"What his tongue can do": Tasting The Book of Salt
What his tongue can do:
Tasting The Book of Salt
"She wants to see the stretch marks on my tongue..."
I. announcements & coursekeeping
Judy Wicks on "Building Local Living Economies," Thurs 8 p.m. Th 11/15 TGH
Gertrude Stein on stage: Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, 7:30 tonight, Fri, Sat, Goodhart
(not unrelatedly:) Finish The Book of Salt,
catch up on postings, draft 6-pp. of final project before Th'sgiving...
In images AND words!
Barbara's bringing "lifelong theater-going" to Emily's project
Gail's cogitating "mental menstruation structures" for Nora.
(she also requested some more informal images of the class:
If I were to reject all of the logic around me that offends me and let loose all of the true anger and repressed sadness and heartbreak these actions have created inside of me, I wouldn't be able to forgive anyone....In my own thoughts and words, I am trying to stop the use of generalizations and widespread rejections....I don't want to throw up my hands and say "You're not playing fair." I want to be able to learn how to play a new game better than the person who created it.
sarahcollins: I don't understand why a feminist class would want to overthrow logic. Logic is not the enemy...I disagree with Flora about logic being the "master's tools"...All humans are capable of reasoning...it's pretty hard to learn about anything if you're not thinking about it....it behooves anybody to be capable of setting aside their feelings momentarily while they are sorting out a problem or issue....Why would a person ever suppress their own thoughts? And is thinking beyond someone else "taking advantage" of them? I think that line of reasoning can only lead to oppression and/or boredom. I really want to hear what everyone else thinks about this whole question.
II. Some afterthoughts/more voices/what everyone is thinkig about Kindred:
Butler: "What a reader brings to the work is as important as what I put into it, so I don't mind attempts to interpret my fiction."
jrizzo: by making Dana a
writer, Butler has attempted to make it implicit that her protagonist
must survive in order to tell the tale....This might begin to justify
what looks like selfish behavior....That basic human selfishness that prompts each of us to
guard our own lives...is what makes people slaves....people are less free to make this choice than we might think.
matos: It was jarring, and sort of frightening, to see the accusation that race relations haven't changed since the slave era...is my 21sth century mind making me greatful for rights I don't really have? Also, talking about scary, I'm also in the you can't blame Dana for self-preservation instincts camp. It's like a horror move (how far would you go to stay alive)...preserving your existence. If she didn't save Rufus, she wouldn't even have been a blip on the universe's radar. That's a terrifying thought.
sarahcollins: the characters were flat...I began to see...a (very) dramatized, science-fictive depiction of what it's like to be deeply deeply introverted...made into a mental power/ability....Kindred doesn't seem too concerned with preaching a feminist message, at least, but it's a little heavy handed in dealing out other lessons.
Abby: I just can't swallow a text like this and feel satisfied. To say nothing of Butler's feminism/ethics in the novel, I just need COMPLEXITY....I was left a bit ticked off that I had gotten so worked up for nor good pay off!... But, The Book of Salt = YUM
I can't find one
driving argument in the novel....I wouldn't put it in my feminist canon.
I hope The Book of Salt is better...
llauher: Book of Salt was incredible. I got overexcited and read ahead...
III. Compose a paragraph describing this image:
Here is Truong/Binh's description
How are they like-and-different?
How do they comment on one another?
What do they tell us about the relationship between
the visual and the written?
like a documentary film technique, the camara imparts its
own sense of motion to still photographs--
a swooped, focusing, animating effect...
"bloodless": heavy reliance on images and repetition
(overwritten? inviting of interpretation?)
lacks fleshed-out people...Binh flexible and mercurial,
but static, suspended between eventful memory and present w/ few choices
"flat" appropriate both to their iconic status and
cook's need to know them as behavioral probabilities
IV. The novel begins and ends with a photograph....
why and what's that accomplish?
"GertrudeStein, unflappable, unrepentant, unbowed, starts back at me and smiles. This photograph of her and Miss Toklas, the second of two that I have of that day, was taken on the desk of the SS Champlain. It captures my Mesdames perfectly. I am over there, the one with my back turned to the camera...alongside the photograph taken at the Gare du Nord...I am partial to the one of them at the train station.
GertrudeStein and Miss Toklas are perched on the bench ahead of me. My Madame and Madame are posing for a small group of photographers who have gathered for the occasion. GertrudeSein looks almost girlish. The folds of a smile are tucked into her ample cheeks. Miss Toklas looks pleased but as always somewhat irritated, an an oyster with sand in its lips, a woman whose corset bites into her hips...."
The Accessibility and Assailability of Pictures:
are words more "assailable,"
more subject to common testing?
V. TASTE THIS...
and write a paragraph about what you are experiencing
The novel is filled with tastes....
how is that accomplished?
What is the relationship between the sensation of a taste,
and the words with which it is described?
Between sensations (more generally),
and the words which represent them?
Journal of American Folklore 107 (423), 1994: 181-196.
VI. What role does the representation of taste--and
sensation more generally--play in feminism?