English 328, Olaudah Equiano

Now that you are familiar with the Olaudah Equiano controversy, I would like you to weigh in.  If Equiano was born in South Carolina and not Africa (as he claims in his 1789 narrative), does it detract from his account of the Middle Passage, slave markets, and other details?  To what extent?  Is it possible to render a collective “truth” while “lying” as an individual author?  In other words, are there different types of “lies”?  Or, should we discount Equiano’s narrative based upon ethical standards?  In short, how should we (as contemporary readers of his “autobiography” ) understand Olaudah Equiano?

English 329, “Queequeg in His Coffin”

Chapter 110 (“Queequeg in His Coffin”) allows us to trace the development of a central character in Moby-Dick.  Consider what Queegueg meant in earlier chapters and link it to his reappearance here.  Has Melville been consistent in depicting this Pacific Island harpooner?  Has Queequeg transformed in any way?  Finally, can you predict (without cheating!) what may become of Queequeg by the end of the novel?


Watch one other David Lynch film (either Lost Highway or Mulholland Dr.).  You’ll find that, once again, we can boil down Lynch’s plots to one liners: the first may be “a man deals with his jealous feelings for his wife” and the second something like “a young woman dreams of making it in Hollywood.”  How do these films (as well as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet) constitute Lynch’s artistic thematic obsessions and signature style?

English 328, “NEW ENGLAND”

We’ve read about the emergence of three colonial societies from the Americas: New Spain, New France, and New England.  Let’s consider the last of these, the Puritan origins of America.  What parts of the unit connect most closely to the United States of America today?    Give one example from one of the texts we’ve read in the “New England” unit alongside some detail of contemporary U.S. culture that appears to stem from it.

English 328, NEW FRANCE

Let’s compare one text from the New Spain unit with that of the New France unit.  What do you see in terms of similar/different concerns between the two European nations, and/or their depictions of indigenous nations?