Jennifer Bishop October 31, 2007 Lecture Notes: Wrapping up “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies” and “The Courter” Pgs. 13, 8, 9, 15 “Topsy-turvy” effect in “Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies”: a warning to us about making assumptions and about thinking in terms of absolutes rather than in more flexible terms Pgs. 13-14: “she seemed calm and he thought, she has pulled it off. She smiled back with no trouble at all” She is in a good mood, and he assumes she’s been granted immigration permit She is actually happy because she didn’t get it Living in the West is preferable to living in the east- assumption A Pakistani woman will want to be married- assumption Pg. 15: “I got all their questions wrong…all topsy turvy” These aren’t accidental mistakes- on purpose The answers she gives are wrong, but right for her Story tells us that what’s right and wrong depends on your perspective What constitutes good advice depends on your point of view Rehanna sees that by doing the opposite of what M.A. suggests, she gets what she wants We can’t make assumptions or think in terms of absolutes Sometimes what appears wrong can actually be right Language can be empowering in unexpected ways Women can’t make decisions for themselves Tuesday women dependent on men Rehanna had no say in her arranged marriage not right for her even though her parents think it is redecorated the bathroom and took control uses negative assumptions about Tuesday Women to her advantage “Good Advice” comments on the interrelationship between East and West, but also the distance between them We expect the East to be exotic, but here it is mundane East and West are simply places Story in East, but West is a major factor/presence in the story Story centers on possibility of Rehanna’s immigration to the West There are many Easterners in the West- effects on them and those they left behind in the East Story makes us aware of movement between East and West There’s a distance between East and West Immigration policies are strict Rehanna uses the separation to her advantage, but usually it’s an impediment By remaining in the East, Rehanna defies Eastern tradition East and West are very related Internal relations are very complex Separation refers us to their connection separated by cultures separation is there for historical (colonial) reasons, referring to their historical connection Video on Salman Rushdie born in Bombay in 1947- before end of British empire father was well-off businessman, family wealthy happy, exciting childhood had a privileged childhood in a poor city secularized city- removed religion wanted to write about the first generation of independent Indians left for boarding school in England at age 14 School treated him as a foreigner Exposed to racism Realized he didn’t belong to the school (hated it) use to the big city, so New York wasn’t a shock- like home KEY POINTS Going to school as a “radicalizing experience” Rushdie was writing for 2 audiences- affects how we read his work New York as a jumble/mixture- we see “mixed-up” and Jumble-Aya in his text Pop culture is something that crosses frontiers “The Courter” Very autobiographical- is Rushdie the narrator? After the author reads the letter from the neice, he mentions “forced exile” Rushdie was IN a forced exile because of the Iranian patua Pgs. 185, 176, 177, 181, 180 language can cause difficulties/create conflict between people, but it can also open up possibilities and create new realities language can be fun and flexible even mistakes in language can be productive can cause misunderstanding (narrator asked girl if she had nipples and she hits him) can cause surprising consequences (foreign English versus British English) different dialect of English- shared by foreign speakers narrator speaks Bombay English includes language spoken by those who have it as a 2nd or 3rd language- can cause difficulty or embarrassment narrator sometimes feels self-conscious about the way he speaks Pg. 185: “I was able to conceal the shaming truth that I would have made the same mistake….my schoolfellows tittered when I said…” Ashamed that little sisters know something he doesn’t friction/conflict/not fitting in or belonging narrator’s schoolmates laugh at him for the way he talks (racist aspect to laughter)- treat it as an incorrect english Mary has trouble with English because she isn’t comfortable with it Gets things wrong (mixes up letters) Pg. 176: “…the letter p was a particular problem, often turning into an f or a c….she would say “going shocking”…she would answer “yes fleas”” in the 2 indian languages she speaks, her “p’s” knew their place narrator mentions place- Mary feels more at home in India, not in England later she becomes sick and has heart problems because she’s homesick happy accidents even mistakes that actually are mistakes can be turned into something productive her mistakes with “p” and “c” makes her call Mixed-up “courter”, opening up her relationship with him “this name, this courter, he would try to be” Courter could also refer to courtly love as a Western Tradition, as well as a wooer Name gives him permission to be a courter In a small way, her renaming of him shows the power of words Naming and renaming Gives the people doing the renaming a sense of power nicknames given to Porter and Mary by children children have a different class position a way to have control over their lives when their lives are unhappy (father alcoholic, violent) Mr. Mixed-Up: he is mixed up to them since the pronunciation of his name seems illogical A stroke left him in mental confusion More to the nickname than children intended Mixed up culturally since he’s an immigrant in western society with foreign tenants and having courtship with Indian immigrant (mixture of cultures) Jumble-Aya for Mary She tends to jumble up her letters “jumblaya” – ingredients mixed up, Creole dish inspired by Spain (fusion of cultural cuisines), something new Mary is an immigrant having a relationship with another immigrant, speaks other languages, Christian living with muslim family References to Pop music Mentions Ray Charles, Elvis, etc. on Pg. 180 Popular music was the product of the mixing of different cultures rock and roll- combination of white/black music making movement across boundaries Rushdie celebrates the movement of music mixing and migrating are key ideas in the text. Pop culture references draw our attention to mixed/hybrid cultural forms that are able to cross boundaries (race, class, culture, nation).