• David wrote a new post, Elvis, on the site The Arts of Dissent 1 year ago

    This section of Graceland covered topics that some may find very uncomfortable. So be warned as my blog will not hold back. To begin, it seems as though this section we read for today plays with the idea of youth […]

    • Chris Abani tries to engage the reader with culture. Each chapter there is a description of kola nuts which sets a way of living in Lagos for the reader. Elvis is a main character and others add life to him. Abani puts Elvis in a unimaginable setting. The description was cold and we could envision this happening. At the end of the scene, he was talking to Efua and they discuss that it happened to Efua also and that she tried to tell her father about Elvis. The line that makes the reader think deep is “Grown-ups do not believe children.” (199) The description of the scene was to make a point. This could be happening to the youths and adults wouldn’t know if they are telling the truth or lying. Another dimension that this adds is that the family lives with the youths even when situations are under-looked. Elvis felt something that he couldn’t believe. “Dazed, he stumbled to the front of the altar and sat on the floor for hours, staring up at the picture of a sunrise .” (pg198) This adds to Elvis’ character. He could’ve lost all hope and walk away to nothing but instead walks to a church. Elvis is a strong character and it tells us about the people living in Afikpo, Lagos during 1980 that there was suffering. People endured tough situations but still lived on.

    • Woah, that was A LOT. Well, first off this part of the book and actually, the whole book reminds me of the movie Moonlight. It’s about an African American male finding his way through life and figuring out his own sexuality. I watched the movie and this part of the book made me think of it because Abani is explaining and she gives loads of imagery for the readers to know that he is being sexually harassed by a male and not a female. I dont know but i just felt very uncomfortable reading this part of Elvis’ journey.

      Honestly, i have no clue why Abani would use such deep sexual tone other than for telling the readers it is a male raping him. Maybe it can also be because Abani is explaining himself or giving a part of himself in this story with Elvis. Maybe Elvis is Chris Abani?

      Honestly, i thought Elvis might of been gay since the beginning of the book i believe it was in chapter five. When Elvis was trying on dresses and lipstick, doing his hair, it made me think that maybe he can be gay knowing that he found happiness in doing that. I’ve mentioned in my last blog post a question about Elvis maybe becoming gay, so i wouldn’t be surprised if he was.

    • Julia replied 1 year ago

      Hey David,
      Though a repugnant section of the novel, you made some fine points regarding the incorporation of the scene with such vivid imagery and a strong sexual tone. To answer your first question, I do believe the strong tenor was put there for emphasis. The weight of the situation would be different to the reader if Abani was to say: “Elvis was raped” in contrast to “…hard against his buttocks, and then burst of fire rip him in two”. The imagery and the description give a reader more insight and the personification usage was there to instill response. It is a huge scene but it is a build up of the character Elvis becomes and Abani gives us a glimpse of a situation so gruesome yet a building block of Elvis’ childhood.

    • Dana replied 1 year ago

      Hey David,
      I really enjoyed reading this blog because you brough up some very disturbing moments in the book that need to be addressed. One thing that stood out to me was when you said “Elvis stopped afraid the man’s soul had left his body” (212) because it shows not only his sexual experience, but also his childhood innocence as well. Those two seem to coincide a lot within the text.

      As for why the author chose to use such vivid imagery, I’m really not sure. I’m assuming they just wanted readers to get the full effect of what they were trying to describe. It’s like the concept “show, don’t tell”. It makes readers more interested in Elvis’ journey. It’s also important that the readers know that he’s having these sexual encounters with a male figure. This is a huge moment in his life.

    • Nakia replied 1 year ago

      “So be warned as my blog will not hold back” You did not need this.
      “We are shown many young characters dealing with many coming of age problems. We have a character that is married waiting to move to Africa, we have young men exploring their sexuality, we have Elvis actually first hand has went through a sexual journey.” This could have been more specific since it does include a fruitful variety of choices to elaborate on. “There are many interesting scenes that should be deeply analyzed, but the scene that caught my attention the most was the raping of Elvis”. This did not need the part before the “,”. Also, This should have replaced the previous quote I extracted from your response.
      So, I believe that you could have gone over your blog post for grammatical errors, and to see what could have been taken out. There are sentences that appear to just be fillers which you do not need. You have a great topic and idea about youth and innocence but I feel that you could have better presented both ideas to your readers in a more elaborate manner.

    • Hey David,
      While reading this disturbing part of the book, I came to a conclusion that Abani is trying to evoke something in his readers that females aren’t the only ones subjected to rape. This scene shows how the innocence of a child can be taken away and if he/she dares to talk about it to an adult they would be looked upon as liars and bad children. I think Abani’s uses a heavy sexual tone because he wants us to feel Elvis pain as if we were in that chapel ourselves. The passage where Elvis saw Efua being raped he stood there and began to get excited even though he knew it was wrong. Now it was him who is being sexually abused and he can also feel Efua’s pain and agony of having to endure such a traumatic experience. Abani is showing that the innocent is not exempt from these heinous crimes.

  • For today’s reading we had to read Adrienne Rich’s article. Basically the author is indicating the struggle of women during that time period by analyzing a raisin in the sun. She states in the article that black […]

    • Hi, when I read this document some ideas came to mind and I think it would make some thesis’ better to write. The information I received was similiar and i want to point out a line that was in the article. ” Her work and her biography have come to us largely through efforts of her literary executor and divorced husband Robert Nemiroff (from unfinished manuscripts and notes.) I could understand where that idea came up. To answer the question, there are may articles that one could read and have many thoughts about it, but its up to the reader to decide what actions to take. Authors have a history and its up to them to raise questions and thoughts in the academics. It just broadend my idea and made me see it in a different light. I think that it is alarming that a book read by students has that motion. The author doesn’t lose credibility and the book still is remarkable because of that knowledge that inspires one to question what is difficult to understand.

    • All the people who posted have some really good formats for their blog posts. I like your blog post, especially with the blue text. Knowing that Raisin in the Sun should have been a different play makes me curious about what it was originally like. It makes me want to read the original and compare it with the version I read. I think the way Raisin is definitely had an impact and it worked out for the best. But I feel like for Rich there’s no way to enjoy something like Raisin truly unless the reader was of black descent. She says it on page 22 “I wait for the Black feminist who, with free access to Hansberry’s unpublished papers, can help us see her unidealized, unsimplified, in her fullest complexity, in her fullest political context” (Rich 22). Rich is saying that to fully understand the potential of such a work, it needs to be from someone who doesn’t have a bias different from that of what Hansberry was going for. But to me, I feel like there is still something valuable about an outsider looking in.

    • You did a really great job analyzing the text by Rich. I really like how you stayed on topic with the fact that Nemiroff was taking Hansberry’s ideas and tampering with it and using it as his own.
      Your question, does it change my point of view after reading this essay by Rich, i think it does and doesnt because regardless if Nemiroff tried to take the credit i was still very interested in the play Raisin in the Sun because of the plot and the situations that were played out. It was still interesting to me and even after learning this, it continues to stay interesting to me.
      Maybe the text wasnt meant to be written exactly this way but i believe that this play got the message across to the world and to all the readers who had watched and read the play. Which was about the life of a black person and the struggles they had to go through; and also how they were treated and downgraded by the whites people.
      Really good job though!

    • First, your title was very intriguing, and quite humorous which made me want t read the blog.
      I do agree with you that even though the writings have been altered, they still created a great impact in history. I agree with the idea that If “the novel has been tampered with I would be more inclined to read it even more”. It makes the reader wonder why he or she decided to alter thing she from the novel. I don’t think the author loses credibility rather creates a more open interpretation that can be made. There are other sides to a story, so even if there was alteration to a novel, it would still be as interesting if it weren’t altered.

    • I was surprised but it’s not unusual and the play does actually still have a very powerful meaning. I don’t think it makes the author not the writer but instead the author receiving help. Everyone needs opinions and their work reviewed by someone else. I really like how you quoted “there is an assumption of leadership historically” because this still goes on in todays day not necessarily focusing on race but with different things as well. As for changing my point of view it doesn’t because the play was a hit either way and maybe it was for the best in Rich’s work.

    • Any piece of art in its original form-that is the from in which its creator intended it to be appreciated-should, in my belief, remain such as. Alterations, even those in which are contributed by those closest to the artist, may, largely divert from the works true meaning. And considering that these alterations are done without any from of consent allow me to come to the conclusion that the work is no longer the artist’s. The work is now that of its editor. “Credibility” of course is not lost due to the fact that the alterations are done so unbeknownst to the artist-this is considering only those that are mentioned within Adrienne Rich’s article. And if this was done to “A Raisin in the Sun”, then as you asked, does this changed the play’s overall texture? My answer is no, it does not. Is it not the play in its original format? To my understanding, the play which we all have read is true to its from as it is closest to Lorraine Hansberry’s original manuscript.

      Great post, David, with great questions. I enjoyed reading your blog and I greatly appreciated your title. 🙂 See you in class.


      • When a text has been tampered with, we as readers are now understanding it through a different lens then it was originally intended to be understood by the author. Regarding Hansberry’s autobiography and unfinished writings, you would think that her husband’s editing process would be reliable because he is someone who spent a great deal of time with her and had an intimacy that we don’t understand, when in reality, any type of editing without the author’s consent is not a credible source. Any artist put themselves into the material, which is imbued with a unique meaning that we as readers must try to interpret for ourselves. While Nemiroff’s intentions may be genuine and try to edit Hansberry’s vision as it was intended to be, it is his vision and not the original author. Rich understands that throughout history, woman author’s in particular are subjected to these kind of heavy criticisms from white authors who have top authority over literary cannon.

    • I think you had an interesting perspective on this yet I am a little confused and maybe you can help give me clarity. I totally love the fact that you picked up on this really important point of male influence on a female writers work or taking what is left of her work and then putting it together and releasing it. From what I was able to gather was that “Raisin in the Sun” wasn’t tampered with by her husband, her autobiography and unfinished works that were to be produced or published were. He put together and edited, or added to her work not yet finished and then released them which doesn’t give the reader the authors full voice. There was a lack of knowing when her voice stopped and his started and then we as the reader lose sight of what Hansberry was truly trying to convey. Rich was simply saying how great of a loss it is to not be able to have the full perspective, and also calling into question Hansberry and her lack of aggressively attacking feminist issues or not allowing the female voice to outshine that of the males in her play. I also think to your point about the changes made in the play, Rich doesn’t state that “Raisin in the Sun” wasn’t supposed to be written the way it was, she actually said “Of even the blandest and most digestible plays, we know that hands other than the playwright’s have sniped and smoothed, pried apart and reglued the original script with an eye to making back the investment following those economics of the New York theater…” (pg.14-15) meaning Hansberry like every other writer has to have her work edited and proofread. She goes on to say “I know from my own experience as a white, lesbian feminist that the first – and last – censors are interior …. writing in the face of that judgement and culture of white males … to determine whose experience counts, which themes are “universal” … ” (pg.15). To me, what I am reading is that no matter what as a writer it is hard to not let interior/exterior influences not sway what your writing and that there is evidence in Hansberry’s work that suggests she wasn’t totally honest in her approach. That instead of a deeper, meaner, truly emotionally raw approach she gave the audience something more palatable and easy to digest and that is one of Rich’s “problems” with Hansberry.

  • My name is David Reddi. I am an English major as well as a Political Science major. My interests stretch far and wide. One of my favorite poets is John Milton. My favorite epic by him is Paradise Lost. It’s a very […]