» The Benny Poda Years «
Kevin McGowin
Chapter 8, Part 1 - Reading Questions

  1. The first paragraph of Chapter 8 has been called "The first occasion in the memoir in which the narrator shows real humanity." I just don't see it, do you?
  2. The narrator mentions two 19th Century American presidents. Call up the oldest member of your family. Ask them if their grandfather voted for either Cleveland or Taft.
  3. The narrator offers his opinions concerning his perception of the lack of merit of several major American cities. What's the shittiest city YOU'VE been to? Explain.
  4. The memoir has been compared to Winesburg, Ohio. Is this comparison the reason the narrator ends up in Cincinnati? If the memoir had instead been compared to the Wim Wenders film Paris, Texas, might the narrator have ended up THERE?
  5. While the previous chapters have been characterized by their explicit sexuality, Chapter 8, Part 1, has been described as "The most sweeping indictment of American culture to that point in the memoir." The chapter is 1181 words. Assuming this statement is true, would it still be true were the chapter 1180 words? What does the number "8" have to do with the Cycle of Life? Of infinity? Compare with the primal image of the uruberos suggested by the non-number "O." Does the narrator have a drinking problem?

Read carefully, now! We'll have a quiz on this Tuesday.

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