Guests of Nation LP

Guests of Nation LP - Guests of the Nation Frank O C o n n...

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G u e s t s o f t h e N a t i o n F r a n k O C o n n o r “We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can choose how we respond to them.” —Epictetus (50?-135? CE) L e s s o n P l a n 1. What is established in the exposition ? What do we learn about the situation and the characters? Relaxed, like a home . Cards, chums, Belcher & ashes, light, Donovan. Situation: men playing cards. What is the significance of the card -playing ? You get dealt cards—fate ; how you play them is up to you—freedom ( cf Epictetus). Men seem to be sharing one activity: image of human unity. Illusion vs Reality: Seems to be unity even in conflict over card game. . . Donovan vs Hawkins Sig of the arguments about politics and religion ? Conflict : Suggests closeness—friendly male banter; arguing, but talking about substantive issues. Subject: unfairness of economic & political powers in the world, idea of an afterlife. It isn’t always easy on a first-time reading to distinguish the English from the Irish. Effect? Could suggest a basic human unity. 2. How is the setting —that is, where and when the events take place—crucial in this story? English soldiers captured by Irish Republican Army during 1922 battle for independence from England. Also, they’re ensconced in a rural area some distance from the front . 3. Discuss Bonaparte as a narrator . Do we trust his account? (Naive narrator: partially reliable .) Observant of details and honest : doesn’t try to cover his flaws. But inexperienced , naive . 4. What is the conflict ? How is it resolved—or not resolved? English vs Irish—no, not war. Friend vs Duty. Concrete reality vs abstraction: country. Asking the Right Questions : What is the issue ? Are we driven by our destiny, the forces of fate , the cards we are dealt, or are we free to choose, to create who we are, to affect our life? Sartre would say: freedom! Responsibility! Which has the greater claim on our allegiance ——loyalty to friends or to country ? The issue grows out of a conflict of loyalties. Well, but the English pose no danger . Which has the greater claim on our allegiance—loyalty to friends or to duty ? Either way there is an agreement, tacit in one case, stated in another. Duty is an abstraction; friendship is a concrete reality. Either involves a betrayal (—but of what ?). Which is worse? Well, the orders are unjust: killing prisoners. Option : How might Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics affect our judgment of the situation? What kind of friendship has developed here—one based on utility , pleasure or goodness ? Do they care for each other for their mutual usefulness or their companionship —are they only hostages, or friends ? Aristotle is concerned with right proportion, with fairness. What is fair to the prisoners here; what are the duties of friendship? What do the Irish owe their English chums/captives? Option
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Guests of Nation LP - Guests of the Nation Frank O C o n n...

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