LITR 221 Week 6 Discussion Questions

Instructions: Please post no
fewer than 300 words, making sure to balance your answers to the separate
parts. You should use quotations from the text to support your points, but make
sure they don't dominate your posts.


Week 6:


Part I: Discuss Roethke's
"My Papa's Waltz" from the perspective of the adult speaker as he
reflects on his childhood perception of his father. This poem usually invites
debate among students: is it a memory of child abuse at the hands of an
alcoholic father or a beloved memory of exuberant horseplay? Hint: The title of
the poem is your first clue at the intended meaning.


Part II: What is the significance
of Irene Wryson's dreams, do you think? And why doesn't she share this
recurring dream with her husband? For that matter, why is he ashamed of the
fact that he bakes cakes in the middle of the night when he can't sleep? What
is so important about "a good appearance" in Cheever's story, and
what overall message does Cheever try to communicate through this family's
quirky dysfunctionality?


Part III: In 1964, Joyce Carol
Oates read a Time Magazine story about murderer Charles Howard Schmid of
Tucson, AZ, titled "Arizona: Growing Up in Tucson." Schmid was a Ted
Bundy-type character. If you'd like to pursue this option, and reality crossing
into fiction doesn't bother you, how would you compare the non-fiction to the
fictionalized version? Why were some details left out in Oates's version? Why
do you think Oates added other details that were not part of the non-fiction
account to her story?

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