Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Cal Poly Sustainability Book Club Nov. 19, 2010 Catherine Waitinas (English Dept.)

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Cal Poly Sustainability Book Club Nov. 19, 2010 Catherine Waitinas (English Dept.)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cal Poly Sustainability Book Club Nov. 19, 2010 Catherine Waitinas (English Dept.)

2 Bestseller immediately Bestseller immediately Oprah’s Book Club selection; this led to McCarthy’s first televised interview ever Oprah’s Book Club selection; this led to McCarthy’s first televised interview ever 2006 National Book Award finalist 2006 National Book Award finalist 2007 Pulitzer Prize 2007 Pulitzer Prize 2009 film adaptation starring Viggo Mortensen 2009 film adaptation starring Viggo Mortensen

3 What “would happen if environmental meltdown continue[d] to its logical conclusion”?http://rs.resalliance.org/2010/01/ 19/cormac-mccarthy-and-santa-fe-institute/ What “would happen if environmental meltdown continue[d] to its logical conclusion”?http://rs.resalliance.org/2010/01/ 19/cormac-mccarthy-and-santa-fe-institute/http://rs.resalliance.org/2010/01/ 19/cormac-mccarthy-and-santa-fe-institute/http://rs.resalliance.org/2010/01/ 19/cormac-mccarthy-and-santa-fe-institute/ Could this—or any—book change the world? George Monbiot apparently called McCarthy one of his “50 people who could save the planet.” Could this—or any—book change the world? George Monbiot apparently called McCarthy one of his “50 people who could save the planet.” Many literary scholars argue that, regardless of its aesthetic quality, a book can do “cultural work.” Many literary scholars argue that, regardless of its aesthetic quality, a book can do “cultural work.”

4 Map of the route in The Road: Map of the route in The Road: See also “The Route and Roots of The Road”: See also “The Route and Roots of The Road”:

5 The Road is part of a long history of literary engagements with the earth and humanity’s place on the earth. The Road is part of a long history of literary engagements with the earth and humanity’s place on the earth. Literature can show us what we take for granted—and how much we have to lose. Literature as redemptive. Literature can show us what we take for granted—and how much we have to lose. Literature as redemptive. In a “new world” – Eaarth, perhaps (Bill McKibben)– literature can provide a record of the “old world.” Literature as memorial. In a “new world” – Eaarth, perhaps (Bill McKibben)– literature can provide a record of the “old world.” Literature as memorial.

6 Loss: Perdition, ruin, destruction; the condition or fact of being ‘lost’, destroyed, or ruined. Selfhood / identity Selfhood / identity Civilization / community Civilization / community Memory Memory Language Language Biosphere Biosphere

7 Walt Whitman, “The Song of the Open Road” Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose. Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good- fortune; Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Strong and content, I travel the open road. The earth—that is sufficient; I do not want the constellations any nearer; I know they are very well where they are; I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

8 Walt Whitman continued You air that serves me with breath to speak! You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape! You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers! You animals moving serenely over the earth! You birds that wing yourselves through the air! you insects! You sprouting growths from the farmers’ fields! you stalks and weeds by the fences! You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides! I think you are latent with unseen existences—you are so dear to me.

9 Walt Whitman continued Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons, It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth. … The earth never tires; The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first— Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first; Be not discouraged—keep on—there are divine things, well envelop’d’ I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.

10 Emily Dickinson, “The spider as an artist” THE SPIDER as an artist THE SPIDER as an artist Has never been employed Though his surpassing merit Though his surpassing merit Is freely certified Is freely certified By every broom and Bridget By every broom and Bridget Throughout a Christian land. Neglected son of genius, Neglected son of genius, I take thee by the hand.

11 Emily Dickinson, “Some keep the Sabbath” SOME keep the Sabbath going to church; I keep it staying at home, With a bobolink for a chorister, And an orchard for a dome. And an orchard for a dome. Some keep the Sabbath in surplice; Some keep the Sabbath in surplice; I just wear my wings, And instead of tolling the bell for church, Our little sexton sings. Our little sexton sings. God preaches,—a noted clergyman,— And the sermon is never long; And the sermon is never long; So instead of getting to heaven at last, I’m going all along!

12 Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Apostrophe to Man” Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Apostrophe to Man” (On reflecting that the world is ready to go to war again) Detestable race, continue to expunge yourself, die out. Breed faster, crowd, encroach, sing hymns, build bombing airplanes; Make speeches, unveil statues, issue bonds, parade; Convert again into explosives the bewildered ammonia and the distracted cellulose; Convert again into putrescent matter drawing flies The hopeful bodies of the young; exhort, Pray, pull long faces, be earnest, be all but overcome, be photographed; Confer, perfect your formulae, commercialize Bacteria harmful to human tissue, Put death on the market; Breed, crowd, encroach, expand, expunge yourself, die out, Homo called sapiens. (On reflecting that the world is ready to go to war again) Detestable race, continue to expunge yourself, die out. Breed faster, crowd, encroach, sing hymns, build bombing airplanes; Make speeches, unveil statues, issue bonds, parade; Convert again into explosives the bewildered ammonia and the distracted cellulose; Convert again into putrescent matter drawing flies The hopeful bodies of the young; exhort, Pray, pull long faces, be earnest, be all but overcome, be photographed; Confer, perfect your formulae, commercialize Bacteria harmful to human tissue, Put death on the market; Breed, crowd, encroach, expand, expunge yourself, die out, Homo called sapiens.

13 Page 52: "The clock stepped at 1:17. A long shear of light and then a series of low concussions. He got up and went to the window. What is it? she said. He didnt answer. He went into the bathroom and threw the lightswitch but the power was already gone. A dull rose glow in the windowglass.” Why is McCarthy so vague? Why is McCarthy so vague? What happened? What happened? Does it even matter? Does it even matter?

14 Page 51: “He pitched the sweatblackened piece of leather into the woods and sat holding the photograph. Then he laid it down in the road also and then he stood and they went on.” Page 55: “We’re the walking dead in a horror film.” Page 117: “In what direction did lost men veer? Perhaps it changed with hemispheres. Or handedness. Finally he put it out of his mind. The notion that there could be anything to correct for. His mind was betraying him. Phantoms not heard from in a thousand years rousing slowly from their sleep. Correct for that.” Page 153-4: “Maybe he understood for the first time that to the boy he was himself an alien. A being from a planet that no longer existed…. He could not enkindle in the heart of the child what was ashes in his own.”

15 Page 32: "Within a year, there were fires on the ridges and deranged chanting. The screams of the murdered. By day the dead impaled on spikes along the road.” Page 126: “They’re going to eat those people, arent they?” Page 139: “The richness of a vanished world.” Page 161: [Even] “by their new world standards he smelled terrible.” Page 169: “How would you know if you were the last man on earth?” Page 181: “… like shoppers in the commissaries of hell. … their stores were all but gone.”

16 Billy Collins, “Forgetfulness” The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of, as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones. Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets, The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of, as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones. Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

17 Billy Collins continued something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay. something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay. Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen. It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart. Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen. It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

18 Page 88: “He tried to think of something to say but could not. He’d had this feeling before, beyond the numbness and the dull despair. The world shrinking down about a raw core of parsible entities. The names of things slowly following those things into oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true. More fragile than he would have thought. How much was gone already? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so of its reality. Drawing down like something trying to preserve heat. In time to wink out forever.” Page 187: “He’d not have thought the value of the smallest thing predicated on a world to come. It surprised him.”

19 Page 20: "Do you think there could be fish in the lake? No, there is nothing in the lake.” Page 275: “Perhaps in the world’s destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. The silence.” Page 222: “One vast salt sepulchre. Senseless. Senseless.” Page 20: "Do you think there could be fish in the lake? No, there is nothing in the lake.” Page 275: “Perhaps in the world’s destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspecta cle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. The silence.”

20 from T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men” from T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men” This is the dead land This is cactus land. … This is the dead land This is cactus land. … In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech. … This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.

21 Page 29: “Can you do it? When the time comes? Can you?” Page 68: “You will not face the truth. You will not.” Page 83: “We’re carrying the fire.” Page 86: “We could go back, the boy said softly. It’s not so far. It’s not too late.” Page 114: “Can you do it? When the time comes? When the time comes there will be no time. Now is the time. Curse God and die. What if it doesnt fire? It has to fire. What if it doesnt fire? Could you crush that beloved skull with a rock? Is there such a being within you of which you know nothing? Can there be? Hold him in your arms. Just so. The soul is quick. Pull him toward you. Kiss him. Quickly.”

22 Page 129: “We’re the good guys.” “Yes.” “And we’re carrying the fire.” “And we’re carrying the fire. Yes.” “Okay.” Page 129: “… he thought it was about beauty or about goodness. Things that he’d no longer any way to think about at all.” Page 137: “Okay. This is what the good guys do. They keep trying. They dont give up.” Page 151: “I don’t think we’re likely to meet any good guys on the road.” “We’re on the road.” “I know.” Page 248: “I will do what I promised, he whispered. No matter what. I will not send you into the darkness alone.”

23 Page 259: “You’re not the one who has to worry about everything.” … “Yes I am, he said. I am the one.” Page 273: “… him standing there in the road looking back at him from some unimaginable future, glowing in that waste like a tabernacle.” Page 279: “You have my whole heart. You always did. You’re the best guy. You always were. … You’re going to be lucky. I know you are.” Page 280: “ … they had reached the point of no return which was measured from the first solely by the light they carried with them.”

24 From Robert Frost, “Directive” There is a house that is no more a house Upon a farm that is no more a farm And in a town that is no more a town … This was no playhouse but a house in earnest Your destination and your destiny's …

25 Page 7: "Then he picked up the phone and dialed the number of his father's house in that long ago.” Page 27: "This is where I used to sleep. My cot was against this wall. In the nights in their thousands to dream the dreams of a child’s imaginings, worlds rich or fearful such as might offer themselves but never the one to be.” Page 136: “… he very much feared that something was gone that could not be put right again.” Page 210: “I think maybe they are watching, he said. They are watching for a thing that even death cannot undo and if they do not see it they will turn away from us and they will not come back.” Page 7: "Then he picked up the phone and dialed the number of his father's house in that long ago.” Page 27: "This is where I used to sleep. My cot was against this wall. In the nights in their thousands to dream the dreams of a child’s imaginings, worlds rich or fearful such as might offer themselves but never the one to be.” Page 136: “… he very much feared that something was gone that could not be put right again.” Page 210: “I think maybe they are watching, he said. They are watching for a thing that even death cannot undo and if they do not see it they will turn away from us and they will not come back.” Page 222: “One vast salt sepulchre. Senseless. Senseless.”

26 Pages 286–7: Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins whimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”


Download ppt "Cal Poly Sustainability Book Club Nov. 19, 2010 Catherine Waitinas (English Dept.)"

Similar presentations


Ads by Google