2004-11-28

Holiday in Germany and Still I Rise

Our lesson on Monday (I know, I'm late for my blog entry) started with Melanie's and Barbara's presentation of the short story "Holiday in Germany" by Richard Brautigan.

First we were given some information about the author.
Richard Gary Brautigan was born in the year 1935 in Tacoma.
He became famous in the sixties.
He died in 1984 by a shot. Probably it was suicide.

After that, Barbara explained the plot to us.
The story tells about a bus and a VW driving next to each other on a motorway.
The people in the vehicles wave to each other.
But when the VW finally leaves the motorway nothing important has happened.

The narrator - an American - is part of the story because he sits inside the bus.
He is a first-person narrator and he is omniscient.
The protagonists of the story are the two young German boys in the VW.

The style of the story is direct and sluggish.
(For those of you who don't remember: sluggish = träge)

After this very nice presentation, we corrected our homework, a translation exercise, which was rather easy.

Then we talked about the poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou, a very famous black American author. After Mr R had explained some unknown words to us, we (or he) decided to translate the whole poem.
"Still I Rise" is a critcal poem in which Maya Angelou is fighting against prejudices and the discrimination of black people. The poem is written with a lot of passion and in a very melodious style. Because of that it was quite difficult to translate.

Suddenly the school bell rang and finished our lesson, so we decided to continue the translation next time.

Kommentare:

rip hat gesagt…

Thanks for your contribution, Susanne. There are a few comments I'd like to make.
First, the way you tell it, Brautigan's story sounds extremely silly and boring, which doesn't really do it justice. In reality, it's quite an ironic and funny piece of short prose. Take the first paragraph, for example:

"Let's put it up front right now: I'm not an expert on holidays. I just don't have that kind of money. You might even go so far as to say that I am poor. I don't mind because it's true."

This narrator does not even mind joking about himself. And of course - he's NOT omniscient, just look at the final paragraph.

Another thing (not your fault): by reminding everybody what "sluggish" really means, you make it clear that the two presenters used the adjective wrongly (they meant it to mean "relaxed").

And finally: You make a point of underlining that *I* decided we should translate the poem. Does that mean you found it useless, unnecessary or even detrimental to your understanding of the poem? *Of course* it was difficult to translate - I hardly know a poem or other fictional text that isn't; but I told you it was difficult and that you should take it as a challenge. So what did you really think of this task? I'd like to know. Curiosity is part of my business ;-)

Jester hat gesagt…

Thank you for your comment.
I must admit, that I haven't read the story myself.
The way I told the plot was just a combination of the way I've read it on the handout and how the "presenters" described it.
So I don't really have an own opinion about the story and I didn't mean to make it seem boring or silly in my contribution.

I also didn't want to say that the translation was unnecessary. When I read through it after writing my contribution, I found it strange to say that "we" decided to do the translation. It seemed to me as if we had decided: "yeeeah, let's do a translation!!" ,
so I added : (or he)

I'm sorry for the misunderstanding.