10/20-21 – Reading Chapters 2 & 3, Iowa Assessments

Whichever day you have class, we’ll work on these things:

  1. Reading Chapters 2 & 3 and preparing for seminar (annotate the book with stickies, then in your lab book, write one of each type of question and then answer ONE of the questions you developed as if it was a prompt).
  2. Signing up for seminar inner circles.
  3. Foster presentations on “If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism” and “Flights of Fancy.” A nutshell version of these Foster Presentations below.

Flights of Fancy

  • Flying or pseudo-flying = something only extraordinary folks can do, often symbolic of freedom OR miracles
  • Might involve leaping, jumping, being pushed, being shot out of a canon, being suspended by wires
  • Can suggest angels or other godlike superhuman qualities
  • Characters who don’t quite fly or whose flights are interrupted or end prematurely —> in general a bad thing (crash landing) but can also be a type of REBIRTH if they land safely and cheat death. Raises questions of what it means to survive certain death and how that survival alters our relationship to the world.

FLYING IS NOT JUST LITERAL FLIGHT HOWEVER.  It can also involve the metaphorical flight of reaching beyond our limitations–like reaching for dreams, things beyond the world in which the character lives, freedom from imprisonment or slavery or other types of ugliness, etc.

If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism

Whenever a literary character gets wet, you’re probably looking at a “baptism” scene. We don’t mean this in a religious sense at all, rather we’re looking at it as a metaphor for death/rebirth/new identity.

HOW a character gets wet (jumping, leaping, being pushed, being dragged, etc)


How WET a character gets (drenched, damp, sprinkled)


What the character does or how the character changes afterward (says I love you or starts to plot revenge, etc)

All help to set up the symbolism of the baptism. For example…

  • not fully submerged? Maybe the baptism didn’t quite “take”
  • pushed involuntarily into the water? Maybe the character wasn’t quite “ready” and won’t change much yet
  • got out of the water and only had eyes for one person? Maybe they’ve realized s/he’s the “one.”

One thought on “10/20-21 – Reading Chapters 2 & 3, Iowa Assessments

  1. I wrote about the impact/role/affect of the war and rivalry on the characters, as well as the story in general. I think that the war represents a couple things. I think that generally it represents the conflict between the characters. However, on a deeper level I think it represents the personal struggle that Gene, and I suppose Finny too, are having. Gene feels obligated to do things that Finny wants him to. This is shown well in the river jumping scene where Gene realizes that he wouldn’t even have needed anyone to save his life at all if he wasn’t there, and that was all because of Finny. Gene always seems to be going back and forth between whether Finny is good or bad for him, should he do this or that. His personal “war” is that of finding where, or if at all, Finny fits in to his life. Just like in any war, things change and adapt to the situation, and after the swimming pool scene, their relationship isn’t the same, Finny has changed from his boisterous self into a more personal self when he decides not to share his record breaking moment with others. Even though they are “best friends”-which is stated over and over again in chapters 2 and 3, there seems to be an underlying rivalry between the two. Also, this isn’t so much about this particular answer, but going back to the original question: The war seems to be a far away thing that almost feels unreal or unreachable. These students are living in a fairly relaxed world, it’s summer and the adults are not present very much, they play lots of games. This is very different from the war situation that is happening elsewhere.

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