There are four questions:
1.Discussion for Giovanni’s Room, Part 2, Chapters 1 and 2: I want us to think specifically about fear and space in this section of the novel.
-What does David fear? And how has he let fear drive his actions, under the lie of some other thought?
-As we’ve discussed with other texts, space can be designated as a safe space or a harmful space. Where does Giovanni’s room (the physical space, not the title of the novel as a whole) sit on this spectrum? And who’s defining it?
2. Reading of Giovanni’s Room, Part 2, Chapter 3, think about the following question: Do you think we’ve been blinded by the restrictive nature of the first person point-of-view narration? Now that we have a bigger connection to Giovanni’s emotions, what do you think the room means to Giovanni, and to David?
3. Questions to think about for Giovanni’s Room Part 2, Chapter 4. Pick one or more to use for your response for today.
-Is there a difference between lying, and just not telling the truth? How does David skirt between these two endpoints in this chapter considering his refusal to tell Hella about Giovanni, and to tell Giovanni that Hella has finally returned to Paris?
-When Hella confesses what she wants as a woman, she states she wants to give herself over to David so that he has ownership of her. Is this some kind of ingrained misogyny in her? Or is it to show David that there are more prisons that can trap him in life (besides his love for Giovanni)?
-Is Jacques trying to be helpful within this chapter?
-This is the first time that David states out loud that he loves Giovanni (not just in his internal narration). Is it low risk for David to say this to Hella, since she won’t understand the depth of that statement?
4. Here are the questions for you to think about for your posts on Giovanni’s Room Part 2, Chapter 5:
-What is the moral of the novel? What do you think the over-arching purpose of it is (either to you, or what you believe Baldwin what would want it to be)?
-Is David responsible for Giovanni’s fate? And likewise can we label him a hero for ending the novel with the ’emotional prison’ of his love for Giovanni still in tact?
-Is the end of the novel a death sentence for David as well? Or is it confirmation of David’s earlier thoughts that a death sentence is the only merciful end? Especially for Giovanni whose body was corrupted by his desperation before his death.
-What do you think happens to David? Why is the open ended nature of the book important?
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