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Discussion--Week 7

For this week's blog post, please contribute one discussion question from each essay ("The Crack-Up" and the two Orwell essays we're reading for Monday).

I would also like you to come to class prepared with these questions.

This post is due by class time on Monday, 10/20.

Comments

1. The Crack-Up
Do you think Fitzgerald had some agency in becoming a writer? Explain.

2. Such, Such were the Joys
Do you think Orwell does a good job of detailing his childhood or does he make it sound worse than it actually was?

3. Shooting an elephant
What sort of opinion does Orwell have on colonialism? Why might Orwell at the same time feel happy to "drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts"?

As George Orwell says in Such, Such, Were the Joys children start out with a "blank sheet". If it was possible would you want to relive your childhood days with the knowledge you now have?
Do you agree with Fitzgerald's statement "the natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness"?
In Shooting an Elephant, Orwell states that he was already hated by the Burmese people so why does Orwell care if the people would've thought he was a fool if he didn't kill the elephant?

As George Orwell says in Such, Such, Were the Joys children start out with a "blank sheet". If it was possible would you want to relive your childhood days with the knowledge you now have?
Do you agree with Fitzgerald's statement "the natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness"?
In Shooting an Elephant, Orwell states that he was already hated by the Burmese people so why does Orwell care if the people would've thought he was a fool if he didn't kill the elephant?

As George Orwell says in Such, Such, Were the Joys children start out with a "blank sheet". If it was possible would you want to relive your childhood days with the knowledge you now have?
Do you agree with Fitzgerald's statement "the natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness"?
In Shooting an Elephant, Orwell states that he was already hated by the Burmese people so why does Orwell care if the people would've thought he was a fool if he didn't kill the elephant?

The Crack-Up

-Do you think Fitzgerald will be happy now that he has decided to become "a writer only" or do you think for the the rest of his life he will believe "the natural state of an adult is a qualified unhappiness?"

Such, Such Were the Joys
-Do you agree with Orwell's statement: "A child which appears reasonably happy may actually be suffering from horrors which it cannot or will not reveal," and do you think this applies to children with drastically different upbringings?

Shooting An Elephant
-Why do you think the ragged breathing of the elephant bothered Orwell, causing him to shoot it multiple times, after wrestling with himself whether to shoot it just once?

The Crack up
Why if, Fitzgerald had so much insight about himself did he not reach out for help?

Shooting an Elephant
Do you think Owell felt guilty after shooting the elephant? Why or why not?

Such, Such Were the Joys
Do you agree that beating a child for doing something wrong may actually help them learn not to do that task again?

1. The Crack-Up
Fitzgerald writes, "I saw that for a long time I had not liked people and things, but only followed the rickety old pretense of liking." Have you ever felt like this? Can you think of some examples of things that you like because you're "supposed to"?

2. Such, Such Were the Joys
Orwell writes, "Sin was not necessarily something that you did: it might be something that happened to you." Do you agree with him, or do you think this is just a child's mentality? Can you think of a situation in which a sin "happened to you"?

3. Shooting an Elephant
Do you sometimes draw parallels between your social/political beliefs and the events that happen in your daily life? If so, give an example.

Such, Such Were the Joys... :
Have class prejudices improved since the time this essay was written, or have they simply become more discreet?

The Crack- Up:
Is there truth to the statement "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function"?

Shooting an Elephant:
Does the fact that the elephant suffers a long, painful death influence the rightness or wrongness of the character's actions?

Shooting an Elephant:
Did Orwell really have to shoot? Why did he feel compelled to, and what would refusal have meant?

Such, Such Were the Joys:
Did you ever get the impression in high school that you, like Orwell, were being bred to take tests? How or how not?

The Crack-Up:
How do you keep yourself happy? What keeps you motivated?

The Crack-Up
Do you really believe that "the natural state of the sentient is adult is a qualified unhappiness? have you ever thought this and tried to do things to change it?

Shooting an Elephant
In the description and how the elephant died have any meaning behind the Imperialism and such that Orwell is trying to convey his feelings?

Such, Such Were the Joys
Seeing how Orwell turned out, do you really believe that schools, including the one he attended, were all that bad in how the children were to turn out?

Shooting an Elephant:
When speaking of the begrudging resentment that the native Indians held toward Europeans, Orwell states, "The Buddhist priests were the worst of all." Why do you think that these priests, so often revered as wise, self-controlled pacifists, would resort to such discriminating, mean-spirited tactics?

Such, Such Were the Joys?:
When delving into the psyche of a child's mind, Orwell states, "On the whole, it will accept what it is told, and it will believe in the most fantastic way in the knowledge and power of the adults surrounding it." Are children really so gullible and easily persuaded as Orwell says? Or does he withhold credit, as some people might believe, of their innate perception and curiosity about some things?

The Crack-Up:
Fitzgerald claims, "A clean break is something you cannot come back from...because it makes the past cease to exist."
Is it truly possible for a person to dissociate themselves entirely from their past?

Shooting an Elephant:
The man that the elephant has killed does not seem to be a large factor in Orwell’s decision of whether or not to kill the elephant. Why do you think this is?

Such, Such Were the Joys:
Orwell writes that “I had learned early in my career that one can do wrong against one’s will, and before long I also learned that one can do wrong without ever discovering what one has done or why it was wrong.? Do you think that this is a view commonly held by children, or that this viewpoint was simply a product of the school Orwell went to?

The Crack-Up:
Orwell writes, “I had a strong sudden instinct that I must be alone.? Have you ever felt like this?

Shooting an Elephant:
Why was it almost morally wrong for Orwell to shoot the elephant when the people wanted it done, albeit for the meat, and he was legally in the right?

Such Such Were the Joys:
Why does Orwell bring up the fact that not all of his memories were bad?

The Crack-Up:
Can a mental breakdown of this sort really be reduced into steps or would it vary per person?

The Crack-Up:
In Fitzgerald's conclusion, "pasting it together," is he trying to be ironic about remaining detached from certain people he realizes he doesn't have to like?

Shooting an Elephant:
As a police officer, if it was his duty to shoot the elephant going mad, why wasn't that enough justification for him, and why was it less apparent to him than the pressure of the mob of Burmese?

Such Such Were The Joys:
Did being treated unfairly and forced to realize his status by Crossgate's faculty strengthen Orwell more than he recognizes? Or did it really just harm his childhood?

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