opal viola victoria bear shield W r i t i n g

opal viola victoria bear shield W r i t i n g

You may have noticed that the book is divided into four parts (after the Prologue): Remain, Reclaim, Return, and Powwow.

please read the remaining three chapters in Part I, “Remain,” which introduce you to Dene Oxendene, Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield, and Edwin Black. As you read, make note of allusions, imagery, and motifs that seem significant to you.

share at least three items from your list with your small discussion group. Briefly explain why you think each item — allusion, (Links to an external site.)imagery, (Links to an external site.) or motif (Links to an external site.) — is potentially significant.

The goal is for you to begin noticing for yourself how the writer is developing characters, plot, and themes through specific literary techniques. Once you are tuned in to these techniques, you can begin analyzing how they function in the text.

Below, I’ve provided a sample list from Chapter 1, “Tony Loneman” as an example of what I’m looking for. For your discussion board, you will be pulling from three chapters, and you may find an image or motif that appears in more than one chapter.

PLEASE NOTE THAT LATE POSTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT. Since you are in small groups, it’s really important that you post on time for your group mates.


(Please note that my page numbers refer to the Kindle edition, so they may not correspond with your page numbers.)

In Chapter 1, “Tony Loneman,” I noticed several allusions and a recurring motif that I think might reward further scrutiny:

1. Part I starts with an epigraph from Javier Marias that introduces the idea of masks . It’s often helpful to research an epigraph. Tommy Orange may have chosen this excerpt from a longer work that somehow relates to There There, or perhaps he is quoting an author whose work might resonate with this novel. I wasn’t familiar with Marias, but a quick Google search revealed that he is literary superstar in Spain and also the king of a West Indian micronation (Fay). (Links to an external site.) This makes me think Marias might be seen as a symbol of colonization, and I wonder if the reference to something hiding behind a mask could be an oblique reference to colonizers. If I learned more about the excerpt or the author, it might connect to themes of this novel.

2. Tony listens to MF Doom, a British rapper who wears a metallic mask and “calls himself a villain” (17). Since Tony is very self-conscious about his facial deformity, it makes sense that he is attracted to someone who hides his face. But I think the allusion also underscores Tony’s rage. When angry, he says, his face “heats up and hardens like it’s made of metal” (18). If I were to learn more about the artist or his work, I might find more connections to Tony or to themes of the novel. (In addition, Tony likes the way Doom’s lyrics contain double-meanings; I wonder if the author is inviting us to look for double-meanings, too.)

3. In the first line of the chapter, Tony says “the drome first came to me in the mirror when I was six” (15). This isn’t quite true, though — it turns out that he first became aware of the facial deformity that resulted from Fetal Alcohol Syndrom when he sees his reflection “in front of the TV” (15). The fact that Tony sees himself reflected in a TV screen seems significant to me for two reasons: the image of Tony’s face in the TV links to the image of the Indian Head test pattern introduced in “Prologue,” and the image is repeated at the end of the chapter when Tony puts on his regalia and stands in front of the TV to see himself. This time, he doesn’t see The Drome, he sees “an Indian . . . a dancer” (25). The use of the TV as a mirror is a powerful symbol, i think, of how media representation (and misrepresentation) can affect a person’s sense of self. This seems like a motif I might want to keep track of.

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