[DWJ] Teaching Dark Lord again

Jackie E Stallcup jstallcup at juno.com
Mon Nov 2 21:04:54 EST 2009

steal away!  I'm sure that I stole from your ideas the last time we
talked about this!  (Paperbag princess in particular!)

If you are doing Sabriel in a children's lit course, you probably
couldn't pair it up with Dirty Job, which is pretty clearly an "adult
book."  In the Childhood and the Fantastic course, I'm mixing in adult
texts that deal with childhood.  For example, Connie Willis has a great
short story called "And Come From Miles Around" which is about childhood
and motherhood in relation to science.  Hmm, putting it like that doesn't
even begin to convey how fabulous a little gem it is.  It's about how
moms and kids are dismissed and invisible, but can be much better
observers than scientists who pride themselves on their ability to see. 
In Dirty Job, we find that death has... well, minions I suppose who are
ordinary people until they get the bony tap on the shoulder.  To say
anymore than that would spoil it.  But it's a very, very strange and
funny book about death and what a dirty job it is.  

I definitely need to read Coraline.  It's on my bedside table (well,
really on the huge pile that has spilled out of the bedside bookcase) and
I plan to get to it soon.  I haven't read House with a Clock in its Walls
for a long time, but remember liking it.  

I'll be interested to hear how Sabriel goes!!


On Mon, 2 Nov 2009 20:50:19 -0500 (EST) deborah.dwj at suberic.net writes:
> On Mon, 2 Nov 2009, Jackie E Stallcup wrote:
> > Anyway, once we were done discussing genre, we had a great 
> conversation
> > about ethics and choices.  We also talked about DWJ's use of 
> violence and
> > how it compared to the way that violence and war are portrayed in
> > Tolkien's work.  In the honors course, we talked a lot about what 
> happens
> > to Shona when the soldiers escape, but this time it didn't even 
> come up
> > (hmm.... now that I'm thinking about that, I wonder why?)
> >
> > We also discussed evil and how evil is portrayed in Tolkien vs. 
> DL:
> > Sauron vs Mr. Chesney, Saruman vs Barnabas, orcs vs demon and 
> dragon. And
> > where does Querida fit in?  Why does she seem to get off scot free 
> with
> > no consequences at the end?  (I hadn't seen it that way, but the 
> students
> > were pretty unforgiving about her deceit).
> please tell me you wouldn't mind if I steal some of these ideas
> for next time I teach that book. But because this sounds like a
> fantastic conversation.
> Our conversation about the book was more about where it subverts
> and where it supports tropes in general, I think heavily focusing
> on gender, because that was one of the easiest things for people
> to see.
> > We'll be doing Sabriel next week and pairing that up in the 
> following
> > week with Christopher Moore's Dirty Job.  I'm sure most of you 
> have read
> > Sabriel, but how about Dirty Job?  I love it but haven't taught it 
> before
> > (and am being observed by my chair during that session--eep!)
> Bwahaha! We are also doing Sabriel next week (matched with
> Coraline and The House with the Clock in Its Walls). I haven't
> read Dirty Job, though.
> |
> -deborah
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