Students Begin Internet Book Discussion on Salinas Stories


Students Begin Internet Book Discussion Groups on Salinas Stories

During April and May 2009 Mr. Wood’s Junior and Senior English classes at Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas are participating with the Salinas Stories program sponsored by the Salinas Library system and the National Steinbeck Center. It is an effort to study themes of history in Salinas, beginning in 1935. Students from Mr. Wood’s classes have set up this blog and will be submitting their responses. They would love to hear from others also. Please respond.

…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him

…And the Earth Did Not Devour Him is composed of 27 episodes – 14 titled stories and 13 untitled vignettes placed between the stories. The first titled story (“The Lost Year”) introduces a young boy who has “lost” a year; the boy appears again in the last story (“Under the House”), having remembered the “year” he lost. The other 12 titled stories and the vignettes between them are the boy’s memories.

The unusual statement and characterization of this novel challenge the reader to interpret a great many things that can ordinarily be taken for granted in more traditional novels. Below are questions that critics of this novel have debated a great deal. Let’s start our blog discussion by noting interpretations and any details from the novel that support them.

1. Is the person in the first episode the same one who goes under the house in the last episode?

2. Many of the episodes between the first and last have a young male as a main character. Is it the same young male in each episode? Is it the person who appears in the first episode? The last episode?

3. Is the “lost year” exactly 12 months?

4. Is the person who goes under the house merely confused or deeply disturbed? Does his psychological state change?

Answer these, wait a day or two, then respond to others interpretations.

2 Responses to “Students Begin Internet Book Discussion on Salinas Stories”

  1. L A Kurth Says:

    I’m a little confused by And the Earth Did Not Devour Him. At first I thought it was a TV series. Is it the work of one of the students? Unlike the other items, it does not show a book jacket. Who is the author? When was it written? How does it fit in with the themes of the other books?

  2. salinasstories Says:

    Thanks for your comment! It was a book first that was written by author Tomas Rivera, and a film version has been done. We have added a cover image for the book to the post here to clarify and if you click on it you will receive a study guide that will tell you about the book and author. As for fitting in with the other books and the theme, the grant that this online group is happening under is a two year grant with the first year broken into quarters that focus on certain periods of time. The time period we’re exploring here is 1960-1985. While this book takes place in the 1940’s and ’50’s it deals with the roots of social struggles within the Chicano/Mexican-American Culture that exploded onto the national consciousness from places like East L.A., Delano and Salinas, CA. We felt discussing it would help to give people a better understanding of the events, and social changes, that took place in the fields of Salinas and all over California throughout the 1960’s.

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