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March 22, 2011

John Irving's _Until I Find You_, 2005, U.S.

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"...in increments both measurable and not, our childhood is stolen from us - not always in one momentous event but often in series of small robberies, which add up to the same loss" (p. 438) ~ John Irving, Until I Find You

Students,

*DO NOT POST ANYTHING HERE UNTIL YOU HAVE CHOSEN--FROM THE SIGN-UP SHEET TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN CLASS--A CHAPTER OR CHAPTERS FROM THE TEXT FOR WHICH TO FOCUS YOUR DISCUSSION QUESTION/ENTRY-TICKET*

*ALSO: BRING YOUR TEXT TO EACH MEETING THAT WE ARE SCHEDULED TO DISCUSS IT. *

Using the REVISED directions (Quotation, Page Number, Setup Statement based on quotation, Non-yes/no Discussion question based on interpretation of quotation) I provided in some handouts I gave you previously, please type your entry-ticket discussion questions for this reading in the comment box below. These questions will be . . .

. . . fair game for the midterm and final exam. In addition to submitting the question to English-blog.com, the question must also be submitted to Turnitin.com. You should also have it written in your Course Journal (collected at midterm and at the final), and have a typed, printed hardcopy to bring with you to class on the day the work is discussed (see syllabus). I will not accept late submissions so mind the deadlines.

Posted by lhobbs at March 22, 2011 03:02 PM

Readers' Comments:

Dana Jennings
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-340
4/6/11
Entry Ticket: Irving (Chapters 12 and 13)
“Barring acts of God, you’re only a victim if you choose to be one” (192).
“Jack would wonder, after his mom had returned the push-up bra to Mrs. Oastler, what possibly could have transpired between the two mothers that had led to him being left alone with Emma again. And Jack and Emma were alone a lot; they were even alone, for an hour or more at a time, in Emma’s house. Whether Emma’s mom was at home or not, they were left alone there” (194).
The opposing quotes give Jack an idea that he should take responsibility in the former, but that the two mothers were culpable in the latter. How does Jack interpret these conflicting messages? How are readers supposed to interpret them?

Posted by: Dana Jennings at April 6, 2011 11:34 PM

From Until I Find You by John Irving, page 654:
“But in a scandal-mongering world movie magazine, complete with photos, the girl’s irritating ‘prank’ would carry with it a whiff of something truly scandalous; it would appear as if Jack Burns had gotten away with something.”
After Jack was ambushed by an eighteen year-old girl whom he helped when she was a child, Jack gets rid of the evidence and of the naked pictures of his mother and Emma. It is not long until a member of the paparazzi finds it all and creates a story to tell the world. Has the immediacy of media and the false sense of seeing actors and actresses on-screen as others caused people to not give celebrities the benefit of the doubt? Does this lack of trust cross over into every-day lives of even the non-celebrities?

Posted by: Chad W. at April 7, 2011 01:45 AM

In John Irving’s Until I Find You, Jack is sexually molested by Mrs. Machado repeatedly during chapters 14 and 15. Jack himself doesn’t realize that there is anything wrong with this until someone else tells him so. Emma finds out about the relationship and decides to confront Mrs. Machado. On page 255, the author states that:

She [Emma] seemed so angry that Jack thought he should tell her a nice story about Mrs. Machado – something sympathetic. To his shame, he basically liked Mrs. Machado. (He would recognize only later that this was part of the problem.)

Emma severely beats Mrs. Machado, going so far as to break Machado’s pinky finger. Is it hypocritical of Emma to be enraged by Mrs. Machado’s behavior, considering Emma’s relationship with Jack? How could Emma’s relationship with Jack be the key factor in her furious assault on Mrs. Machado?

Posted by: Douglas Phillips at April 8, 2011 12:15 PM

From Until I Find You by John Irving:

““The deal is,” he began again, “I tell you about The Music Man and you leave town. I don’t care where you go.””
““I’m sorry your business is suffering,” Alice told him.” (79)

Sami Salo is desperate for Alice to leave town. Even though Alice has only been in Finland for a short time, Sami Salo’s business has suffered tremendously. How much of the tattoo business is based on reputation? Is this reputation based more on the personality or the quality of the tattooist’s work?

Posted by: Nicole Natoli at April 8, 2011 12:46 PM

“The little guy's first idea of his own was clearly in response to Miss Caroline Wurtz. The older-woman thing, which had begun in Oslo with Ingrid Moe, would haunt Jack Burns his whole life”
(Irving 162).
Clearly Jack is affected by his experiences with older women while still very young. Where can you see evidence of this later in the novel? In what ways does his predilection for older women come back to haunt him?

Posted by: Greg Robinson at April 8, 2011 01:36 PM

“What sizable contempt Femke must have felt for Alice, who had
ceaselessly chased after a man who’d so long ago rejected her” (103).
At this point in the book, Alice has taken four-year-old Jack on a
scavenger hunt with absolutely no luck. If you were Femke, would you
have wanted to talk Alice into stopping the search or continuing on?
Continuing the search presents massive pros and cons such as finding
William or forever losing Jack’s childhood on an endless search. If you
were Alice, would it be worth your son’s childhood?

Posted by: Meghan Donovan at April 8, 2011 01:55 PM

“Jack took Claudia aside and said to her: “Generally speaking, attractive don’t get tattooed.” (Irving 340).
How does this quote mirror Alice’s opinion of tattooing (keeping Jack from getting one and saying she herself isn’t old enough) earlier in the novel? Compare this with Jack’s distate for all the people in his mother’s shop. What might Irving be trying to say about tattooing and those who get tattooed? Compare this with other works we’ve read. Defend your answer with support from the text.

Posted by: JH Pless at April 8, 2011 02:08 PM

"In the wrestling room, Jack discovered another tattoo: it was printed on the ceiling, where you could read it only if you were being pinned" (Irving 278). Relate this quote to the idea of tattoos, the importance of meaning within them, and the idea of circumstance surrounding such. Defend your answer with support from the text.

Posted by: Meahgan Jameyson at April 8, 2011 02:09 PM

“But I must enlighten you, Jack.” Mixx Wurtz went on. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but not even a night like last night is as special to me as every night I spent with your father. If I never got to go to the Oscars, I would still have had William in my life-that’s all that matters.” (641)

Jack never had his father in his life because of his mother. Miss Wurtz claims “all that matters” is to have William in her life. Do you think Jack’s upbringing would have been greatly affected if his father was a part of it? If his father had stayed married to his mother and they still moved to Canada, would Jack have continued his sexual development in a different way? If so, what would have changed?

Posted by: Eric Dirth at April 8, 2011 02:26 PM


“What kind of guy was my dad? Was he a good guy or a bad one?”
“Jack I think you should come home to Toronto for a few days- so we can talk” ( 446)

This is a conversation between Jack and his mother. How is it telling about the dynamic of their relationship and why is she constantly avoiding his questions? Do you think that if she were more willing to answer Jacks questions that he would be able to form some sort of mentality that would help him develop more stable relationships?

Posted by: Mathew Rodgers at April 8, 2011 04:31 PM

“I regret that, in your case, you’ve been a very faithful storyteller—and a very thorough one, I believe—yet I don’t feel that I know you” (678).
Much about Jack’s character and life can be revealed through the discussions he has with his psychiatrist, Dr. Garcia. How is Jack shut off from the rest of the world in spite of his fame? Has his fame driven him to be cloistered, or was it his mother’s doing?

Posted by: Lindsay Renner at April 9, 2011 02:11 PM

“It was news to him that his mother had “had any number of bad boyfriends”… (Page 317)
The quote above is Jack’s response to a conversation between Claudia and Emma conversation on how men are perceived as assholes so one’s mind doesn’t have to change when one is with a different guy. How does Jack’s response to their conversation tie into Jack’s innocence on his journey to learn about his father.

Posted by: amanda arce at April 11, 2011 09:33 AM

From John Walker:

My question centers around Jack’s POV of a certien painting rather than an actual tattoo.

“There was nothing for jack to do but to stare at the ceiling of the cathedral, where he saw a painting that frightened hi,. A dead man was stepping out of a grave. Jack was sure that Jesus was holding the dead man’s hand, but that made the bo no less afraid of the walking corpse… it would be years before Jack understood the ullustratiion or saw the English translation… when Jesus brings Lazarus back to life.) pg 76

Can this be taken as representation how deep tattoos can be? At first glance, they can stand out and consider valgur, but a closer understand of the overall meaning, they can acceptable pieces of art work. Alice uses this to sort of thing with Ingrid when she gives her a hear split in two to represents the unloved life she has rather than an entire heart as requested from her.

“’I gave you what you have, and actual heart- a small one,’ Alice added… ‘Hwen you meet someone, Infrid- and you will- you’ll have a heart he’ll want to put his hand on. Your children will want to touch it, too.’” Pg 82

Can tattoos have really deeper message and meaning to them for people when they’re not being used a means to show off?


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~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at April 11, 2011 01:22 PM

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