Tag Archives: emotions

War

Read “War,” by Timothy Findley.

Do you think you really understand why adults do the things they do?

Respond to the Story

  • Whose war does the author refer to in the title? Support your view with examples from the story.
  • With a small group, discuss whether you think the way Neil reacts to his father leaving is typical of a ten-year-old boy. Why do you think he throws the stones?
  • Like most stories, the action builds up to an event that’s the high point or climax. What is the climax of “War”?

Explore Personal Feelings
Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you lost control of your emotions or the way you acted? What event or situation in your life made you lose control? Jot down in note form what happened, how you felt at the time, how you felt afterwards, and how the situation was resolved.

Use your notes to write a story about that incident. You might use a structure similar to “War.” The beginning could introduce the main characters and the problem or situation. The middle section could explore how everyone had to deal with this problem. The climax could occur when you (or your character) lose control. The end could briefly describe how everything was resolved.

When you write your story, how do you write conversations between characters? Could your style be improved? How?

Masks

Masks are intriguing because they serve some interesting purposes. When you put on a mask, you do one of many things: transform your character, hide your identity, or protect yourself. Everyone has worn a mask at some point in life. When was the last time you wore a mask? How did it feel to have a mask on in that situation?

 

Cultural Masks
Literary Persona
Character Masks

The concept of character masks refers to the circumstance that, in human societies, people can take on functions in which they “act out” roles, whether voluntarily chosen, by necessity, or forced. In those roles, some or all of their true characteristics and intentions may be partly or wholly masked, so that they appear different from what they truly are – “public face” and “private thoughts, interests and emotions” diverge. Also, their activity may have broader social effects that they would rather not know about, which they wish to be unknown or presented in a certain light, or which they are unaware of, and therefore the effects are mentally disconnected from their real causes.

As in the Beginning

“As in the Beginning” by Mary di Michele is a grimly realistic retelling of events that express regret, anger and bitterness.

Theme:

A person’s loss of limb can never be adequately recompensed with money; when someone we love is injured, his/her pain can become ours.

Techniques:

  • parallel structure
  • simile
  • alliteration
  • personification
  • understatement

Issues:

What makes us whole?

Why does the speaker describe the “man” so objectively in the first nine lines of the poem.

How does the tone of the poem change after the first nine lines?

To what extent does the speaker understate or overstate the emotions associated with his/her father’s situation?

Which lines or phrases do you think express what the speaker is feeling most powerfully? What do these lines convey to them?

What is the significance of the title?

“As in the Beginning” by Mary di Michele
A man has two hands and when one
gets caught on the belt and his fingers
are amputated and then patched
he cannot work. His hands are insured
however so he gets some money
for the work his hands have done before.
If he loses a finger he gets a flat sum
of $250 for each digit &/or $100 for a joint
missing for the rest of his stay on earth,
like an empty stool at a beggar’s banquet.
When the hands are my father’s hands
it makes me cry although my pen must keep scratching
its head across the page of another night.
To you my father is a stranger
and perhaps you think the insurance paid is enough.

Give me my father’s hands when they are not broken
and swollen,
give me my father’s hands, young again,
and holding the hands of my mother,
give me my father’s hands still brown and uncallused,
beautiful hands that broke bread for us at table,
hands smooth as marble and naked as the morning,
give me hands without a number tattooed at the wrist,
without the copper sweat of clinging change,
give my father’s hands as they were in the beginning,
whole,
open,
warm
and without fear