Tone and Topic become overarching ideas as we move from Identity into The Power of Language. When we consider the dichotomy of Victor and Junior’s perspective of life on the reservation, we feel that impact and that triumph through the way Alexie uses language to overstate and understate the lives of each character. How does one reconcile the vast difference between on and off the reservation? How does one both accept and deny the stereotypes set forth through tragic truths and loquacious lies? How does one separate from individuals representing the whole and still identify with the whole? How does one say, “I am ________,” without someone classifying what the information means at the onset?
Language and words wield power. However, if one gets tired of talking, of answering the same questions, of being seen as “one story,” the power slows leaks out through puncture holes left by those of good (and not so good) intentions. How do we allow people to see all of us? How do we ask people to lose their snap judgments and see the person behind their skewed lens? How do we do that when we look through our lens at Humbert Humbert, pedophile extraordinaire?
Nabokov says Lolita is a book without a moral. It is a tale of a man. But how can we, as major readers, dismiss our own ideas of pedophilia and see Humbert as more than that one story? That will be your challenge with this novel.
For Friday, please have the dedication through chapter 5 read and annotated. There are books in the classroom to check out, but you can also see the preview here.