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May 03, 2006

Blue note

Resurrection Blues Study Guide (online) -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)

ďLike any blues, it speaks of pain, public and private, and it speaks of loss. For all its humor, it presents broken relationships, casual betrayals, a denatured language, greed disguised as principle, a vacuity at the heart of affairs. The question it raises is what transcendent idea makes us welcome each new dawn, or have we consigned the very idea of transcendence to a history in which we no longer believe? Would we rather not be embarrassed by the thought that we serve something beyond our own desires, exist to do something more than insulate ourselves from the reality we fear?Ē (35).

This was an interesting study guide and I liked the extensive timeline at the beginning. I think itís important to try to understand some of the obvious forces that shape a writer. This is one thing I tried to do with Flannery OíConnor, with an arguable amount of success. Some things were obvious, others less so, many were debatable to a large degree.

Especially with someone who had the success and longevity as Arthur Miller (whose career spanned 70 years and a great deal of world and cultural change), understanding what he saw and experienced can be very useful. He lived and worked during some of the greatest events in world history.

I lit on the above passage because it seemed to try and touch on the issues the writer thought were essential in Resurrection Blues. I especially liked the last question. Rather provocative, I thought. My answer is no, but thatís me and that is born of the things Iíve seen and experienced. Iíve also met and suffered some Felixes and Skip Cheeseboros in my life. Their motivations would be something more material, I think we can all agree. However having characters like that in a play or novel provide such a contrast to the Nick Carraways and Henri Shultzes that we canít help but trust the latter.

Posted by MattHampton at May 3, 2006 12:28 PM


Interesting, you feel that Nick and Henri are alike? So are you suggesting that Henri may be misleading the audience/reader?

Posted by: ChrisU at May 3, 2006 09:58 PM

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