Wednesday, July 27, 2005

This Instructoral Thug Thanks You!

Well: please accept my thanks to you faithful attendees of "Among the Thugs." 9:30 is very early in the day for me, but I loved coming every time. The seminar portions of our course always seemed to go particularly well -- I often sat back and smiled at your independent engagement with the themes.
We ended on a wonderful note for yours truly -- the palpable disquiet in the class as the echoes of 1984 grew to a crescendo in the conclusion to Nick Hornby's High Fidelity as Rob "submits to" (or, "accepts!") Big Sister is recognition that the "thugs" are getting the boot ... again: but this time from size 4 DMs and sensible pumps and Aldos. My credit to you and your sympathy for the British Thug and his treatment in fiction.

N.b. Once the course grades are submitted, please come back here & add your comments to this post, free of marking issues ...


Maggie said...

I'm not at all happy with the notion that matriarchy is being validated in High Fidelity, so I'm looking for every gimmick I can find to counter that argument. I'm sympathetic to thugs, as you may have noticed.
What about this gimmick? Rob broke up with five girls/women in part 1 of the novel. In part 2 Laura leaves him twice. I read p.31-32 as indicating her second jilting of Rob. Of course, we don't know the date of Rob's part 1 letter to Laura. Some folks said it is "then", and part 2 is "now". Yes, that's what the divisions say. So "then" was her second jilting.
This next step in logic is a stretch: if Rob broke up with girls/women seven times, and 7X5=35, and the number of chapter in part 2 are 35, but Rob is aged 36, now is he not in a post-breakup situation?
Where did I get the "five" in the above multiplication? Well, five, five, five is repeated many, many times: the five break ups in part one, the list of top favourite records, film, etc. So I read five has being a significant number even if I don't know what it means (though actually I think it means the Rolling Stones, but would need a week to try to explain myself).

Anonymous said...

thought i'd share this find

maggie said...

More on High Fidelity: I'm suspicious of the paratexts "Then" and "Now". Are these markers alerting us to something? Could it be that part 1 is really "Now" and part 2 "Then"?
If we were to read the novel that way then the confused, mixed up Rob would have worked through his insecurity and confusion in the "then" part (that is, in part 2), and he would "now" be clear about the sequence of his life's events and, more satisfying to me, would have resolved his relationshiip with that awful woman, Laura. And the novel would have the ending that I want it to have.

Anonymous said...

A review of John Carey's "What Good are the Arts?" talks, in part, about the therapeutic results and consequential social benefits of art in prisons. These remarks made me think of "A Clockwork Orange". The review goes on to say that we are "lonely left-over hunter-gatherers who long for community and that we might get a much more helpful respnse to loneliness from fashion, gardening and football, though there the male bonding, valuable in principle, sometimes ends in violence". I'm not sure what the "there" refers to, but if it refers to football (or mass culture) then that notion again reminds me of our Engl 342 course.
So, the suggestion seems to be that art is useful for thugs. Hitler certainly thought so.

Dr. S.A. Ogden said...

Excellent comment - I'll remember that for next go-round! My thanks.