Monday, December 1, 2008

Annotated Bibliography G4/Goddard

  1. Zamyatin, Yevgeny. We. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.
      Zamyatin's dystopia offers a grim representation of a world to come where people are desperately building a space ship to search for beings on other worlds to relieve them of the primitive system called freedom. Zamyatin's use of color in descriptions of the main character D-503 is striking. The notion of color perception by a character as he gains consciousness crept into my thought as I wrote early drafts of my creative thesis.
  2. Faulkner, William. "That Evening Sun." 50 Great Short Stories. Ed. Milton Crane. New York: Bantam Books, 1952. 352-367.
    Faulkner's short story “That Evening Sun” is a great lesson in dialog attribution. Everything revealed is discovered through the voices of the characters. Often times there are upwards of five characters speaking at one time and several conversations going on at once, making the important lesson of dialog attribution apt in this story. In studying this story, the importance of attribution is crucial in helping the reader to understand who is speaking.
  3. Carver, Raymond. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Stories. New York: Vintage Books, 1982.
    Carver's collection, especially the title story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” is another lesson in dialog and attribution. Throughout this story, there is generally only one character speaking at once, their individual voices are strong enough that there is little question of who speaks. As a juxtaposition Carver's dialog attribution is hypnotic with its repetition, whereas Faulkner's becomes cumbersome.
  4. Conroy, Frank. Stop-Time. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
    Conroy's memoir Stop-Time is his account of his early years through adolescence. Thematically the final chapters of Conroy's book are similar to my manuscript. Reading these final chapters of a young narrator in a student exchange program was valuable in the formation of some of my thoughts as I placed my narrator in a similar situation. In descriptions of distant events, Conroy uses the past tense for the majority of the narrative, and when the description needs urgency he uses the present tense. The tense shift serves to draw attention to the poignancy of individual scenes.
  5. Kosinski, Jerzy. The Painted Bird. New York: Grove Press, 1995.
Kosinski's unnamed narrator moves through the Polish countryside between 1937 and 1946. This narrator is dark skinned, either Jew or Gypsy, neither being safe during the Nazi occupation. As the narrator moves through one village to the next he is either turned away or accepted. The narrator's growth comes through his adversity. This novel was the basis for my long critical paper on literature about Poland during the Second World War.
  1. Colette. "The Other Wife." Trans. Matthew Ward. Sudden Fiction International. Ed. Robert Shapard and James Thomas. New York: WW Norton, 1989. 67-70.
    In this compact story Colette's development of character is potent in the scant action and dialog. The husband, Marc, emerges quickly as a believable and well-drawn character. In this short space, character development happens so quickly that it gave insight to the possibility of adding the secondary character, Ian, in my manuscript. The description of body language and instant conflict produces a well executed character in this short space.
  2. Bowles, Paul. The Stories of Paul Bowles. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, INC, 2001.
    Often set in Morrocco, the stories of Paul Bowles have an instantly mystic quality. The Moroccans are typically Moslem, the French are Catholic, and the differences between the city people and the country folk are the beginnings of conflict. In one noteworthy short story, “Midnight Mass,” Bowles celebrates the diversity with humor: “Three Moslems, one Hindu and one atheist, all running off to Midnight Mass? Ridiculous, no?” (Bowles 425) Using the juxtaposition of different people was of interest to my manuscript, where there are Germans, Americans, Irish and Africans living together.
  3. Alameddine, Rabih. I, the Divine. WW Norton: New York, 2001.
    Alameddine's I, the Divine is a novel written entirely in the first chapter. The narrator, Sarah, is writing her memoir, and cannot get past the first chapter. Amazingly enough, reading the various starts and stops of each new first chapter, the novel almost has a linear approach. Nonetheless, the novel is written in an episodic fashion.
  4. Schulz, Bruno. The Street of Crocodiles. New York: Viking Penguin, 1977.
    Schulz uses mythological archetypes to describe his family members during his early life in Drogobych, Poland. I used The Street of Crocodiles, as one of three main sources in my long critical paper. The real pleasure in The Street of Crocodiles is the tragedy of its author. Bruno Schulz's contribution to literature (and his life) was cut short when he was killed by Nazi bullets during Black Thursday.
  5. Knowles, John. A Separate Peace. Bantam: New York,1974.
I assigned A Separate Peace by John Knowles to the students in my teaching practicum workshop. In the course of the Tea Room Writer's Workshops we covered memory and biography, characterization, writing dialog, and development of setting. A Separate Peace was a fantastic example on all fronts. Lastly, as a group we read this novel, and I considered it critical as a tool for better fiction writing.

  1. Yates, Richard. The Easter Parade. Picador: New York, 1976.
    The Easter Parade follows the lives of three women Emily and Sarah Grimes, and their mother Pookie, over several years. Richard Yates alludes in the opening paragraph that their lives are destined to be bad because of their parents divorce. Although the novel covers Emily Grimes the most of the three, there is a whole cast of secondary characters who push the plot of her life along. The secondary characters are not nearly as developed, but they help to develop the Emily character. Her father, Walter Grimes, the life-partners: Jack Flanders, and Howard Dunninger are the three principle secondary characters who develop Emily for the reader.
  2. Miller, Henry. Quiet Days in Clichy. New York: Grove Press, INC, 1965.
    As clich├ęd as it may be, Henry Miller's Quiet Days in Clichy cannot be judged by its title, because days filled with sex and prostitutes, booze and crowded cafes hardly qualify as quiet. In the opening pages of the novel Miller makes beautiful the squalid conditions of his Paris. Since Miller was living in New York during the writing of this novel, the richness of his Paris comes from the comparison of the two cities. Similarly, the main character in my creative thesis is also living between two cities, Oakland, CA and Ansbach, Germany, and he often compares the two cities.
  3. Kotzwinkle, William. Elephant Bangs Train. Clinton, Massachusetts: The Colonial Press, 1971.
    William Kotzwinkle's Elephant Bangs Train is a collection of short stories, three of which were the basis of my second short critical paper. “A Most Incredible Meal,” “Elephant's Graveyard,” and the title story, “Elephant Bangs Train” all included elephants as a major theme or motif. Kotzwinkle's elephant stories develop more meaning and imagination than the myths on which they are based.
  4. Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr. Ripley. New York: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 1992.
    The effective use of Highsmith's third-person narration separates the reader from the inner most of Tom Ripley's emotional intentions and makes his actions the plot itself. The plot is action from Tom Ripley's early attempts at IRS fraud to the covering up of murder. The well executed third-person narration makes the novel more exciting than it would have been if written from a first-person point of view. Having written my thesis in the first person, I heavily considered changing the perspective after reading The Talented Mr. Ripley.
  5. Bellow, Saul. Seize the Day. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1966.
    The entire action of Saul Bellow's Seize the Day covers the course of just one day. Bellow's use of exposition is brilliant, as Tommy Wilhelm's entire life, and all of his failings are made clear from his ride in an elevator before breakfast to the last scene at a funeral shortly after lunch. The limited time-line of the story is astonishing when superimposed on the amount of history Bellow uses to develop the Tommy character.