Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Some Thoughts along the Way

Abbott Elementary, described in Born Bright
We're a couple of weeks away from our first round of discussions.  It's time to hear from you!  In the early pages of David Copperfield and Born Bright, what stands out?





  • In both cases, we're talking about small children.  Where there are small children, there are usually mothers.  How do you feel about the portrayal of mothers in these books?
  • Both Dickens and C. Nicole Mason have a challenging job as authors.  They have to maintain a child's point of view in order to tell their stories.  How well do each of them succeed?  Are you convinced that you're hearing the story from the child's perspective?
  • What words would you use to describe young David?  Young C. Nicole Mason?  Are they courageous? Fearful? Resilient?  What do they have in common?  Where do they diverge?
  • Are you finding these books easy or difficult to read?  What is challenging?  Do you have a preference?

6 comments:

  1. This is just a housekeeping comment to point out a possible typo in the email sent out June 13 with info about the Big Book events. The email indicated Dr. Miriam Ballin of Wash U would be at the Aug. 30 discussion. Other materials we received indicated the last evening discussion was scheduled for Aug. 23.

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    1. Thank you! You are absolutely right! The discussion with Dr. Bailin will take place on August 23. I will be sure to correct that mistake in future emails.

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  2. One challenge of Dickens's novel relates to his purpose in intertextualizing the King David/Uriah the Hittite story from the Bible into the personal dynamics between David Copperfield and Uriah Heep. Was his only purpose to send up a clever twist on the Biblical story, with Copperfield the just man and Heep the villain? Others think the complex relationship between David and Uriah is better understood in a political context, where Dickens's David is also a sovereign, topping the stratified social structure of the novel, tyrannizing over his subject Uriah Heep, with marriage to Agnes a symbol confirming this design.

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    1. I can certainly see at least superficial overlap between King David, but it is difficult to visualize Uriah Heep mapped onto Uriah the Hittite, who, at least in my memory, is honorable and loyal. Even in a 'twist,' I can't see that that works. What do you think?

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    2. Thanks, both points well-taken! In re: the King David story, some critics's claims: the biblical subtext helps spotlight David's repressed motivation for Agnes, which is the heart of the Copperfield-Heep rivalry; also, this scriptural story fosters a richer, more complex reading of the novel by serving as a reminder that Uriah is not simply a villain, nor is David entirely virtuous. All interesting to ponder, thnx!

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    3. Ahhh...that's very well said, and quite true!

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