The Ceylon Cactus and Succulent Society THANIKAMA_ MONSOON by malj


									Running in the Family
     Looking at Structure

       E Block Notes!
        Asian Rumors
 Asia: Portrays the fascination of Michael Ondaatje with
  the continent, along with the recollections of past
  events (Flashbacks), and descriptions along with
  justifications for moving back.

 Jaffna Afternoons :Revolves around the voluptuous
  afternoons spent with his aunt chatting about his
  family’s past including the history of the and their
  wealth. Moreover it is put into a bigger context when it
  reminds him of afternoons spent in the past.
               Asian Rumors
    One of of the more reoccurring motif’s within this chapter is the idea
    of uncertainty and curiosity in his family roots. It’s the introduction
    to the foundation of the story line

- The introductory paragraphs of the subchapter Asia, describes his
      current situation in Canada and his longing to return to Asia.
- Portrays the figments of the past and what he portrayed to be his
      most memorable times

-      Jaffna Afternoons depicts his return to his home in Jaffna and his
      conversations with his aunt in order to unearth his family’s history
      and wealth.
“Unearthing your roots.”
               Asian Rumors
 Ondaatje has lumped these chapter together to depict the
   chronological progression and longing to unearth his family roots.
   Jaffna Afternoons, is his return and beginning into discovering his
   roots by going back to his old house and chatting with his sister
   and Aunt Phyllis and “[tracing] the maze of relationships in [his]

 The tittle portraits his uncertainty, and the reason he returns back
   to Asia, to understand his family backgrounds.

 The picture, is the old governors house that he is in, in the chapter
   “Jaffna afternoons,” it also reinforces the wealth of his family in
   saying, “the prize building in this region of Ceylon.”
             Asian Rumors
 In total, its a contradiction between Canada and Sri Lanka,
  which represents where he is and where he wants to be. The
  contradiction explains his expected norms of a home
  wherein Canada is his physical home where as Sri Lanka is
  his home at heart which is some what unknown to him due
  to the unfamiliarity with his roots.

Commentary Passages:

 “What began it all was the bright bone” to “once a friend
  told me that..” page 22

 “the twin to his bedroom, in another parts” to ““ savaged to
  pieces by his own horse”” page 25
          A Fine Romance
 The chapter A Fine Romance has been lumped together
  with subchapters such as The Courtship, April 11, 1932,
  Honeymoon, Historical Relations, The Way between
  men and women, Flaming youth, The Babylon stakes,
  Tropical Gossip, and Kegalle as it depicts how Michael
  Ondaatje’s father met his mother, along with his
  extravagant lifestyle.
 It also depicts the societal activities, such as horse
  racing and gambling in the sub chapter The Babylon
  stakes, as well as immensely wealth due to Michael’s
  paternal Grandfather Phillip in the chapter Kegalle
         A Fine Romance
 A reoccurring theme would be the dad and how he
  lives an extravagant lifestyle and is exploiting his
  family's wealth, however he still gets away with it.

 Commentary Passage: “At an elevation of 6000 feet the
  family..” to “As they progressed..” p. 39-40
you've been hit by a smooth criminal
Don’t Talk To Me About
                    “Don’t Talk to Me” frustration
         Matisse refined European culture (French artist)

                                 This chapter is based on a poem on page. 85 by a
                                 human rights activist at the time. He was talking
                                 about unmasking what the Europeans made out
                                 their colonies to be. Instead of the refined picture
                                 that they painted, the people were being exposed
                                 to blood, savagery, murder and gunfire

• Michael O. includes many references to finding and dealing with
  memories. Through this, he is starting to set up the roots of the memoir.
• “Lifting the ancient pages and turning them over like old, skeletal leaves.”

• In “Tongue,” Michael reveals his first memory.
Photo - the reality (hardships and flooding) they had to face
during the European invasion.

Unlike the other photos, this one represents a community
which suggests Michael O. talking about their culture and
history as a whole.

The Europeans (sym. - Matisse) tried to project their culture
onto the people of Ceylon. They were frustrated hence, “Don’t
talk to me...”
               Commentary Passages

p.69 - “To jungle and gravestones ... after the rains.”

p. 76 - “Your voice sounds like ... in ankle bracelets.”

p. 95 - “If I were a cinnamon peeler ... smell me.”
Eclipse Plumage
Different family members make up the story, all contributing
to one cohesive whole.

                                 A flower arrangement
                                 symbolizing the rare union of
                                 the family. The flowers are
                                 woven together like the threads
                                 that make up each memory in
                                 the sarong of their family

Most of the ideas are from the point of view of other people.
Eclipse rare & unusual that the family is together (crossing paths)

                   Plumage collective (the family)

            Photo - family portrait and flowers of Lalla

             Lunch Conversation how they function together.
   Not everything in the book might have happened the way it said it did.
       Memories get mixed up and people are unsure of some events.
               Commentary Passages

p. 110 - “How I have used them ... faded cotton print.”

p. 128 - “It was her last perfect journey ... and was dead.”
By Rabia, Isabel, and Lucian
Overall themes and motif’s:

 Realization
 Freedom
 Isolation
 Nature
                       Name of chapter: Wasteful, lavish spending

 Prodigal son, wastes inheritance, returns home, father forgives

 Chapters speak of his childhood and how he reminisces about what he had and what
he did not know of (father and mother). Chapters are connected because they portray the
purpose of his journey and the moment when he comes to terms with his past and how it
affects his present self.

 Thus the tone of remorseful, shocked, sarcastic, peaceful,

The mood – wild, hectic, peaceful, happy, sad
    Michael realized and recounts how great Ceylon was, all the nature and the
       simplicities of life that he misses and did not pay attention to in Canada.
    Realizes the truth about his dad and dads relationship with mother

 Freedom:
   He remembers a perfect childhood, highlighting the innocent ignorance of
       childhood because he had no idea what was happening.
    Water (from harbor) and nature (the boar) symbolize Ceylon, the locals.
    The soap symbolizes something foreign and a cleansing
 P. 141-142 ("we are lightly drunk with this place… I am
  cool and clean")

 P. 161 ("my aunt pulls out the album… I have found
  the two of them together)

 P. 149 ("When my father removed… new dark
  unknown alphabet")
What We Think of Married Life

 Silence
 Theatre
 Separation
 Other people’s words
 Allusion to Edgar, King Lear
What We Think of Married Life
Title and Photo
   Defining their marriage through each chapter
   Contrasting humor with their silence
     Creating an irony
   Tone: Wistful, without judgment, even lighthearted
   Mood: Detached, passive, mellow
   Atmosphere: Sleepy landscape
       Commentary Passages
 P166: from “We wake to a silence…” to “…that
  surrounded my parents marriage.”

 P168: from “I have been thinking…” to “…fiction with
  the last era of a colonial Ceylon.”

 P173: from “Once he nearly killed us..” to “…would get
  into the car again.”

 P179: from “During certain hours…” to “…a tender
The Ceylon Cactus
  and Succulent

         Micah, Anton, Audrey
 The character in focus within this section is Mervyn Ondaatje. Different facets
   of Mervyn, such as how he was as a father, as a friend, are explored – while
   dealing with the issues of his alcoholism.

 Motifs:
   Vivid, colorful Nature (tropical) / Animal imagery  Typical to Ceylon:
   “Birdless. The sound of an animal passing through the garden.” (190)

    Isolation/Loneliness: “Thanikama. Aloneness.” (190)
       (One of the titles of the subchapters.)

                                                  The man of smoke.
                                                 Memories of Mervyn Ondaatje
                                                 (especially to Michael) are
                                                 unclear as he has relied mostly
                                                 on the recollection of Mervyn by
                                                 his family and Mervyn’s friends
                                                 (Archer and VC De Silva).
 Why has Ondaatje lumped these chapters together under this section?
   Mervyn Ondaatje was one of the founders of the “Ceylon Cactus and
   Succulent Society”.
   The various subchapters explore different aspects of Mervyn Ondaatje.

 How does the section title and photo link to the chapters?
   Mervyn was a founder of the “Cactus and Succulent Society”. It was one
   something in his life which he was clearly passionate about

“He loved organizing us. He suddenly decided to get us to dance in our old age. I
think Maureen wanted to go to a New Year’s dance and he suggested we all take
dancing lessons. He hired a teacher and we had to dance twice a week. He was
wonderful at planning these things – picnics, trips to the Perahera.” (159)

Having to deal with his drunkenness, we know he is not the most social of
sorts. However this is particularly significant to him as it was a part of his
life wherein he was integral and where he frequently interacted with
   How would you describe his overall tone of the writing? Atmosphere of the setting? Do
    these elements shift or remain similar throughout the section?

    In the earlier subchapters (Thanikama) Ondaatje remembers Mervyn and how he behaved,
    isolating himself from society  the mood is quite melancholy and lonely. As Mervyn
    wanders somewhat aimlessly around Ceylon, the mood is remiss as he seems helplessly
    lost and unsure of what to do with himself.

   The tone shifts and contrasts throughout the section, however.

    In Monsoon Notebook, the tone is initially ominous, and almost foreboding, and then
    switches to one which livens upon the downpour of the monsoon.

    V.C De Silva and Archer discuss memories of Mervyn with Michael and these memories of
    Mervyn greatly contrast those earlier on in the section. As Michael remembers Mervyn and
    his lonesome, problematic behavior (greatly due to his alcoholism), the mood created
    through his portrayal of Mervyn is quite defeated and helpless. Mervyn’s companions,
    Archer and VC De Silva remember him in a much lighter way, painting pictures of
    moments in his life where he was actually a good man and friend.

    In our chosen “Passage 4” we learn a lot about Michael’s feelings toward his father. Despite
    his uncontrollable addiction to alcohol and his often negligent attitude toward his family,
    we understand that the love for his father despite how he often was, is deeply rooted
    within Michael while he writes as if speaking to his father in a last effort to be connected
    with him (pg. 162). The tone here is clearly sincere and heartfelt as he expresses these
Commentary Passages
 Passage 1: Pg. 190 – 191 (The entire of Monsoon
  Notebook (iii))

 Passage 2: Pg. 193 (Paragraph 2 and paragraph 3)
 Passage 3: Pg. 153 (He saw himself with the bottle…
  until He saw the midnight rat.)

 Passage 4: Pg. 163 (There is so much to know… until
  the cigarettes you light).
 Each group member chooses a different passage from your section
 Type, copy, download this passage onto a separate piece of paper (or document)
 Annotate your passage fully, I want to see HOW you mark a passage -- use
   highlighters or colored pencils

 THEN, write and "umbrella idea" (i.e. overriding theme for the passage you will
   attempt to explore in your commentary)

 AND, write a commentary outline in which you bullet out the key ideas you
   would talk about
    These should be able to "stand under your umbrella" and work to prove that
     this theme is valid
    You should be highlighting the most important stylistic elements and
     explaining their effects on the whole!

 END with a "SO WHAT?"
 I'll collect your DNBs on Monday also! Have hard copies!

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