Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday night discussion in July

We have about 35 participants tonight. We're having a good discussion about freedom and other themes from the book.

  • The line on page 590 is telling, where Moses thinks, "He had found out that no man may make another free. Freedom was something internal."
  • Some participants felt that Aaron and Miriam were more sympathetic characters others did.
    • Of them, if being a leader means that you get the trappings of leadership, shouldn't Miriam and Aaron have been given those trappings, or isn't it unreasonable to condemn them for wanting these trappings?
  • Wilderness versus desert: Moses appreciates the wilderness, it brings him closer to God. The desert is punishment.
  • The hero has to go through times of uncertainty, the 
  • What is the role of a prophet?:
    • Incentivize us to think, require you to use the most precious thing you have, your brain.
    • Someone giving you a blueprint to find God.
    • A prophet is one who foretells.
    • Miriam grew up with the Egyptian Gods and couldn't know the Hebrew God, couldn't  have prophecies for new god. 
  • Who was Hurston's intended audience? Did she intend Moses for an African-American audience?
    • Hurston was a preacher's kid
    • Hurston wrote this in 1939, on the eve of World War II
  • History repeats itself as a theme.
  • What did the image of crossing over, crossing water, which are repeated frequently in Moses, Man of the Mountain, and in Jonah's Gourd Vine, mean to Hurston?
    • You bring your baggage with you when you cross over and change.
    • The characters of Jonah and Moses changed in different ways in these two books. 
    • Many of the characters in Moses regret the change to freedom and long for a past where things were certain, even if they were awful.
  • Was Hurston well-received in the African-American community with the idea of many characters espousing a return to slavery?
    • Looking at the group dynamics
    • Did Hurston have a lot of detractors in the African-American community because of her characters and the way she presents Moses
  • Miriam and Aaron believe they were chosen by God, and were disappointed to find that Moses had chosen them.
    • Why did Hurston choose to say of Miriam that she had never been loved by a man? Why was this the label that Hurston chose?
  • How did Mentu and Jethro influence Moses?
    • Mentu and Jethro both poured knowledge into Moses
    • Both cared about Moses
    • Both saw him as a leader, as a "chosen one."
    Moses learned from the priests, "tricks," "hoodoo"? The Egyptian priests did not like having Moses around, fearing  that they would lose power if he learned their tricks.

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