Wednesday, February 09, 2005

David Lodge's Changing Places: Handout #1

Last night we had a spirited discussion of David Lodge's novel Changing Places in my higher ed in film and fiction class. The discussion started off on a high note for me, with this set of questions from student Kate Van Oosten:

Characters
· In what ways are Morris Zapp and Philip Swallow the same? In what ways are they different? Consider personalities, professional interests and the treatment of family.

· In what ways are Desiree Zapp and Hilary Swallow the same? In what ways are they different? Consider personalities and the treatment of family.

· Discuss Charles Boon. How does the faculty of Euphoric State perceive him as opposed to the faculty at the University of Rummidge?

· Discuss Karl Kroop. Do you consider him a progressive professor? Why do the counter culture students embrace him and many faculty dislike him?

· Which couple is more suited to one another and why: Morris and Desiree, Morris and Hilary? Philip and Hilary, Philip and Desiree?

The Assault on Universities and Counter Culture
· Consider the statement that “universities have nothing to teach.” Discuss the relevance (or irrelevance) of the curriculum being taught at Rummidge and Euphoric State during the Counter Culture movement of the 1960’s. Some questions to ponder are: what knowledge is most worthwhile? Should the function of universities be reassessed?

· Discuss the importance of the game of “Humiliation” and why it reveals what knowledge students and faculty think is most worthwhile?

· Discuss Women’s Liberation and how it affects the characters in the novel; especially Desiree, Hilary, and Mary Makepeace.

· Does the author’s incorporation of real events and people (The People’s Park/”The People’s Garden”; Governor Ronald Reagan/”Governor Duck”) make the novel more effective?

· In a letter to Philip, Hilary mentions the hypocritical nature of the English. Discuss what she means. For example, consider the “Abortion Express” and how easy it was to obtain an abortion in England, yet how pregnant, unmarried women are still ostracized in society.

· Compare and contrast the similarities and differences of Rummidge and Euphoric State. Consider differences in the faculty, students, hiring practices, lifestyle, etc.

“Changing Places”

· What is the importance of Jane Austen to “Changing Places”?

· According to A.J. Beamish in Swallow’s book “Let’s Write a Novel”, there are three types of story: 1) the story that ends happily 2) the story that ends unhappily 3) and the story that ends neither happily nor unhappily (which, according to the author is the worst kind of all). Given the ending of “Changing Places”, how would you rate this novel?

· What was the Counter Culture’s political and cultural legacy on universities? Basic conflicts addressed in “Changing Places”: more egalitarian race and gender relations; a new openness with respect to sexuality; greater concern for the environment; higher rates of divorce; drug abuse; crime; and a greater willingness to challenge authority of all kinds.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home