30 October 2006

What's in a name?

Shakespeare asked "What's in a name?" We might ask the same thing after reading Aharon Megged's wrenching short story, "The Name." In the story, three generations of a Jewish family become estranged over the naming of a newborn child. As a result of the differences in the family, the child's mother, at the end feels that her son "was in need of pity and of great love, as though her were alone, an orphan in the world." Do you agree? In what way is the child "an orphan in the world"?

23 October 2006

Who do you think is the better mom?

In "The Lie" and "Teenage Wasteland," we see two different kinds of mothers. Mrs. Remenzel seems to follow the lead of her husband's snobbery when it comes to expecting her son, Eli, to attend the Whitehill School. However, at the end of the story, she doesn't turn as hypocritical as her husband. Daisy in "Teenage Wasteland," struggles with her son, Donny, and with her own parenting. She tries many different approaches to help her son, including hiring a questionable tutor. After reading both stories, which mother would you prefer to have? Why?

20 October 2006

Is it really ironic?

Alanis Morrisette made millions of dollars singing about irony, but didn't really get it right. See for yourself if the examples in her song are actually irony. However, Kurt Vonnegut's short story, "The Lie," contains several strong examples of irony. Consider Dr. Remenzel's words at the beginning of the story and the effect of his actions at the end of the story. How does the irony in Vonnegut's story help enhance its theme?