Class Activities and Assignments: October 19th-21st
This week we will be discussing Chapter 2 (pages 28-52) and reading Chapter 3 (pages 53-91).
Reflections and collocations from the preface and/or Chapter 1 are DUE.
This week Groups 4 and 5 will post Reflections and Groups 1 and 2 will post collocations. Everyone will write both assignments.
Open the map to see the location of Indonesia. Scroll the map until you can see Jakarta. Click here.[+][-]
Close it when finished. Use minus sign to close.
Discsussion Questions: Bring them to class and be prepared to share all of your insights, ideas, and reactions to Chapter 2.
1. Who was Lolo? How did Barack get to know him and at what age? Where was Lolo about to return to?
2. Based on sections throughout the chapter [including the opening description and mainly pages 41-44], describe the political and economic conditions in Djakarta [also spelled Jakarta] at the time Barack's mother was preparing for their sojourn there. List important words and phrases that depict the situation.
3. What striking similarity had actually drawn Barack's mother to Lolo? (p. 42) Do you think it was a wise decision for her to join Lolo in Indonesia? Why or why not?
4. While waiting for his mother at the embassy, Barack flipped through magazines and "tried to guess the subject of the story before reading the caption." Describe the two photos that especially disturbed him. Explain why the second photo was so sickening that he writes, "I had no voice for my newfound fear."
5. Describe the scene when Barack first arrived at what was to be his new home. What creatures would he share it with? (pages 33-35)
6. What new foods did Lolo introduce him to? Why did he eat such things? [Hint: What ancient religious beliefs influenced his brand of Islam?] Is there anything that is eaten in your country that might not be commonly eaten in the United States? For what reason do people eat these things?
7. Lolo believed everything "was a matter of taking life on its own terms." Trace this way of thinking through Lolo's reactions and thoughts about various incidents:
a) on the importance of being strong (p. 35-36)
b) on dealing with beggars
c) on dealing with servants
d) on a woman's heart
e) on seeing a man killed
f) on guilt (p. 46)
8. Trace the changes that occurred in Lolo from the time they were together in Hawaii [What were his dreams then?], through their year apart [What had happened during that time?], and the three years the family lived together in Indonesia. How did these changes affect Barack's mother?
9. What shocking information did Ann learn from a relative about Lolo's return to Indonesia? What had changed him?
10. Describe Ann's job at the American embassy and her exeriences with the following groups:
a) Indonesian businessmen
b) American careeristspeople who devote their entire career to a particular line of work in the State Department - the caricatures An exaggerated imitation or likeness of someone of the ugly American [Infer the meaning of "ugly American" by finding examples of specific behavior on pages 43 and 47 and by indicating the traits Barack's mother taught him to disdain.]
c) The occasional economist or journalist who would mysteriously disappear for months at a time - What is suggested by "their affiliation or function in the embassy [was] never quite clear"?
11. Discuss the growing conflicts that arose between Lolo and Ann by interpreting the following lines:
a) "Lolo had made his peace with power, learned the wisdom of forgetting..".(p. 45-46)
b) "Power was taking her son."
c) "They are not my people."
12. The following lines suggest a major turning point for Barack's mother.
But she now had learned, just as Lolo had learned, the chasma great distance, difference, or rift between people that separated the life chances of an Americanfrom those of an Indonesian. She knew which side of the divide she wanted her child to be on. I was an American, she decided, and my true life lay elsewhere. (p. 47)
What two main concerns became of utmost importance to Barry's mother and how were these concerns played out?
13. Interpret the following line:
It was as if, by traveling halfway around the globe, away from the smugness feeling of self-satisfaction and complacency and hypocrisy that familiarity had disclosed, my mother could give voice to the virtues of her midwestern past and offer them up in distilled form. (p. 49)
What were those virtues or values? Give an example of each.
14. Explain the terms fatalism and secular humanism and how they apply to Lolo and Ann.
In your own countries, what perspective is characteristic of the majority of people: fatalisma belief that events are inevitable (beyond human control) because they are determined by fate, belief in a provident Goda God who provides for His people (divine intervention) , secular humanismSecular means "not connected to religion." Humanism refers to thought and action based on the ideals of man; in other words, loving one's neighbor is the human and right thing to do. , or some other perspective?
Can you think of ways [either subtle or unsubtle] in which this belief is manifested?
15. Interpret the implied contrast in the following sentence. What "decision" was Barack's mother making for him? Why did she see this as his only choice?
He had led his life according to principles that demanded a different kind of toughness, principles that promised a higher form of power. (p. 50)
16. At the end of the chapter, it's clear that Barack's mother and he had different views about his racial identity and heritage."I still trusted my mother's love - but I now faced the prospect ...had the outlook that something else was the true reality that her account of the world, and my father's place in it, was somehow incomplete."
Discuss the factors that accounted for his mother's idealisticimagined to be very perfect or positive beyond what is actually true view of her son's heritage and Barack's more complex perspective on his racial identity.
Why does he claim that his "vision had been permantly altered."
Assignment: Reflections and collocations for Chapter 2 are due Friday. Several of these questions would make excellent topics for reflection.
Review the directions for writing both. Please note posting requirement for various groups at the top of this page.