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March 20, 2013

Following the Thread in Aronofsky's _The Fountain_


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Class,

In the comment box below, . . .

. . . the note-taker/scribe from each group should retype the question your group discussed today in class and provide an answer with quotations from the text to support your answers. You MUST put the page number (or, paragraph number if there are no page numbers) in parentheses after any quotation used.

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class. For example:

Remember: I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

We are beginning to use some concepts in our discussions that you may or may have had practice using before. I want to be sure that you have a clear understanding of the words we use in class (no more blank stares!) so be sure you are looking up words you don't feel you yet "own" (means, making it a part of your personal vocabulary) by utilizing your dictionaries to the fullest.

Dr. Hobbs

-------------------------

Posted by lhobbs at March 20, 2013 11:00 PM

Readers' Comments:

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 300 CA01 ST: Graphic Novel
March 28, 2013

Question 16: What significant theological or philosophical questions are raised/referenced with Tomas/Tommy/Tom’s statement, “death is a disease”? What would immortality of the body accomplish?

Answer: Everyone has a natural fear of death and dying, so people can ask themselves if they will continue to fear it or accept it as the consequence of life. Immorality of the body would accomplish the end of losing the ones you love, but would eliminate the need for procreation. In other words, if immortals keep having babies, eventually the world would be overpopulated.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at March 28, 2013 01:29 AM

Nicole Natoli
Professor Hobbs
ENG 300
1 April 2013
Discussion Question #16
Question: Does the writer of this narrative seem to be promoting the idea of a soul? Which character, do you think, speaks for the author, and why?

Answer: The writer does seem to be promoting the idea of a soul. The character of Izzy/Isabella, who seems to be speaking for the author, reiterates the idea throughout the graphic novel that “Nothing can ever destroy us. Nor our love” (119). Izzy does not mean forever in the same sense that Tommy/Tom/Tomas does. Tommy fears death and that is his flaw. Tommy represents the part in all of us that fears and rejects death. His fight against death is futile. What he should do is surrender and accept death, as Izzy has done. Only then can their souls be together in the afterlife.

Posted by: Nicole Natoli at April 1, 2013 09:47 AM

Kevin Michael Schuster
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 300: Graphic Novel
1.4.2013

Question 15: Apotheosis

Answer: In the first story (chronologically)there were two different ways that we read the change occurring. The first was under the idea that the story wasn't something that actually happened, instead being completely made up by Izzi. In this regard we read the change as something in the reader (Tom) shown through the way that he ends the story and is able to finally let go of his past. The second way that we read the story of Tomas was that it had actually happened. In this version, he does eat from the tree, and in doing so, he becomes part of the tree. This reading was influenced by Izzi's story of her Mayan guide talking about his father. If this is the case, then when Tomas became part of the tree, he then became part of Tommy when he ate from the tree after Izzi's death.

Posted by: Kevin Michael Schuster at April 1, 2013 10:33 AM

Douglas Phillips and Travis Rathbone
Burgsbee Hobbs
Graphic Novel
01 April 2013
Response to Question 12
Question: Discuss whether or not Tomas/Tommy/Tom is an “explorer” of some type in each of his incarnations. How is each version of this exploration career different in each story line? Is one more different than the others? Does this narrative follow the fairy tale pattern of try/fail, try/fail, try/succeed (the magic number of three)?
Response:
In our group it was determined that each incarnation of the main character, Tomas/Tommy/Tom was in fact an explorer of some type. The past and future iterations of the character were both explorers in a very literal sense, with Tomas being a conquistador and Tom traveling through space in search of a dying star to rejuvenate the tree of life. The present-day Tommy, is different from the others in that the nature of his exploration is not quite as literal as that of the other two. Instead, the present-day character is a researcher searching for cures to disease, especially the ultimate disease of death itself.
As for whether or not the story keeps to a "third time's the charm" plot structure, the important thing to consider if there is truly a success or not in the first place. The past Tomas' quest for immortality eventually leads him to the tree of life, but when he drinks the sap of the tree, he explodes into a mass of plant life; he obviously has failed to get what he wanted, but he himself has become a source of everlasting life in a twisted way. The present-day Tommy wants to cure his dying wife, Izzy, but only succeeds in creating a cure after she has died, which creates both a success and a failure once again. The future Tom's tree dies before he can achieve his destination, but then he achieves enlightenment and realizes that he must sacrifice himself to renew life once more; again, failing an initial goal to achieve a backwards kind of success. Also, after the future Tom achieves his divine apotheosis, the novel rewinds to the present-day Tommy, who, instead of feverishly trying to cure his wife, chooses to accept fate and make the most of his time with her. This further confuses an application of the "try/fail try/fail try/success" formula because Tommy very specifically never achieves his heroic victory, only partial ones or ones where he learns to stop railing against the world and accept that he cannot fix everything.

Posted by: Douglas Phillips at April 1, 2013 12:41 PM

Douglas Phillips and Travis Rathbone
Burgsbee Hobbs
Graphic Novel
01 April 2013
Response to Question 12
Question: Discuss whether or not Tomas/Tommy/Tom is an “explorer” of some type in each of his incarnations. How is each version of this exploration career different in each story line? Is one more different than the others? Does this narrative follow the fairy tale pattern of try/fail, try/fail, try/succeed (the magic number of three)?
Response:
In our group it was determined that each incarnation of the main character, Tomas/Tommy/Tom was in fact an explorer of some type. The past and future iterations of the character were both explorers in a very literal sense, with Tomas being a conquistador and Tom traveling through space in search of a dying star to rejuvenate the tree of life. The present-day Tommy, is different from the others in that the nature of his exploration is not quite as literal as that of the other two. Instead, the present-day character is a researcher searching for cures to disease, especially the ultimate disease of death itself.
As for whether or not the story keeps to a "third time's the charm" plot structure, the important thing to consider if there is truly a success or not in the first place. The past Tomas' quest for immortality eventually leads him to the tree of life, but when he drinks the sap of the tree, he explodes into a mass of plant life; he obviously has failed to get what he wanted, but he himself has become a source of everlasting life in a twisted way. The present-day Tommy wants to cure his dying wife, Izzy, but only succeeds in creating a cure after she has died, which creates both a success and a failure once again. The future Tom's tree dies before he can achieve his destination, but then he achieves enlightenment and realizes that he must sacrifice himself to renew life once more; again, failing an initial goal to achieve a backwards kind of success. Also, after the future Tom achieves his divine apotheosis, the novel rewinds to the present-day Tommy, who, instead of feverishly trying to cure his wife, chooses to accept fate and make the most of his time with her. This further confuses an application of the "try/fail try/fail try/success" formula because Tommy very specifically never achieves his heroic victory, only partial ones or ones where he learns to stop railing against the world and accept that he cannot fix everything.

Posted by: Douglas Phillips at April 1, 2013 12:41 PM

Kathleen Weldon
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 300
April 8, 2013

Question: If these stories (either the three separate plots or the three taken together as a whole) are supposed to be journeys (think: “quest,” “explorer,” and all of the Joseph Campbell material we’ve already discussed), what apotheosis or transformation is taking place? Are three minor ones, one penultimate one, or both? Identify, discuss, and explain.
Answer: The cancer story of Tommy seems to be the overall story. It can be said that the other two stories stem from this story because the book is being written by Izzie. It is easy to say that there are three separate stories that tell the same story but end differently. In this case, Tommy is trying to defeat death but doesn't succeed.

Posted by: Kathleen Weldon at April 8, 2013 07:52 PM

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