Intimate Apparel: Class Discussion on Themes and Links

THEMES

Independence + feminism / society’s expectations for women — gender roles and stereotypes — marriage

pg. 60 “You understand why I would rather not be divorced, at my age it would be proved disasterous”

Money and the American Dream

Relationships and friendships of women/solidarity

Power of silence and the unsaid — Communication / Miscommunication

pg 61 — “Esther wants to say something but she can’t quite find the words” (to Mr Marks)

“thank you for not asking” Esther to Mrs Dickson

Social class, discrimination, and racism

Work, craft, and the importance of hands — art

“DON’T! This quilt is filled with my hard work, 100 dollars every year I have been seated at my sewing machine”

Touch and the senses

Sex

Religion

Forbidden Love

 

Links between LITTOC and the HT brainstormed in class

Social Status: The hierarchy in the HT — Love in the Time of Cholera there is also a question of status for instance, Florentino manages to change his social status (motivated by his love for Fermina), and Fermina improves her status through marriage

 

Sex used as an escape or as a form of power

HT: Offred sees the possibility of using her body with the doctor, the guards, the commander, and Nick

LITTOC: Florentino to fill the emptiness of not having Fermina or perhaps other psychological issues and justifies it as “love”

 

Revealing the sexist structures of society and promoting feminism / decrying patriarchy

HT: women are used as objects/property – they can’t own anything and are “objects of procreation” , women cannot have control over their own money and are made property

LITTOC: viewed as “prey”, Fermina’s frustration in her marriage — “servitude” , Fermina is like the “property” of Urbino/doesn’t make her own choices

both use “irony” — Serena’s position in society anti-career

Use of flower imagery

HT: flowers represent fertility — Serena’s garden and her cutting of the flowers

LITTOC: Fermina wears flower representing  purity

 

Manipulation

HT: brainwashed society, sometimes a survival mechanism to manipulate others

LITTOC: Fermina is constantly manipulated by one man or another

 

Power of words

HT: not allowed to use words and write, Offred is sensitive to words, her narration is also like letter or a journal in a way — very personal , but she does speak to some sort of audience

LITTOC: letters, Florentino’s sensitive to poetry– uses this to manipulate women and continue his illusions of love

 

Deterioration and transformation of society

HT: new society

LITTOC: author tries to denounce colonisation/

 

Violence

HT: physical violence, mental violence

LITTOC: sexual abuse, “predator”

 

Projection of feelings onto nature

HT: Offred often talks about flowers and seasons to portray her feelings/her environment

LITTOC: world deteriorating, etc

 

Use of foreshadowing/suspense–non chronological narrative

HT: euphemism

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5 and 6 Tasks: Love in the Time of Cholera

Chapter Five Tasks

1.       ‘Lolita is characterised by irony and sarcasm. It is not an erotic novel.’ [Samuel Schuman, 1979] To what extent could you make the same claim about Love in the Time of Cholera?2.       Why is Garcia Marquez determined in every chapter to make references to the colonial past and the postcolonial present?

3.       What do you think of Garcia Marquez’s handling of his female characters?

Chapter Six Tasks

1.       Comment on Garcia Marquez’s use of America Vicuna in the final chapter; why does her memory and death hover over the narrative?2.       Florentino Ariza’s mature love letters to Fermina Daza ‘can be thought of as constituting the novel itself in different form…’ – Kathleen McNerney. Discuss

3.       ‘The same civilisation that idealises lovers produces a global wasteland, and the private fantasies of romance are rafts on a sea of public devastation.’ – Jean Franco. Discuss.

Love in the Time of Cholera: Chapter 3 Tasks

Chapter Three Tasks

1.       Would you be able to defend Love in the Time of Cholera against the charges that it is pornographic and sexist?2.       Discuss the episode of the black doll on page 125. From what you know of Garcia Marquez’s career as a writer and the critical reception of his writing, what can you say about the genre of this particular episode?

3.       With particular reference to this chapter, discuss Love in the Time of Cholera as an anti-romantic novel.

Chapter 2 Tasks: Love in the Time of Cholera

Chapter Two Tasks

1.       Garcia Marquez’s most quoted statement regarding this novel is, ‘You have to be careful not to fall into my trap.’ In the light of chapter two explain Garcia Marquez’s warning.

2.       How has your reading of chapter two enhanced your understanding of the novel’s title?

3.       Very well, I will marry you if you promise not to make me eat eggplant. [71] What does this statement tell us about Fermina Daza and how do you think the reader is supposed to react?