mustache” and what role does he play in the story?
6. What is the impact and meaning of the story’s last sentence?How realistic is this story?
7. What, if any, experience(s) in your own life parallel the narrator’s experiences? Explain.

1) Image (c) Eden Graphics Design

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