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Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson In her introduction to the edition I read, Francine Prose calls this book "strange" she used to teach a course on Strange Books.
It is not only strange, but creepy too, and the boundary between reality and imagination is so fluid I often wasn't sure what was really taking place and what was only happening in the troubled year-old mind of the protagonist, Natalie Waite.
The reader meets Natalie as she is on the verge of heading off to a progressive women-only college selected for her by her pompous, overbearing writer father. But in the first part of the novel she is still at home, given writing assignments critiqued each morning by her father and lectured to about the futility of happiness in marriage by her depressed, defeated, and somewhat alcoholic mother on the occasion of her father throwing yet another cocktail party for his friends and "friends.
All the time Natalie is living at home she also has an ongoing conversation in her mind with a police detective who suspects her of murder. In the second part of the novel, Natalie is at college, which gives Jackson the opportunity to skewer the pretensions of this particular type of academia -- professors all male!
Natalie fails to make friends, although two "popular" girls make use of her eagerness for friendship, and she becomes interested in and friendly with the wife, a former student only four years older than her, of her English professor.
She resists going home, but does for Thanksgiving, and notes that through all her letters home only her mother realized how lonely she was, not her father. The third part of the novel is utterly confounding, as Natalie returns to college part of the way through the Thanksgiving weekend and meets up with her one friend, a girl named Tony.
They may or may not have a sexual relationship. Indeed, as they spend a day in the local town and then take a bus that winds its way out of town, I must confess I couldn't tell whether Tony was real or a figment of Natalie's fevered imagination as she struggles with a psychological breakdown.
For this book, as far as I can tell, is really about what is going on in Natalie's mind, and it is in someways a "typical" adolescent mind and in some ways a deeply troubled one. At one point Natalie imagines the houses and people at the college being dollhouses filled with dolls that she can pick up and take apart and crush.
There's a lot that's creepy in this book, and very little that is told outright, starting with Natalie's relationship with her father and the imagined conversations with the detective, continuing with the way students go in and out of other students' rooms secretly, and winding up with the strange friendship with Tony.
I am really not sure what to make of this novel, and have little idea of what was real and what was not, but Jackson is a brilliant writer.
She pinpoints the foibles of her characters, satirizes the pretensions of the college, and gets inside Natalie's head in an uncanny way. The last section is so strange but so compelling that I could barely put the book down, even though I was totally mystified.
I would definitely be interested in knowing what other readers think about this book.
Jul 21, You have left me intrigued and interested in reading this just so I could respond to your last sentence. And you have left me feeling I should at least read something by Shirely Jackson.
I'll have to give her a try. I like the strange and ambiguous. What does the title "Hangsaman" refer to? I think the title has more than one meaning.
See, in particular, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Ambiguous Adventure, and V. Y. Mudimbe, L’écart. 7. For examples of the flexibility of colonial education, see the numerous “African” elements included in the infamous “Mamadou et Bineta” books used in African schools (Davesne and Gouin ). Jun 01, · AMEEN RIHANI (–) was a poet, writer, diplomat and intellectual, who wrote in both English and Arabic. Born in Lebanon, he spent his teen years in New York, where, with his friend Kahlil Gibran, he was part of the literary and artistic circles of the kaja-net.com: Ameen Rihani. Analysis and discussion of characters in Cheikh Hamidou Kane's Ambiguous Adventure. Ambiguous Adventure Characters Cheikh Hamidou Kane of view through the complex discussions in the novel.
The epigraph for the novel is: Peter, Paul, and Mary sing a variation of it in this YouTube videobut this is obviously later than the original publication date of Hangsaman. On a quick search, I haven't found an earlier or original version. At the same time, there is Tarot symbolism in Hangsamanand one of the Tarot cards referred to in the book is The Hanged Man, described in this Wikipedia article.
From Wikipedia article Interestingly, and I didn't know this until I read the Wikipedia article just now, a man named A.Ambiguous Adventure (African Writers Series, ) by Kane, Cheikh Hamidou and a great selection of similar Used, New and Collectible Books available now at kaja-net.com Cheikh Hamidou Kane - AbeBooks.
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Cheikh Hamidou Kane (born 3 April in Matam) is a Senegalese writer best known for his prize-winning novel L'Aventure ambiguë (Ambiguous Adventure), about the interactions of western and African cultures.
Its hero is /5. Analysis and discussion of characters in Cheikh Hamidou Kane's Ambiguous Adventure. Ambiguous Adventure Characters Cheikh Hamidou Kane of view through the complex discussions in the novel. Native U S History I NTRODUCTION; C A comprehensive review of the ambiguous adventure a novel by cheikh hamidou kane ONTEXT E Introduction World an introduction to the history of minorities in the civil war in the united states War II was a cataclysmic event for an introduction to the history of minorities in the civil war in the united states Americans at an introduction to the history of.
See, in particular, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Ambiguous Adventure, and V. Y. Mudimbe, L’écart. 7. For examples of the flexibility of colonial education, see the numerous “African” elements included in the infamous “Mamadou et Bineta” books used in African schools (Davesne and Gouin ).