Read and annotate Chapters 1-17, pp. 1-85 in Adua by Igiaba Scego, and take notes on significant scenes and passages as well as on any insightful or helpful research. Consider possible themes and symbols developing in the story, the psychology of and relationships between the characters, and how the historical backdrop functions to add social commentary. Use can use this note-taking sheet to help you capture details from the novel as well as your own interpretive thoughts and helpful research points, and/or use the reading and research questions to guide your note-taking.
Initial Post | 250-500 words
Post a reflection in response to one of the following prompts:
- One major theme developed in both Adua and Zoppe’s lives is power. Write a reflection that discusses how power dynamics are set up in the novel. Consider Zoppe’s relationship with Adua and Adua’s relationship with “Titanic.” Also, consider the power dynamics of the respected society and various social situations of each character (Adua, Zoppe, Titanic).
- Sometimes meaning is communicated more effectively when a character chooses not to speak. Examine the role of silence in the novel, and explain how it serves to develop an underlining theme(s).
- We conducted pre-reading activities last week that introduced us to the historical backdrop of the novel and to various possible themes. Select one of these themes, briefly explain how it shows up in the pre-reading material (such as Papaoutai, Sambus, the opening dedication, etc.), and illustrate how the theme connects to and is developed in the novel thus far.
- Consider any research you conducted in order to add context to the reading selection. Share with the class how some of the research you conducted brought particular insight into your interpretation of certain scenes or aspects of the novel that you would have otherwise overlooked.
- You have been introduced to several fields of literary theory: formalism, historical criticism, postcolonial criticism, psychological theories, feminist and gender criticism, queer theory, and Marxist criticism. Write a reflection that interprets the story thus far through the lens of one of these literary theories.
Reply to two posts
Respond to the posts of two of your peers by acknowledging their ideas and identifying and communicating the fields of literary theory that are reflected in their respective interpretations, if not already noted. Add on to their ideas with other possible points, perspectives, commentary, or support (such as a quote, detail, or scenario from the reading).
Submission and Grading
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Reading and Research Questions: Adua by Igiaba Scego, pp. 1-85 Instructions: Below are some questions and research points for you to take note of. They are designed to help you with your note taking while you read and reflect on the novel, and they are also designed to help set critical thinking expectations that will be evaluated in your corresponding reflection and essay assignments. However, they are not designed to overwhelm you, so you do not need to turn this in. Use these question to preview your reading assignment and guide your annotations and note-taking as you read the selection.
1. As you read the “Talking-To” chapters, consider how these chapters parallel “Girl” in both theme and tone. Also, consider the speaker and the dynamics of the father-daughter relationship. How is the final “Talking-To” chapter different from the others? What questions about the story comes to mind while reading through all the “Talking-To” chapters?
2. Chapter 8 discusses Adua’s name. Research “The Battle of Adua (Adwa).” Where did it take place? What was the result and why was this result particularly important for the continent of Africa?
3. In Chapter 10, you are introduced to Adua’s stepmother. Do you think that she is the speaker in some of the “Talking-To” chapters? Why or Why not? Which chapters do you think she may be speaking instead of Zoppe?
4. In Chapter 14, what does Adua’s photo novel symbolize to Zoppe? 5. In Chapter 17, how does Zoppe describe women who do not go thorough gudniika
(infibulation)? What was Adua’s mother’s point of view regarding infibulation?
1. Research Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism. What were Mussolini’s views on race and ethnicity? When did these views change? What “race” laws did he institute and when?
2. Read about the complex history of colonization in Somalia: https://hj2009per2somalia.weebly.com/colonization.html
3. Admits racial violence at the hands of the fascist military police and brutal treatment in Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) prison, Zoppe drifts in and out of consciousness, alternating between visions and past memories. Explain why Zoppe came to Rome. What were his desires and motivations?
4. Why does Zoppe find comfort in the vision of the father (Davide) and daughter (Emanuela), and later on the mother (Rebecca)?
5. What is Zoppe’s real name? What does his nickname mean? 6. Research Scientific Racism and Nordicism. Why would Romagnolo show his red hair off
“like a trophy”? How is Zoppe’s hair treated? 7. Why did Zoppe get arrested? 8. When Zoppe is in prison, he recalls his father, Haji Safar, talking about a “second soul.”
What does he mean by this, and why does he say Zoppe does not have one? 9. How did Zoppe become a soothsayer? Describe the scene with Aunt Bibi and the goat. How
old was Zoppe at this time? 10. How did Zoppe get out of jail?https://hj2009per2somalia.weebly.com/colonization.html
11. Research the 2nd Italo-Abyssinian war. (Abyssinia is another name for Ethiopia.) When and where did it take place? How was Somalia involved in this war?
12. Describe Zoppe’s exchange with the vision of Rebecca. Why would her husband consider becoming a fascist? What is Zoppe’s response?
13. Count Celestino Anselmi has Zoppe wear a blue turban. Consider the symbolism this object carries throughout the novel.
14. Consider how Count Anselmi is described, both in term of his obsession with the British Empire, and also how he is described physically. Why would he die his hair blonde?
1. Look on Google maps to locate where Somaila is, and also look up Piazza della Minerva in Rome, Italy and the elephant statue with the obelisk. Why does Adua choose to talk to a little figurine of this statue?
2. Who is her husband? What is his experience? Why does Adua refer to her husband as “Made in Lampedusa” and “Titanic”? Describe the dynamics of their relationship.
3. Where and in what decade did Adua and her older sister Malika meet their father? How old do you think Adua, Malika, and Zoppe were? Who took care of Adua and her sister before then?
4. How did the sisters react to meeting their father and having to move to Magalo? What was “my baptism” according to Adua, and how did she respond to it?
5. How did Adua’s mother die? When did Zoppe remarry, and to who? 6. Zoppe tells Hajiedda Fardosa, “You’ll have to civilize them,” referring to Adua and Malika.
“They’re savages. Especially the taller one.” Consider Zoppe’s words, and consider Jamiaca Kincaid’s words discussing the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized (from discussion questions on the story “Girl.” In what ways does this same dynamic play out between Zoppe and Adua? In what ways can we see this dynamic between Adua and her husband, “Titanic”?
7. When was the move theater built in Magalo, and for what purposes? Who restored the theater in Magalo and when? How did this man accumulate wealth throughout his life?
8. What made Adua dream of moving to Rome? 9. How does Zoppe’s disposition to Italy differ from Adua’s and why? Describe the
differences between Adua’s Magalo (1960s) and Zoppe’s Magalo (1930s). In what ways is the colonial history of Magalo both present and lost? What affect did this presence in Magalo have on Adua, and on other women and girls in society?
10. Consider the experience of a young girl who grew up in a nomadic culture in the Somali countryside watching a movie in the theaters for the first time. How did Adua react to this experience?
11. How does Adua compare herself to Ginevera, Mario, and Sultana? 12. Look up and watch a few minutes of a movie with Maciste. How did Adua’s reception of
the film (and Magalo) change as the movie progressed from beginning to end? 13. Why did Titanic and Adua get in a fight? What happened during the fight? What emotions
were both dealing with? 14. The previous Adua chapter (13) discussed her first exposure to a movie. And this one
(Chapter 16) describes her appearance in one. Imagine/predict how her life played out from a young child in Magalo to a teenager in Rome.
- Reading and Research Questions: Adua by Igiaba Scego, pp. 1-85
- “Talking-To” Chapters
- “Zoppe” Chapters
- “Adua” Chapters