Contemporary Latin American Fiction

Asynchronous Blog Post on Clap When You Land (Pages 116-218)

ASYNCHRONOUS BLOG POST Deadline: 10/4 before the class.

Instructions:

In the comment section down below answer ONE of the following prompts (2oo-word minimum).

OPTION ONE

How do Camino and Yahaira’s notions of family are transformed during this mourning period? Include reflections on biological, extended, and chosen families. Discuss at least two scenes from this section.

OPTION TWO

How does Camino’s levels of vulnerability increase after the tragedy? Elaborate on the ways the issues she confronts offer a glimpse into soci0-economic or cultural dilemmas in the Dominican Republic. Make reference to at least two scenes from this section.

OPTION THREE

Reflect on the topics down below and elaborate on how the author, Elizabeth Acevedo, approach (ONE of) them in this second section of the novel:

.tourism and native exploitation

.sexual violence

.access to health care and alternative medicine

.acesss to US citizenship

.spiritual practices

OPTION FOUR

Write a poem that summarizes one theme from this section (see OPTION THREE) using only direct verses (quotations from different pages) from Elizabeth Acevedo.

OPTION FIVE

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about these pages (116-218) from Clap When You Land do you want to bring into the discussion?

The Sound Catalog and Clap When You Land (Pages 1-115)- Obejas and Acevedo

Pass the mic discussion

1. After reading pages 59-60 from “The Sound Catalog” by Achy Obejas and pages 96-97 from Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, compare the characters’ contrasting understanding of and desires for their respective home countries.

Clap When You Land

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines counterpoint as follow:
1a: a complementing or contrasting item: OPPOSITE
b: use of contrast or interplay of elements in a work of art (such as a drama)
2a: one or more independent melodies added above or below a given melody
b: the combination of two or more independent melodies into a single harmonic texture in which each retains its linear character: POLYPHONY
Analyze the use of this technique by Elizabeth Acevedo in her novel? How does the cover of the book illustrate the novel’s counterpoint narrative?

Oral/slide presentations on Clap When You Land (Pages 1-115)

Hakim,Taha

Jeune Dumeny,Santiella

Larsen,Sven G

Group Discussion

Thinking of sounds as literary devices, what do you think the genre of the verse novel makes you notice?

What does the word “mud” do conceptually, narratively, and rhythmically in this opening poem?

Asynchronous Blog Post on Clap When You Land (Pages 1-115)

ASYNCHRONOUS BLOG POST Deadline: 9/27 before the class.

Instructions:

In the comment section down below answer ONE of the following prompts (2oo-word minimum).

OPTION ONE

Compare how Camino and Yahaira react and cope during the immediate aftermath of the airplane accident that took their father’s life.

OPTION TWO

Reflect on the topics down below and elaborate on how the author, Elizabeth Acevedo, approach (ONE of) them in this first section of the novel:

.socio-economic classes

.race

.sexuality

.gender-based violence

.family ethics

.relationship to nature or the city

OPTION THREE

Pick one poem from Camino and one poem from Yahaira and analyze how the arrangements of words on the page, the division in stanzas, the empty spaces, bilingual lexical choices, or any other aspect related to form/poetics amplify the emotional state of the characters.

In your examination, you can make reference to plot elements beyond the poems you selected.

OPTION FOUR

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about these pages (1-115) from Clap When You Land do you want to bring into the discussion?

Senses and emergencies: Haiti and Cuba

Breakout Room Discussions

Group 1, 2, 3

As classmate Casandra Oquendo noted:

In Danticat’s story, we have a group of foreigners who live in “gingerbread houses perched on the hills that overlooked Villa Rose’s white-sand beaches” (111). Some of these people are french-speaking artists and writers from Guadeloupe (a French Department) who met some of the children at the school in the village.

Is this an example of developed countries controlling under-developed or developing countries? (and I would ask too) Are Princess’ beauty and labor as a model been exoticized and exploited for European cultural consumption?

Group 4, 5, 6

Cultural assimilation is the process in which a minority group or culture comes to resemble a society’s majority group or assume the values, behaviors, and beliefs of another group whether fully or partially.

How does the story “The Sound Catalog”  by Achy Obejas represent the tensions between goals of assimilation and Cuban cultural retention in the diaspora?

Oral/slide presentations

Boothby,Jazz

Gonzalez Sanchez,Iris

Grullon,Michael L

Open Group Discussion

1.How do these stories use the enhance and loss of perception through different senses to explore topics of extraction, dislocation, and empowerment?

2.Michael J Bustamante argues that “there are two widely familiar versions of the Cuban story.” In one “the ‘triumph’ of the Cuban Revolution marked the definitive end of one period of the island’s history—nearly six decades of ‘pseudo-republican’ scandal following the island’s ‘mortgaged’ independence in 1902—and the beginning of true liberty under the banner of revolutionary change. ” In the other, “the Cuban Revolution represented not a fulfillment of nationalist dreams but an unmitigated tragedy. For many of those who left the island in the 1960s, Cuba’s turn to socialism made the prerevolutionary period look like paradise lost, transforming their homeland into an island in chains.”

How do these two competing narratives clash in Achy Obejas’ story? How Cuba is remembered by the different characters?

Asynchronous Blog Post on the Haitian and Cuban Stories

ASYNCHRONOUS BLOG POST (Deadline: 9/20 before the class)

Instructions:

In the comment section down below answer ONE of the following prompts (2oo-words minimum).

OPTION ONE

Could “Seeing Things Simply” by Edwidge Danticat be interpreted as an allegory of neocolonial extraction? Could it be a story of female empowerment instead? What do you think? Support your arguments by bringing evidence from the story.

Keywords:

Allegory- a narrative in which a character, place, or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences.

Neocolonialism- the practice of using economic imperialism, globalization, cultural imperialism, and conditional aid to influence or extract riches from a country instead of the previous (often violent) colonial methods.

Recommended video:

OPTION TWO

Pick one of the sounds from “The Sound Catalog” by Achy Obejas and through that section, examine the complex gains and losses of the main two characters while in the diaspora.

Recommended Reading:

Remembering and Forgetting the Cuban Revolution by Michael J. Bustamante

OPTION THREE

By bringing concrete examples from the stories, compare how does Edwidge Danticat and Achy Obejas centralize sight and hearing to tell the stories respectively. In what ways has your perspective on the characters’ bodies and interior world expanded thanks to these narrative approaches?

OPTION FOUR

Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ responses. Do you agree with their arguments and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about any of the two texts do you want to bring into the discussion?

States of Emergency: Puerto Rico

Entry Activity

Pose a critical question about the texts. What aspects do you need more context to understand? Is there an element of any of the stories that you wish we go over today?

Context

Excerpts: 15: 40-18:45/ 41:15-47:38

Maria had a strong impact, ripping the veil off Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship to the United States—particularly for those living outside of the island, but even to some living there. But that unveiling process had been underway since 2016, with the declaration of the debt crisis, the determination that Puerto Ricans could not declare bankruptcy, and a series of Supreme Court rulings that made it patently clear that the island’s commonwealth status did not offer any measure of sovereignty.

These events had started to peel away the facade of Puerto Rico as a decolonized place. People of my generation and older were taught that in the 1950s we had been decolonized through the creation of the Commonwealth, or Estado Libre Asociado. Although there were those who questioned this notion, and there had always been an anti-colonial movement, the promise of prosperity and the escape valve created by migration had long cloaked the enduring relationships of colonialism.

People talk about how Maria ripped leaves off trees and, metaphorically, off Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship to the US. The storm made our vulnerability and our unequal relationship to the United States undeniable.

-Yarimar Bonilla

. What are the central ideas of these writers?

Puerto Rican writers Cézanne Cardona, Beatriz Llenín Figueroa, and Sofía Gallisá Muriente propose tensions and interconnections between individual lives and views and the failures of the local and federal government (context: colonialism).

. Analyze one specific section by your chosen author that best communicates what you identified in the question above.

“I also heard that we should burn all flags…

You need a rock-solid stomach to deal with this country, said my dad, since before the storm.” (109)

-“Another Haphazard Gesture”,  Sofía Gallisá Muriente

“I spent months jobless, and the only things that came up were temporary jobs that didn’t pay enough to rent a studio…He told me that things had changed, that people no longer respected the baseball fields that they used them as if  they were garbage dumps… once the election year was over, the municipality didn’t want to renew our contract, and my father was devastated.”

-“Sofa”, Cezanne Cardona Morales

Excerpt: 4:30-7:15

“To show that our lives are worthless, it is enough for a hurricane, strengthened disproportionately by the systemic exploitation of the planet led precisely by that empire, to churn atop an ancient colony.” (Expand p. 98)

-“This Was Meant To Be a Hurricane Diary”, Beatriz Llenín Figueroa

Cardona uses a sofa as an object that carries the history, misadventures, and weight of a working-class family but also that signifies the fall out of the suburban “dream” in Puerto Rico. The sofa’s decay is a symbol of the failures brought by the colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the US. and the marginalization of Boricuas in the archipelago.

Similarly, Llenín Figueroa and Gallisá Muriente propose that the aftermath of Hurricane Maria put in perspective how corruption, neoliberal policy, diaster capitalism and imperial disdains have affected the recovery of the island.

However, all three notice and participate in acts of healing and creative survival. They highlight moments, events, people, and grassroots organizations doing the work of uplifting Puerto Ricans especially the poor, the racialized, and the marginalized.

“In San Sebastián they started their own power authority with retired electricians and figure a way out.

In Adjuntas they’re still installing solar panels, for the next one.” (107)

“Where people haven’t seen FEMA, they’ve seen friends, relatives, curious strangers, the press, the diaspora, and the municipal government.

Where there once was, now remains.” (109)

-“Another Haphazard Gesture”,  Sofía Gallisá Muriente

Group Discussion

. Discuss how the structure of the texts and their linguistic choices (style) enhance the narrative goals of the authors.

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