Convergences: Points of Connection and Comparison for Works Read in English 27

Consider some of the following points at which two or more books read in English 34 converge. Comparing and contrasting them at these points of convergence offers a handy way to approach individual works and provides material for class discussion and written exercises.

1. Characters
a. protagonist a writer: Achebe, Chatwin, Desai, Lively, Morris, Soyinka, Suleri
b. protagonist an academic: Desai, Suleri, Swift
c. protagonist a historian: Lively, Swift
d. protagonist a woman: Carey, Gardam, Lively, [Mo], Morris, Suleri

2. Setting: Geographical
a. Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh): Desai, Rushdie, Suleri
b. Nigeria: Achebe, Soyinka
c. Fictional version of actual country: Achebe (Kanga for Nigeria), Rushdie (Peccavistan for Pakistan), Morris

3. Setting: Temporal
a. all or significant portion set in nineteenth century: Carey, Chatwin, Swift

4. Narration
a. first-person narrator: Chatwin, Lively, Morris, Suleri, Swift
b. female narrator: Lively, Morris, Suleri
c. Mixed mode: shift between first- and third-person narration: Achebe
d. retrospective: Ishiguro, Lively, Soyinka, Suleri, Swift

5. Plot
a. originates in murder of an adolescent: Rushdie, Swift
b. contains murder of important character: Achebe, Mo, Rushdie, Suleri, Swift
c. detective story or mystery a major element: Chatwin, Ishiguro, Mo, Suleri, Swift

6. Imagery
a. land reclamation: Rushdie, Swift
b. food and eating: Desai, Suleri

7. Theme and Subject
a. history, stories, and narrative: Achebe, Carey, Chatwin, Lively, Rushdie, Suleri, Swift
b. family sagas: Chatwin, Rushdie, Swift
c. postcolonial politics: Achebe, Morris, Rushdie, Suleri
d. role of women: Achebe, Lively, Rushdie, Suleri,
e. religion major factor: Achebe, Carey, Gardam, Rushdie, Soyinka
f. travellers: Chatwin, Lively, Morris
g. immigrants and emigrants, crossing over borders: Carey, Chatwin, Gardam, Mo*, Morris, Rushdie, Suleri
h. World War II and its effects: Chatwin, Gardam, Ishiguro, Morris, Soyinka, Swift
i. intertextuality: Chatwin, Gardam, Morris, Rushde, Suleri, Swift

8. Genre and Mode
a. autobiography or strong autobiograpical elements: Chatwin, Rushdie, Soyinka, Suleri
b. fictional autobiography: Lively, Ishiguro, Swift
c. postmodernist Rushdie, Suleri, Swift
d. travel writing: Chatwin, Morris
e. fantasy

9. Ethnic, national, and religious origin of authors
a. Nigerian: Achebe, Soyinka
b. Anglo-Indian: Desai, Suleri
c. Muslim: Rushdie, Suleri
d. Anglo-Asian: Ishiguro, Mo
e. English: Chatwin, Gardam, Lively, Swift [Morris is Welsh]

[Postcolonial] [Africa] [Indian Subcontinent] [Australia] [Postimperial]