Monday, October 19, 2009

George Washington Gomez: History and Character

This week we're beginning Paredes' novel, George Washington Gómez, originally written in the 1930s but not published until 1990. Though the novel itself has a very interesting publication history, we will be focusing in this discussion on the relationship between "history"--the narrative's historical context--and the novel form, specifically the Bildungsroman or novel of maturation. In other words, we will examine how history informs Paredes' characterization of George/Guálinto as the novel's hero.
Initiated in Guálinto's naming ceremony and carried throughout George Washington Gómez historical events interweave with narrative events to inform the direction that Guálinto's life will take. In particular, the scenes of Guálinto's daydreams indicate his ever-developing sense of himself in relation to the world around him. Analyze through close-reading one of two dreaming scenes: either Guálinto's daydreaming in the banana tree grove (pp. 66-69) or that in his sleep beginning in Part V (pp. 281-2). Then select one historical event woven into the scene and explain how that history enables us to make sense of Guálinto/George as a character.
You will need to complete the following steps:
  1. Explicate the scene with careful attention to the movement of the language. Select, for example, a recurring figure, use of punctuation, etc. OR select one or two representative sentences and explain their significance for the passage as a whole
  2. Identify the historical content of that scene (you may want to reference outside sources here; if so, be sure that you either cite or hyperlink them)
  3. Identify what characterizes Guálinto at the respective stages of his emerging identity
  4. Explain how all of these factors coincide to make Guálinto's choices and actions meaningful in the context of the narrative.

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