Themes and Symbols Developed

IntroductionThis discussion is designed to follow-up on the complete reading of Adua by Igiaba Scego, and help us think about and process the significance of the various events and elements that make up the novel and contribute to its message. While our focus for this discussion is on the second half of Adua (Chapters 18-30 + Epilogue), you will also consider how elements of the first half (Chapters 1-17) correspond to or feed into your responses. As you reflect on the story, consider possible themes and symbols developed in the story, the psychology of and relationships between the characters, and how the historical backdrop functions to add social commentary.InstructionsInitial Post | 250-500 wordsPost a reflection in response to one of the following prompts:1. Discuss Zoppe’s visions and flashbacks, from his encounters with Rebecca and the Jewish family in Rome to his interactions with his father Haji Safar, his friend Dagmawi, and his own self. What do these visions reveal about Zoppe’s character, culture, and relationships?2. How does symbolism function in the novel? What reoccurring symbols show up and what is the significance of each?3. In your discussions on power, some of you pointed out the theme of generational trauma. How does the author continue to develop this theme, and to what extent is it resolved at the end of the novel?4. The author placed her characters within particular historical timeframes. Investigate the parallels between the characters (Zoppe, Adua, Titanic) and their historical framework. To what extent do historical events continue to affect the lives of the central characters of the novel?5. The quote that heads the “Epilogue” is by Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), a West Indian psychoanalyst and social philosopher known for his theory that some neuroses are socially generated and for his writings on behalf of the national liberation of colonized peoples. Fanon’s study of psychology and sociology led him to further the conclusion that colonized people perpetuate their condition by striving to emulate the culture and ideas of their oppressors. To what extent does Fanon’s point of view play out in the novel?6. Consider the fields of literary theory you have been introduced to this week: Cultural Studies, Reader-Response theories, Structuralism, Poststructuralism. Which of these fields of literary theory are most integral to your interpretation of this novel or would prompt the most interesting analysis, from your point of view? Explain your response with illustrative examples from the novel.Reply to two posts (more than 50wordsRespond to the posts of two of your peers by acknowledging their ideas, identifying the fields of literary theory that are reflected in their respective interpretations, if not already noted, and add on to their ideas with other possible points, perspectives, commentary, or support (such as a quote, detail, or scenario from the reading) that is in line with the literary theory (or theories) reflected in the post.First Peer post1. Discuss Zoppe’s visions and flashbacks, from his encounters with Rebecca and the Jewish family in Rome to his interactions with his father Haji Safar, his friend Dagmawi, and his own self. What do these visions reveal about Zoppe’s character, culture, and relationships?Zoppe’s flashbacks reveal the psychological strain he is going under, and what things he needs or is deprived of. Most often, what Zoppe is missing is genuine human connection. The visions of the Jewish family come to him in a time where he is especially alone, and has no access comforting voices in his life, let alone friends. The visions he has of himself show how disconnected he has become with who he is as a person. When he first sees this vision of himself, he does not recognize it. Zoppe was so unaware of who he was, so wrapped up in serving the Fascists, that he literally forgot what he looked like. Zoppe is a man out of his element in many ways. He is only one of a very small handful of Somalis in Italy, so he is culturally isolated. What’s more, the Italians treat him horribly, assaulting him, imprisoning’s him, and exploiting him in nearly every way imaginable. However, his duties necessitate him to be very close to these abusers. His conditions put him in a place where he is without anyone that treats him like a person. In situations like these, Zoppe involuntarily keeps his sanity by communicating with his friends and loved ones through visions. This can be interpreted in one of two ways. Either Zoppe is a very spiritual man, and is keeping it all together by channeling a skill unique to his background and culture, or his mind is already failing him, and the visions are his last shreds of hope manifested visually. He desperately needs help, and if he meets or knows a person who has the slightest shred of being able to help, he holds on to his memory of them tightly.Second peer post2. How does symbolism function in the novel? What reoccurring symbols show up and what is the significance of each?There are a lot of different symbols used in Adua, the most prominent ones are the ones relating to movies and celebrities. Adua constantly references the lives of celebrities and how Adua wants to be like them. The constant referencing of the lives of celebrities sort of represents the idyllic life Adua wants for herself and even when she is old, she references these people because she is not living the life that she wants. For Zoppe, there are a few symbols that show his situation. One is the turban that he is made to wear. That is a symbol of his shame. He has to work for people that see him as less than a person, but he willingly went to work for them. This symbol carries over to his daughter as well and it represents the shame of Adua’s movie experience and the connection she had with her father. Another symbol is the biblical references such as Zoppe translating for the deal between the Ethiopian dignitaries and the Italians being compared to selling out Jesus for money. These may be closer to metaphors than symbols, but they work. Another symbol that is used is elephants. Adua talks to a statue of one in Rome, and Zoppe is depicted as one in the drawing of himself. The elephant probably represents Zoppe or a different way for Zoppe to look at himself. For Adua, the elephant is the only thing that will listen to her. I noticed that the symbols are used to represent the thought processes and feelings of the characters and the different objects and references are used to amplify those emotions.

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