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Notes Towards Day 9: Ordering the Chaos of Dreaming

Anne Dalke's picture

Notes Towards Day 9:
Ordering the Chaos of Dreaming

I. Coursekeeping
Continuing the name-testing: 3 volunteers?

Signing up for/confirming writing conferences this week:
will check in first, generally, re: your participation in class and on the forum
consulted w/ webmaster re: anonymity:
if you choose a pseudonym, there's no way to link to your name,
but how revealing you are might allow for identification,
if someone knew you were taking the course....
then we'll discuss your papers:
print it off the first one w/ my comments, and come having
brainstormed/written a first draft of the second one

due on-line @ 5 p.m. this Sunday Oct. 4: a 6-pp. paper in which
you propose a design for the remainder of the syllabus (days 16-26).
--Frame the essay with McIntosh's essay or your own first paper;
--Give an account of the work you have already done in
(=what you already "know" about) gender and sexuality;
--continue that account with a response to (@ least) one of the 3
(science, social science or humanities) texts we've read together;

--how did that expand or challenge what you already knew?

--Then propose a plan for completing the semester,
one that will take you into areas you do not know,
and draws on and recommends (@ least)
three outside texts, images or sounds to articulate the
philosophy and the praxis you'd like to see us explore together.

--and should include a pedagogical, a curricular and a philosophical dimension.

It should also "think of itself" as a teaching tool.

Remember/review the range of ideas we brainstormed
making a web-paper interesting to the larger world:
--evocative titles draw folks in
--images, ditto (but follow all guidelines for fair use: cite the source;
and attend to image size--large images slow down the loading of everyone's pages!)
--evocative gr/avatars, ditto
--don't assume that your audience is this class; explain references/give citations
--better: create active links, as windows into further research
--paragraph (spaces between each stage of your argument makes it easier to read)
--chose a readable type (visuals matter)

Questions (of general usefulness)?

Talking some more about Kate Bornstein's visit on Nov. 5:
a lunch session for those of us available 1-2:30?
a group trip to Villanova, 4-6?
who she is, why we might want to talk w/ her...

II. Today, turning to the third of the divisional "triumvirate": the humanities
go 'round and say one sentence re: your initial reaction/one question re: The Doll's House
what was your EXPERIENCE of encountering the text?
what did you LEARN/can you THEORIZE about that experience--
and its relevance to our conversations here?

ebock: My only really problem right now is trying to connect it to what we're talking about in class...

III. get in groups of three or four to answer (each of you)
one of these questions, and to generate another one for the whole group:

A. what particular contribution can the division of
the humanities
make to our understandings of g&s?
(cf. to what we learned from science & social science)

B. what particular contribution can the genre of the
graphic novel
make to our understandings of g&s?
(cf. to the ways that other genres--novels, poems, plays,
essays, films, the visual and plastic arts--operate on us;
what do they show us about the ways words vs. images operate?)

C. what particular contribution can this particular graphic
, The Doll's House, make to our understandings of g&s?
(cf. to the contributions of other graphic novels that focus
more insistently on questions of gender, like
Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan,
Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis,
Alan Moore's and David Gibbons's Watchmen....).

IV. background/theoretical frame
what's the geneology of Gaiman's graphic novel?
Shakespeare on 'we are such things as dreams are made of,' and...
[ref: the little-integrated "Men of Good Fortune" sequence...?]

Ibsen's 1879 play, A Doll House ("first true feminist play,"
well-made, important ex. of "naturalism")

comic books....


Passages to discuss:

mandela-like beginning: stories w/in stories w/in....
Clive Barker's intro:
on (Poe's) kind of fantastic fiction,
in which the whole world is haunted/delirious
Gaiman's intro: never see the beginning/fiction as frozen reams, with structure, not to be trusted
punishment: to wake from one dream to another nightmare
(distrust) the moral: know what you're dealing with
still listening....stay beginning, no ending
Tales in the Sand: on the queen who loved 1 of
the endless, the dream lord, and so destroyed her city
not a real story w/ a proper end
in another (women's version): things happen differently? (but that story's not told...)
The Doll's House
127: Wil on creating dreams to live on after his death
132: great stories return to original forms (happy endings will not last)
162: the connoisseur's preference for pre-op transsexuals
172: "A nightmare created to be the darkness, and the fear of darkness in every human heart.
A black mirror, made to reflect everything about itself that humanity will not confront."
174: "you have all sustained fantasies in which you are the maltreated heroes of your own stories. Comforting daydreams...No more. For all of you, the dream is shall know, at all times, and forever, exactly what you are. And you shall know just how LITTLE that means."
184: everyone dreams, incl. Chantal and Zelda together
188: Sinking, slowly, downward and inward. Enter a world where everything's going to be just fine.
192: Rose dreams. She knows she's dreaming. She's never had a dream like this before. Everything seems to real, so vivid, more true and more vital than the waking world. Her sense of identity has never been so certain...her sleeping no part of her; the essential her, the true Rose.
193: All of them seeking a place to belong. All of them seeking a place to be safe. And she sees how simple it all is. Sees how thin and fragile the walls that divide them truly are.
208: The vortex...destroys the barriers between dreaming minds; destroys the ordered chaos of he Dreaming....
221: If my dream was true, then everything we know, everything we think we know is a lie.
222: It means the world's about as solid and as reliable as a layer of scum on the top of a well of black water which goes down forever, and there are things in the depths that I don't even want to think about....

It means that we're just dolls. We don't have a clue what's really going down, we just kid ourselves that we're in control of our lives while a paper's thickness away things that would drive us mad if we thought about them for too long play with us, and move us around from room to room, and put us away at night when they're tired, or bored.

"And then she woke up." You know, I always hated stories that ended like that. I always felt cheated.
226: We of the endless are the servants of the living--we are NOT their masters....we are their toys. Their dolls...

229: never apologize. never explain
...."thanks for making the dream breathe"

Who's in charge here?
What role does dreaming play in the field of gender and sexuality?
What role might it play in our activism?