Saturday, May 14, 2011

Research Topic

So I realize that we need to have a semi-formed research theme or idea by our next meeting. I have also come to the realization that I don’t have one! After much thought and bits of research here and there, I know that I am leaning towards doing an assignment regarding British culture and potentially making a comparison between it and our modern American culture within Seattle or Washington. After watching a film titled Chronique d'un Ete ('un_%C3%A9t%C3%A9), a film dedicated to the understanding the word “happiness” within the French working class, I have begun to look at this research project through an anthropological lens. Of course the film is an inquiry into French society but it has inspired me to do some sort of abstract look into British culture, perhaps based on a simple question raised in the film: “Are you happy?” 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mrs Begum's Son and the Private Tutor

First I'd like to dissect the title of this short story a little bit. It is called Mrs Begum's Son and the Private Tutor and not Magid and the private tutor. This struck me as incredibly important to the story itself and once reading it I understood that this was not a story about Magid or his family but about who Magid was because of his family and the role he was born into.

I really enjoyed this story because it was a simple glimpse into another person's life from an unattached third party. The narrative starts out with Mrs. Begum explaining to Pemrose very clearly that he is only the tutor, not a friend and not a mentor. The type of story that is told by a single person who is almost completely separated from the lives of the characters (and by the laws of storytelling, is barely a character himself) are simultaneously the most honest and the most jaded stories out there. As I was reading it I felt compelled to trust this objective narrator but at the same time I could not ignore the possibility that Pemrose was an overly analytical employee of this household and nothing more. I think that Smith wanted this story to be read with that in mind; by giving Pemrose a girlfriend, and therefore a degree of depth as a character, the audience is able to guess his motives and his perspective.