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Page history last edited by David Shutkin 6 years, 11 months ago

This short story is significant to what we are trying to do in our FYS class because it helps us derive a sense for the humanity of people living their lives in a completely different universe but a universe, non-the-less, that is parallel to ours as it is determined by and determines ours.


And so, as a short story it is a way into the lives of people involved with eWaste. Perhaps there are some that have read the story, perhaps there are some that have not? For those who have read the story, I invite you to write a sketch for a companion piece or an alternative ending or middle or a dialogue between yourself and a character from the story or perhaps a walking tour of the slums where Mina and Raphael live.... Etcetera...  I invite you to then share your creative energies with the class.


For those that have not read it, I invite you to read the essay, right now in class, thoughtfully, and as a meditation on being in the world.  Consider the questions posed by discussion group three as well as the following questions as you read.


  1. Jelly, the stuffed animal found by Mina, makes many assumptions about Mina and her living circumstances. Reflect on the differences between Mina’s life and the life of Jelly’s original owner. Use examples from the story to support your observations.
  2. The primary subject matter of this story is e-waste.  The story identifies three different kinds: toxins, data, and technology. Discuss how each of these kinds of e-waste impact Mina and Raphael.
  3. Benjamin Crowley (author of Petopia) and Ursula Le Guin (author of Those Who Walk Away From Omelas) have written two very different stories, yet in some ways they both address a similar theme. Describe the similarities between the stories; use examples from both to support your claims.
  4. Earlier in the semester we discussed the concept of tools.  We specifically discussed whether tools were neutral or not, and gave examples of speed bumps and bridges.  We also talked about tools being used in ways other than their designers intended. Jelly is essentially a tool.  Is Jelly neutral? In answering the question, be sure to address Jelly’s intended uses versus the way it is being used in the story.


We'll reserve the last 15 minutes of class (from 12:35) for discussion and sharing out. 



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