Textbook Case:

Questions to Consider Regarding our Last Phone Call

Original Text: 

Susan Holbrook, Joy is so Exhausting (Toronto: Coach House Books, 2009): 70-71.

11. What was the conflict driving the conversation? Can you state it in one sentence?
22. You said, 'Can't live with you, can't live without you.' Was that an instance of irony, paradox or cliché? Explain.
33. Metaphors contribute colour and complexity to language use. For example, while every human being has an asshole, one can't literally be an asshole, yet the word was used as if this were so. How did this metaphor add to the conversation?
55. What would we lose if we were to paraphrase the conversation?
77. How did you feel when the main character, me, fell silent? What do you think I was thinking?
88. How did punctuation affect the overall meaning of the conversation?
99. One way to view this conversation is as a lovers' spat. How might this be appropriate? How might the conversation be seen as more serious than this?
1010. Note the use of 'mustard' and 'bastard.' Why did I use a half-rhyme (or 'slant rhyme') there?
1111. Do you think I will forgive you? Cite evidence from the conversation to support your answer.
1212. Which one of us would be most usefully defined using Miller's concept of tragic heroine? Explain.
1414. One of the moral questions addressed in our conversation is this: Which is more damaging to the spirit, deception of others or self-deception? Well?
1515. Recall your closing speech. Was this dialogue or soliloquy? Explain. To me.

Notes

4] Long Day's Journey into Night: a modern American tragedy based on the playwright's family history: a morphine-addicted mother, alcoholic father, and their two sons, one an unemployed alcoholic, the other an alcoholic tubercular playwright. Back to Line
6] Melville's Bartleby: a miserable, do-nothing scrivener at a law office in Herman Melville's classic short story (1853). Back to Line
13] From E.E.Cummings' poem "in Just-/spring." Back to Line
16] The Glass Menagerie: Tennessee Williams' play about an aging Southern belle, abandoned by her husband, left to bring up two ne'er-do-well children, Laura (a cripple) and Tom (a would-be writer). Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © Susan Holbrook and used by permission of the poet. Authorization to republish this poem must be obtained from her in writing.