» The Benny Poda Years «
Kevin McGowin
Chapter 4 - Reading Questions

  1. The narrator has been said to have been influenced by Peter Singer's re-evaluation of the "sanctity" of human life—in fact, the work is dedicated to Singer. What correlation can you draw between this work and that of Singer? Be specific.
  2. The episodes in the memoir often seem to take place at varied times of the American 20th century. Why do you think this is? Could the narrator's recollection of drinking mouthwash with Nassir be an indication?
  3. The narrator addresses the reader in pejorative terms throughout the memoir. Is this because he genuinely does not LIKE the reader, or because he frequents pool halls and brothels and entertains the company of Iranians and African-Americans?
  4. What similarities can be drawn between this work and Augustine's Confessions? What would it mean for Augustine to live in a pool hall without God?
  5. The narrator makes repeated reference to movie stars and historic American personages. Why the fuck do you think he does so? Be specific.

—All papers should be 1000 words, double-spaced. No Courier fonts, please. Due Feb. 3. Late papers will be graded down one letter per class session.

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