B203a: The Arts Past and Present II

The Arts Past and Present II
Second Semester 2017-2018

Writing and Discussion Topic:
Cultural encounters can prove to be very enriching to all those involved, yet could prove very confusing and disrupting. In most cases these encounters lead to a conflict of values, both at the individual and societal levels. Explore how cultural encounters are manifested in literary works, specifically short stories from An Anthology of Short Stories from Five Continents, with particular reference to The Distant Past by William Trevor and In Cuba I was a German Shepherd by Ana Menendez. Both these stories talk of “refugees”, physically and/or emotionally, Cuban “exiles” in the US and Anglicans who once “belonged” in Ireland.
In the process of answering the TMA, you should make sure to include the below five sub questions:
1) How is the concept of cultural encounter treated similarly in the two short stories: The Distant Past and In Cuba I was a German Shepherd?
2) Are the authors, William Trevor and Ana Menendez, aware of the cultural encounter theme? How do they manifest that awareness?
3) Are the main characters in both short stories aware of the cultural encounter theme? What clues do they provide of such awareness? How similar are their expressions of this awareness?
4) How do the “incidents” of the Friday visit to town in The Distant Past and the arrival of the white busses in In Cuba I was a German Shepherd highlight the theme of cultural encounter?
5) How does the usage of “contrasts” (present versus past, now versus then) throughout the short stories help in highlighting the theme of cultural encounter?

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