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In the Ruins" Discussion Board
the essay linked http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/09/12/in-the-ruins-2
For the first of our two discussion boards for the week, let's take a look at the essay "In the Ruins" by Nicholas Lemann. Please respond to the following questions. Remember to make comments on others' entries no later than the end of the day on Wednesday. You need to make a MINIMUM two followup posts, and please say something of substance in your followup. ADDITIONALLY, by the end of the day on Friday, I would like you to look at the comments others have made under your first post from Monday, and make a response to their comments and questions. This will not be a group assignment, but one that is classwide. If at all possible, make your followup posts to others who have not yet received commentary, so as to spread things out evenly! THAT MEANS SCROLL DOWN A BIT TO THE LONELY END OF THE BOARD!
1. What do you think is Lemann's attitude toward New Orleans? Does it shift in the essay? In thinking about your response, consider how "New Orleans" might mean different things--the physical place, the people, or the idea of a city/community, for example.
2. In the second paragraph and again in the eighth paragraph, Lemann refers to how literary works have presented the history of New Orleans, and particularly to disasters that have struck the area. How does the inclusion of literary evidence affect readers of this essay? Why do you think that Lemann includes these examples? Explain your thoughts.
3. Compare the thoughts Lemann has about New Orleans in his essay, and compare those thoughts and the presentation of that city to what you have seen of the valley of ashes so far in The Great Gatsby. If you have begun Chapter 7 of the novel, you may choose to include mention of things you see in that chapter, but you should also have enough to say just based on what you have seen of the valley so far in the book as well (Chapters 1-6). How are the two places similar? Different? What do you think Lemann would think of the valley of ashes if he saw it?