Day 16 Issues March 12, 2002


1. Names. Remember, historical surveys are due next Tuesday—either send them by email as Word attachments or bring them by my office. No class, but Clint tomorrow night. NOTE: pick up a Forum card from Susan, turn it in to her at the end and she’ll give them back to me.


Tests back. Many good things; still to work on, really using information, digging it out, integrating it into your thinking and your arguing. Average was almost 83. A few of the best answers, to help you consider what you might have done. (Do at end of class.)


2. On War Memorials. I spent a good part of the weekend with Clint at a conference, and he’s pumped to come here. I also read his book over again, and am even more pumped about talking about it, with you and with him.


For those of you doing responses for Thursday, think about them especially in terms of framing questions to ask Clint, along the lines of what we’ve been doing all term: where in the text are issues and events and ideas raised or referred to that it would be fruitful to explore further if we had the time? One proviso: in the evening he’ll be talking more directly about the “war memorials” theme, so we may defer some questions about that until the evening. But anything else, truly, is fair game. When he’s here I’ll introduce him to you briefly and then just let him take over, answer questions and talk about whatever develops as the conversation goes along. Maybe we can devise some questions today, as well.


3. For today, I’d like to do some things to start us into the novel. Maybe we can begin with just saying, fairly simply, what it’s “about,” and see how far that takes us into defining issues worth exploring.


A small-town southern man whose marriage is in trouble and who has lost his job working for his father struggles to define who he is and what his role in the world might be. (??)


What if we just break a statement like this down? Small towns. The South. Marriage (and divorce). Men’s roles, and women’s. Jobs and identity, especially for men. Fathers and sons.


What other issues occur to you that are important to the book but haven’t come up yet?  Things you may have written about in your responses?


Religion. War and its aftereffects. The carnival. Communication. Money. Stories we tell about ourselves, about our ancestors, our families, our country.


Put a bunch of those things on the board.


Now, let’s break into groups for ten or fifteen minutes. Pick one or two of these that seem especially interesting to you, go back to the book and find the specific places where they’re brought up. What are the questions you’d like to ask or the things you’d like to say, today or to Clint? What passages would you like to talk about further, especially in the first half or so?


Regroup and discuss. Try to bring up issues, focus our interest in them into some kind of questions, set things up for Thursday.


Being a man in America. What’s that mean for Nolan? We talked about Celie and her lack of power on several scales—beauty, gender, money, race, education, etc. What would the equivalent scales for men be? Where does Nolan fall on them? How does he, or any male in America, establish himself as “a man”?


Athletic prowess, economic success, being a war hero, having noble ancestry, having connections. 171, Buddy Pilot is an “unaffiliated misfit.” Is Nolan, too?


Student Websites


Brad Immel

The website I had can be found at and is a review of the book itself. 


Angel Lombardo

My web page

This is a cute site, not much to it, but if we are to really meet this author are we allowed to bring beer like they do to the fireside chat???? 


Kyle Cutnaw

   The website I found is related to inspiration. It contains quotes, books, and stories on topics like life, dreams, and success. It is a rather commercialized site, but it still provides some insight that may give people a new way of looking at things. It is found at: .


Tony Cleveland

            I found this website,, which talks about the b-24 in some more detail.


Lisa Langood

.  I found a web site at, which gave a short description of the history and beliefs of snake handlers. 

The character of Chet the Jesus impersonator reminded me of a web site I found:


Ewa Budzynska

        Here are two websites that I found:

      I chose them because they explained to me the things that I had never before learnt about: what Agent Orange was (mentioned in the book in connection to Jerry Rathburn) and when the Creek War was fought (Nolan's father wants to take his son to Horseshoe Bend).


Jill Kerlin

In this same arena, I found a website that gives accounts of some soldiers during WWII and the repercussions it had on them http//


Eric Burdette

Here is a site on the bombing of Dresden.


Matt Chiles

The Internet site that I found was on trenches used in wars.  I found that the pictures and the captions were interesting to read about.  It shows how crammed the soldiers were in the trenches, and how small of an area they could sit in.