In GHenglish class we had our second discussion on Haroun and the Sea of Stories today, and I think that the discussion went pretty well, but I’ll go into more detail about the discussion at the end of the blog post. To get a sense of what we’re doing in class with this book and to get see what my thoughts were last week after our first discussion, you can visit my first Haroun blog post here.
After reading chapters 5-7 this week, I have definitely gotten a different impression and greater appreciation of the book than what I had been feeling about the book last week. This week’s chapters are much more enthralling than the first four, and I am becoming very interested in the storyline of the book and am excited to finish it, which is saying something after last week I just wanted the book to be over. My enjoyment of the book so much also reminds me of what we talked about in last week’s Socratic Seminar, where we questioned whether the book was really a children’s book if it was written for both the parents and the children to enjoy. I personally don’t think of myself as a child, but I am enjoying the book, so I think that this question is very interesting to reflect on and puts the book and everything that we may have preconceived notions of into a bit of perspective.
Also while reading the book, we have been tasked with doing lots of annotating and dissecting of the book. When you’re reading more to dissect the book than to actually read it, it can get pretty difficult to enjoy the book, making it harder to read. Despite this, I have had some pretty interesting insights while scouring the book to find quotes that speak to me. When Haroun is watching the warrior fight his shadow in the Twilight Zone, he has a realization that the war between the Guppees and the Chupwalas is more than just a war over Batcheat and the Ocean or a war about silence and talk, showing that there is more to any dispute than just what it appears to be on the surface. I found this to be a good quote example of appearance vs reality, and how our initial judgements of something can lead us to having very closed minded beliefs, when there could really be many different sides to every story that one often overlooks.
Along with annotations of the book, everyone in class has been given a particular lens to look at the text through, and my lens is allegory. Many parts of the story can be connected to political and social issues, like how Rushdie describes different members of the Gup City government, like Batcheat. Allegory not only touches on political issues in the book, it also touches on how Rushdie’s life with the Fatwa and all of the conflict shaped his life, and he puts lots of evidence of that in the book.
Finally, I want to talk a bit more about how the discussion in class went today. We had a bit of a different set up today, where the class was split in half and made into two circles, one circle of desks within another. Both groups had a turn to talk about the book when they were in the inner circle of desks, while the people on the outer circle observed the discussion and took notes. What was different about this discussion from others was that once both groups had had their discussions, we created one large circle where everyone got to talk about what they heard from both discussions and extend on thoughts from either discussion that anyone found interesting and wanted to talk more about. I think that this from of discussion was very effective as we got to warm up, in a sense, with the smaller discussions and then open it up to the full group, which created the basis for many good discussion topics and insights that I believe we would not have come to if the discussions were only the smaller group discussions.