Sample Study Questions: KEROTAKIS

For the benefit of students and teachers alike, author Janice Lee offers some sample study questions for her debut novel, KEROTAKIS.

What might a modern-day retelling of Frankenstein look like, especially in our particularly technological climate?

How have female cyborgs and androids been depicted in popular culture? Is there a pattern? How does Donna Haraway address the issue of cyborgs?

Vanessa Place describes KEROTAKIS as “our neurological nightmare and native hope: the act of consciousness grasping towards itself, which is the original act of writing itself.” What are the stakes of consciousness in today’s post-modern world? What might this neurological nightmare be referring to?

How is G.I.L.L.’s experience related to that of Frankenstein’s monster?

Vanessa Place describes KEROTAKIS as “our neurological nightmare and native hope: the act of consciousness grasping towards itself, which is the original act of writing itself.” How does the book enact these stakes of consciousness?

How does G.I.L.L. fit into and differ from the canon of cyborgs in popular culture, especially female cyborgs (ie. Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, Number Six in Battlestar Galactica, Rachael in Blade Runner, Maria in Metropolis, etc.)? How might Donna Haraway characterize G.I.L.L.?

Maxi Kim says of the book: “[H]er text straightforwardly addresses the nihilism that is all too often generated by the move from what we might call premodern, naïve religious belief to a postmodern, secular humanist nonbelief.” What does he mean by this? (http://janicel.com/news/why-%E2%80%98feminists%E2%80%99-need-to-read-janice-lee%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98text%E2%80%99)

How do desire and consciousness become linked in the text? What of the alchemical relationships between materials, words, bodies, characters?

Part of what Lee offers up here is not a concrete theory of consciousness, but rather a revealing of metaphorical quality of consciousness itself. How does the metaphorical quality of the world also reveal something about the act of consciousness?

G.I.L.L.’s language is characterized by partial and hybrid expressions, her language as being primarily expressive of her cyborg, and therefore hybrid, nature. As the narrative progresses, how does G.I.L.L. edge closer and closer to language that is more purely her own in creating the change for a viable alternative to the consciousness she has been confined to? Does she find this viable alternative? Does she and can she escape?

The text relates: “Identities have been known to fuse and unfuse at particular points in time and space.” How do identities colonize and become colonized in this text?

Joe Milazzo writes and asks: “[The text] provokes the reader into a consideration of the wages of consciousness and the agency we so fervently believe comes along with it. Like G.I.L.L., are we really willing to allow ourselves to be spoken by language, to have our perceptions deformed by language, in exchange for some knowledge of ourselves? Is consciousness as we know it necessary for our survival, or might it be dispensed with? Can we even opt out of consciousness?”

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Filed in News on July 17, 2012