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    1. Was this all there was to it?

      (p. 120) I am confused about what the mirror represents. At first, I thought it was a device that split the character into parts, thus setting the battle between the two sides - the man and the ape. The man is seen by all and represents a being capable of deep thought. The ape is the monster-like creature, which hunts the back of one's mind, the force that must stay hidden. Their fight begins when the individual reaches puberty - a time of transition from child to adult (the process of becoming independent). All of this I connected to the struggle of establishing one's self-identity - a problem present in House of Hunger as well (represented by the fight between Shona and English). Now that I have looked more carefully, I am more inclined to believe that this mirror is some portal to a sort of evil reality. I think so because of the grotesque representation of the ape and the use of emptiness. Emptiness is the lack of anything. In this book, it has been associated with the hunger that dominates life in colonized Rhodesia. This hunger causes misery, unfulfilled dreams, etc. As the narrative progresses, we see how it enters the character's lives and messes them up. The man is slowly absorbed by the mirror, his surroundings are messed up by it (the missing days, the destroyed room). The woman sees the change in her partner and fights with him (she is not absorbed by it, she only sees the emptiness behind the man; some female characters in the "House of Hunger" novel seem to represent purity, hope, light (not overwhelmed/seriously touched by the harsh reality)). So, what is the mirror in the end?

    2. These hands that now were part of the drought,

      (p. 125) The idea of the hands losing their ability to create and becoming a part of the harsh reality is similar to the idea of the House of Hunger's narrator's head becoming the House of Hunger itself (60). In this passage, the narrator uses vivid imagery to convey this loss through the contrast of life and death. Initially, his hands are described as "dry and deathlike", as full of deep scars, as broken from the "slow-burning furnace of the drought" (125). In the middle of the paragraph, however, the narrator brings forth the memory of the hands which could create, to come in contact with the pure and beautiful, the soft and warm presence of another human being; the hands that could shape the future - "build a future out of the bricks of the past and of the present" (125). This juxtaposition of loss and creation makes the differences stand out to the reader and make him think what the reason for this contrast is. That is simple - it's the act of robbing someone of their future, of their life, of their choice. In "Protista" this is caused by the exile and the sudden loss of Maria. It takes the character's freedom, their future, their right to dream, their reason to live, and their life force. In "House of Hunger" this is caused by the British colonization. The misery, squalor, and unfairness, the conditions, and the society trap the individual, wrapping him in an unescapable spider web, robbing them of their future as well (They stretched the wings of our race (...) senile gods, p.60). Losing their freedom, the characters give in to the force exerted by reality and become another cog in its machine.

      *I believe it isn't a coincidence that the author names the girl Maria. This name means "sea of sorrow" or "sea of bitterness." A sea is a pool of water, so by leaving, Maria does take, in a sense, the water from the main character's life, leaving only the feeling of sorrow that haunts him.

  2. Feb 2021
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    1. Faded jeans. Denim shirts

      (83) As Doug and Citre are coming in, the narrator takes a moment to describe what I assume to be their outer appearance. He achieves this by using two consecutive short verb-lacking sentences, namely - Faded jeans. and Denim shirts. This metaphorical "pause" not only slows the action that is being unfolded but also interupts a more general description about who the characters are that follows them. One simple idea about a conveyed meaning in this stylistic creative choice may have to do with the notion that one's appearance actually not always has to do with his "real" inner character. On the other hand, this may not be true in exactly this sense given that the appearance here corresponds pretty well with what follows about the two guys.

    2. I began to laugh. Harry began to laugh. We were both as helpless as if the laughter was the final say of the storm

      (47) Once again the author uses really closely related (and even the very same) words to draw attention to the action taking place as seen here by his "overusage" of laugh and laughter. The next setence discusses the characters laughing as a clensing from madness while in this one it is thought of as the final say of the storm indicating deeper and multifaced meaning. On one side their laughter may be one of desparation, resulting from the presumed stupuduty of the fight but on the other, it may have to do with a way of freeing their mental states from one or another kind of oppresion through engaging in what at first seem a primitive way of conduct, This may also point out to a divergence between the way in which colonialists and Zimbabwians perceive and value different cultures and their own for that matter.

    3. And then something jumped upon my back and I fell face flat in the churning mud of the night. Something was trampling me into the sticky mess of mud.

      (47) In two consecutive sentences, the author decides to choose the same word to describe what appear to be two distinct things - churning mud of the night and sticky mess of mud. It is apperant that some connection between the two must be in place as to spark this creative choice given that none of the two has anything to do with actual dirt. One possible explanation may be the fight that takes place with Harry. If that is the case, I am inclined to think, that this choice may be a self-reflaction on the side of the writer, in terms of him reevaluating his action and realizing a resentment for violence and conflict independent on either side's intent, goal or innocense. This is further possible by addition of him falling face flat which can either be perceived literally (as in on the ground) or metaphorically building up on the analysis discussed above.

    4. A 'lucky' chance -an encounter with a racist but benevolent white priest -pushed his foot up on to the first rung: he became a catechist, bullying old and young alike and accusing women -those who repulsed his advances -of witchcraft and sorcery.

      (48) The author conveys irony in a somewhat usual way trough the stylistic choice of writing 'lucky'. As he goes on it is revealed that the fate of the men turned out to be of a violent oppressor without respect for anyone be them young or old. However, the author also takes the chance to note the benevolent priest was white. This choice seems unappealing to me as it draws attention to a general opinion as if the priest's whiteness has something to do with his benevolence. If that is the case, on the other hand, it won't be appropriate to express repulse at what through the words young and old, I perceive to be a general mistreatment and not towards a specific case.

    5. In the centre of them, written in minute letters the colour of dawn, was the legend CIVILISATION. But some enterprising vandal had scrawled over it the two words BLACK IS.

      (51) The author's usage of capitalized letters is distinct from what I have seen in other various works. Normally, I asociate this stylistic choice with the shouting out of the said word. This is indeed true in The House of Hunger too but at other instances. Here, it seems, the author uses capitalization of letters to draw the reader's attention to the specific word. However, he also associates the words with enterprising vandal in this particular context so he remains somewhat true to the original idea. The words themselves, CIVILIZATION and BLACK are of particular interest given their usual contrast in the eyes of the colonialists which here, are instead connected as both having been changed due to intent.

    6. She wrung my hand: 'Let's both get out of this.'

      (p. 89) The scene with Patricia mirrors the one with Immaculate on page 23. In both cases, the main character is offered a way to escape and a person to escape with - a young girl with a fighting spirit he admires. Patricia offers him a plan - "We'll run to Botswana (...) There'll be..." while Immaculate is ready to give him money. And in both cases, he declines, finding ways to explain why he wouldn't leave. Leaving means fighting against the hunger, the oppression, the unfairness. The main character isn't ready to fight. When things "get rough", he runs away. In the very beginning, we see him leave home. Even Marechera himself is shown (in the documentary we saw) trying to leave Rhodesia when he finds out that his book is banned when he could have stayed and found a way to change what he didn't like. He is a "fool" because he has given into the disparity of life in his country- the poverty, the emptiness, the lack. Immaculate, unlike him, is determined to hold onto the hope of finding something better even while being beaten up "into a stain. Patricia leaves three times and gets back injured, is left unable to speak, yet she doesn't give up and shows what she earns for that struggle - a publication of her notebooks.

    7. The sunlight had imperceptibly grown weaker -there was a brittle tang in the air.

      (p.73) Throughout the book, Marechera uses light to transition from one moment of his life to another. Let's start from the beginning. On page 11, his journey starts with the rise of the sun. On page 53, just before the storm commences, the author remarks on the afternoon sun, which "had rings around it" (44). On page 71 - "Sunlight bounced off a grimy phone booth (...) coffee shop", on page 72 - "The oily white-hot sunlight (...) in the windows", and right here, on page 73, "The sunlight had imperceptibly (...) tang in the air". Light is present throughout the entire novel, and the author changes the tone and the scenery he uses it in. Why do transitions begin with a remark on light (be it coming from the sun or some match)? On one hand, it could be connected to the fact that he lives in Rhodesia. Africa is known for its endless sun that keeps the temperatures high and the land dry. That, however, doesn't have anything specific to it. Could it be that it serves to create a contrast with the grim world the main character endures? Light is a symbol of hope, knowledge, salvation - something reality has trapped or extinguished. It is, however, seen in the burning eyes of Immaculate, which signifies a fighting spirit. Light comes from the matches lit to help see in the dark, from the lightning that splits the sky and brings some clarity to the character's mind. Sometimes, however, it is part of the angry reality. On page 72, it is "razor-sharp", "asphalt-melting", unforgiving heat. Does that mean that even the light is tainted by the House of Hunger? Maybe light is used as a framing device. After all, the story begins at dawn, and although it doesn't end at dusk, we can certainly see how the sun travels its path from gently striking "the swirling dust" to becoming "imperceptibly" weaker (p. 21, p.72) and begins a new at the end.

    8. They took one look at me and dragged him off. And the corridor came and stone steps cut into me grazing my knuckles and knees and a foot kicking me tore through the faded cloth of my sanity and they took one hand each and they dragged the endless stone steps into the stains that had once been my raging brains.

      In an unjust world, in which a black policeman is brutally beating their own, everything is turned around and upside down. Led to the edge of sanity, the narrator has begun despising all people, and naturally himself. The absurd in the narrative, and therefore in the paragraph, is underlined by the reversal of roles (73). After beating up the narrator into unconsciousness, it is the black policeman that is being dragged off by the white officers. The narrator is clearly being dragged off to somewhere, yet the action is not portrayed legibly. Instead of him getting injured on the stairs, the stone steps “attack” his knuckles and knees, just as a foot kicks him and tears “through the faded cloth of (his) sanity” (73). While his head is being bashed into the stairs, it is portrayed as if the “stone steps” are the ones being brought to the narrator’s head, reducing his brains to stains: “they dragged the endless stone steps into the stains that had once been my raging brains”. This description could be also the result of his bad physical condition after the beating. It is as if the world is attacking the narrator and he is stuck in the horrid reality of it all, able only to receive the blows dealt to him. Such descriptions parallel perfectly the actual issues of the society the narrator lives in. His disdain for people (in general) is existent for a reason as he finds himself in a world of misery, inequality, and hatred.

    9. And because all men use it, that road is greatly frequented by beggars like me. One day I too chose my spot and sat upon it, waiting for the travellers to pass me by. It was Sunday and early. Soon a solid youth in a crimson jacket strolled up to me and asked if I knew where he could buy a white chicken.

      (p.101) The mystical and divine image of this 'road' "between the water and the earth" with billions of travelers is demolished into that of a road, on which the old man sits upon and only meets a single youth. It is juxtaposed with the violence of its surroundings. However, on it, the old man finds the actions of the narrator and his friends. Although the road's significance/grandness has been reduced, it is still the same one as before, and what is found on it could be regarded as more divine than what is outside its boundaries.

      What door does the old man refer to in the very last sentence of the novella?

    10. And what once was our parents now rotted and stank beneath the lime of the twentieth century. An iron net had been thrown over the skies, quietly. Now it, tightening, bit sharply into the tenderer meat of our brains. The hard knocks it gave to our heads made us strange, even to ourselves. And beneath it all our minds festered; gangrenous. Gangsterish. The underwear of our souls was full of holes and the crotch it hid was infested with lice. We were whores; eaten to the core by the syphilis of the white man's coming. Masturbating on to a Playboy centrefold; screaming abuse at a solitary but defiant racist; baring our arse to the yawning pit-latrine; writing angry 'black' poetry;

      In this passage, the narrator gives an expressive description of the life of the blacks in Rhodesia. He starts by characterizing how Shona history and traditions are dissipating as a result of the British colonization - “what once was our parents now rotted and stank beneath the lime of the twentieth century”. The whites do not care to preserve them, and the Shona people themselves are suffocating under the misery they are forced to endure. These terrible living conditions, which were pushed upon them by the whites, the narrator proceeds to represent as an “iron net” that is tightening and biting “sharply into the tenderer meat of [their] brains”. This metaphor for me creates an allusion to the Iron Curtain, the political boundary that divided Europe from the end of WWII until the end of the Cold War, and, thus, I interpret the “iron net” as an impenetrable barrier, which separates the Shona people from their origins and past. In the next sentence, the narrator further clarifies the properties of the ”net” by using the phrase: “made us strange, even to ourselves”. This phrase presents the impact of the “white man’s coming” on the blacks clearly and concisely. The British colonization provoked a radical sort of change, which drove the blacks to the state of savageness, anger, hunger, and debauchery, described in the next few sentences. Thus, the overall meaning of the passage seems to be that, oppressed, deprived of freedom, opportunities, and hope for a better world, the Shona people have no choice but to turn to insanity and become unrecognizable even to themselves (92-93).

    11. The oily white-hot sunlight streamed its asphalt-melting energy, casting razor-sharp beams of highlights in the windows. A fat bulldog, tongue stretched out on to the shaded pavement, lazily scanned us with one beady eye. A livid white ring seemed to radiate vividly around the sun. It made me think of the white down on a white dove's breast. Swan-white. And Leda when Zeus transfixed her in mid-air. It made me think of Harry's rubber snake. The white underbelly of a stinking reptile. The stench of it gave the sun a nauseous hue. And it was touching everything. Pushing me into the room and my teeth ached like the chatterclutter of a typewriter. The handcuffs were too tight.

      It is unclear whether the events of the previous paragraphs and this one happen on the same day. Based on the description of the sun present in both, one could suppose they happened on the same day, but due to the fragmented, chronologically-inconsistent narrative up until now, one could also assume that they did not and that the narrator started telling us of this episode based only on a small connection with the previous. Apart from the image of the sun, the narrator could have made an association between the two episodes because of disgust. The description of the man in the “drowsy coffee shop” rouses feelings of revulsion similar to the ones the narrator introduces when comparing the whiteness of the sun to the “white underbelly of a stinking reptile”. Although when looking at the sun, the narrator first recalls “the white down on a white dove's breast”, that pure image is corrupted once he connects it to the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan. The myth tells the story of the Spartan queen Leda and how she was raped by Zeus, who had assumed the form of a magnificent swan just for this purpose. Starting from this tale, the narrator’s train of thought goes off in a negative direction. White is no longer a representation of the beauty and purity associated with swans but of something repulsive and pervasive that angers the narrator. Thus, he remembers “Harry’s rubber snake” from the day the two of them fought in the storm, and the underbelly of this reptile evolves into a stench, which gives a “nauseous hue” to the sun. Then, the narrator proceeds to highlight the spread of this hue - “it was touching everything”. From the next sentence, it becomes evident that the whiteness of the sun has evolved even further and taken on the form of people. It was the suppressors of the Shona people that made the narrator associate white color with such negative qualities. Even if he does not hate all the whites in Rhodesia, he hates the ones who refuse to treat blacks as human and deprive them of human rights in every way. This unfair treatment is showcased in the subsequent paragraphs where the narrator is interrogated and beaten up by white police officers for an offense that does not seem to be quite clear even to the officers themselves (72).

    12. Kaffirs at the back. Kaffirs

      The narrator and his friend, Philip, visit a “drowsy” coffee shop, where at the counter there is an old white pensioner (72). The state of this person is described without mentioning any gendered personal pronouns. The narrator calls the person an “it” and reduces the characteristics of “it” to facial features and dysfunctional body parts. This pensioner is in a pitiful condition, with saliva dripping down their front, with a mouth “embedded in meagre strings of pink fat” (72), with red eyes showing a “lifeless kind of boredom” (72). This heap of body is able to attract a black fly, which lands on the brow of the pensioner. In this pitiful condition, “it” is able to be hyper-focused on the race of the two visitors. This weak, pitiful pensioner is so strongly prejudiced, that the only reaction the visitors can get from “it” is showing them the segregated spot for black people. The pensioner uses the highly offensive term “kaffir”, which is a racial slur in South Africa and has been a legal crime since 1976. When meeting the two young men, this elderly person’s only thought is driven by the colonialist and racist mindset. The visitors are clearly in a better condition, be it physical or mental, yet the pensioner still considers them inferior, goes as far as to insult them because of their race. “It” is more concerned about where the black men sit. When Philip spits in the pensioner’s face, there is a minimal reaction. The person behind the counter does not do much but blink, the fly on the brow is not bothered at all. The only thing the pensioner does is to continue cursing at the two men. This entire scene is so bitterly ironic since the reader can clearly picture this lethargic mass of a human, with no sense of understanding whatsoever, in a pitiful physical condition, knowing only of segregation. The prejudice runs so deep that Philip’s assault seems like something that was expected by both parties. The pensioner just knows that the “kaffirs” are not deserving of a place in the front of the coffee store, and Philip knows of “its” preconceptions, which are undestroyable, so he acts not only as a way to avenge the offensive words, but to also angrily meet those expectations.

    13. final say of the storm.

      (p. 47) This whole passage showcases a way to combine environment and character to display conflict, a climax, resolution, and development in the span of a few pages. Everything starts with the storm. Through repetition and alliteration, Dambudzo Marechera induces a sense of gradation - "It drummed on the asbestos roofs (..) we could not stand it" (p. 44). Not only that, but the author turns water into heavy, sturdy, harmful masses, like solid objects that, if thrown with great strength, could wound or kill - "like the smack of a fist", "massive rocks of rain", "boulders of rain". All of this is described as the product of the angry sky that sticks "needles into the matter of" the student's brain, damps their words, roars "the lions out of voices" (44, 45). This vivid imagery creates an allusion to the main character's situation - the battle he is raging with the voices in his head. He feels the toll those nameless figures have on him (he can't stand it much like the students can't stand the rumbling rain). They come uninvited, torment him with arguments he cannot win, rob him (as the storm robs the lions of their voices) of his voice ("taken over the inner chords of my own voice"). Another allusion is seen on page 45, where the author describes the storm's blows as arguments - "The argument of it left us stunned. The words (...) of rain" (45). I don't think Marechera uses "arguments'' for no particular reason. The main character of the story is also faced with "mountains of arguments'' that overwhelm him. They are sent by the voices who are not planning to stop invading his mind, spliting his conscience in two parts (English and Shona), that are constantly battling each other. The quote "Its muddy feet ...dear" also alludes to the previous paragraph (45). There the character mentions that after he began hearing the voices of the figures he sees, everything he did - painted or wrote - contained something sinister. Every memory he recalled had some evil thought or wrongdoing - "The voices took out (...) slimy worm" (42). After all of this, we can conclude that the storm refers to the shadowy voices themselves, while the torment on the people refers to the torment of the main character. As we go forward (p. 46) and Harry plays a trick on the narrator, things change. The storm now becomes the main character. His fists hit Harry, his rage makes him smack him with a chair. Harry tries to run away (much like the main character would like to do), but the narrator is right behind him. Their fight outside in the mud resembles the one between English and Shona in the main character's head - never-ending, tiresome, with no one taking advantage. "And then something supremely white, blindingly so, erupted at the heart of the storm" (47). This is the climax and, if I am not mistaken, a form of catharsis for the main character (he overcomes his struggles and is free of the conflict inside of him). The storm is interrupted by something blinding (again, the juxtaposition of light and darkness) that clears everything, puts an end. The boys, tired of the struggle and struck by the lightning that split the sky, start laughing. This laughter reminds the reader of the voices' laughter - "Their laughter was of the crudest type, obscene. " (43). The boys remove their clothes and start painting each other with mud much like the narrator, who turns the world into a "turd" under the influence of the devouring laughter of the voices inside him. Afterward, they even scare their professor like the voices scare the main character ("Their laughter was of the (...) survive that impish laughter", 43). The roles have turned. The narrator on page 47 is associated with the voices on pg 43, who made him turn everything he touched into "stinking horror." Whether he has become a part of them or not isn't clear, but they have finally left his head, and he is now alone. This parallelism between scenes and characters prompts one to think about what else is left unsaid in this book and how the author has been and is going to use weather to drive the plot and character development in the future.

    14. The bulldozers have been and gone and where once our heroes danced there is nothing but a hideous stain

      (p.59) Stains are such a vital part of this narrative, mentioned numerous times in different situations - the death of "the old man"(19), the beating Immaculate is put through, "God's stains" (55), etc. What are stains in general? They are hard to remove marks. They are scars that itch and burn irritatingly, that stay for a long time and influence their carrier in some way. In Dambudzo Marechera's novel, they have many aspects, which impact the main character in various ways. I will focus more on the meaning conveyed in the usage of it in the selected sentence. This quote refers to the stains in the scope of the war for independence. Just before that, the narrator talks about Lobengwa and how he messed up, and how his mistake still haunts the people of Rhodesia. It is that stain that causes the misery and squalor of the people living at the time of the author's life. That stain, however, is more than just the consequences of a lost war. It prompts the realization the narrator comes to - that his life is a small man's one (the words are the same as the one he used when describing such a life on page 14). He will also become a stain - something he despises; a red splatter on some wall, the cause of which is his life as a black man, the House of Hunger that has infiltrated his environment and mind and has forced him into that life.

    15. Her painted claws reached out and closed over my fist.

      Claws are a recurring symbol throughout the book. The author continues to compare human traits to animalistic ones (13) as a way to highlight the pure animalistic urges of the black population, ravaged by "hunger", which I believe is a manifestation of their most inner desires (like the Id from Freud's psychoanalysis). Claws are the weapons of animals, with which they either attack prey or defend themselves. The "claws'' that people have are their manipulative tactics, seduction, or anything that would help them survive in the miserable ghetto. On a previous page (57) claws are mentioned again: "I was learning to keep my claws sheathed", spoken by the narrator himself after overcoming the demons laughing in his mind. To sheathe something, especially a dagger or another weapon, means to protect it, probably for further use. I interpret the quote asif the narrator realizes that he has to "protect" his methods of survival when he is faced with a real threat, rather than just something in his mind. In this situation (68), Julia's "claws'' is her ability to unnerve and weaken the narrator, who usually seems cold and collected. She succeeds in making him uncomfortable, questioning whether he hates the color of his own skin. She even starts laughing at this seemingly inappropriate situation, something that is similar to the narrator's own habit to laugh at inappropriate moments(28), forcing him out of his comfort zone of disinterested intervention.

    16. But the young woman's life is not at all an easy one; the black young woman's. She is bombarded daily by a TV network that assumes that black women are not only ugly but also they do not exist unless they take in laundry, scrub lavatories, polish staircases, and drudge around in a nanny's uniform. She is mugged every day by magazines that pressure her into buying European beauty; and the advice columns have such nuggets like 'Understanding is the best thing in the world, therefore be more cheerful when he comes home looking like thunder.' And the only time the Herald mentions her is when she has -in 189617 -led an uprising against the State and been safely cheered by the firing squad or when she is caught for the umpteenth time soliciting in Vice Mile.

      The life of a young black woman is not easy at all (65). This paragraph represents society’s pressure on black women to fit the Eurocentric beauty standards, which consider certain African features, such as the lips and the nose, unappealing, and therefore the opposite of that model is deemed superior (65). The social norms also have the ability to dictate the general life of a woman, outlining the position she needs to take in the community and in the family. She is to serve, to work for someone, to engage in activities for the purpose of providing the community or an individual with something, rather than live for her own desires and ambitions. All of this, of course, under the scrutiny of the male gaze. The narrator focuses not only on the racist reality black women live in but also the “traditional'' sexist views, following them since birth. According to the magazine columns of that time, the woman’s life is centered around a man and her main responsibility is to accommodate him (65). These factors indeed make the life of the black young woman hard, but in the context of the novella, the narrator’s statement seems to be almost ironic. In comparison to the experiences of women, described throughout the narrative, these social issues seem almost irrelevant. Parts of the woman’s reality are the horrendous acts of domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse, and murder, all seemingly drawing the attention of big crowds, but inspiring absolutely no desire to help (65, 66). Such experiences are considered part of “growing up” from the perspective of a young boy, the actions are normalised in the eyes of society (64).

    17. At once massive rocks of rain hurled themselves down upon the sleeping earth. The noise was deafening to the ear, the sight awesome to the eye, and the great torrents almost startled me into premature senility. Such a madness of the elements did not seem possible. Rude buckets of water poured over the school. It rained as though it would flood us out of our minds. It drummed on the asbestos roofs. It drummed on the window-panes. It dinned into our minds. It drummed down upon us until we could not stand it. It poured darkly; plashed; guttered; broke down upon our heads like the smack of a fist. It roared, splashed, soaked, stuttered stertorously down from the black spaces of the huge mindless universe. It rose. It swelled. It cracked its sides like a whip. Silver fish seemed to leap in frenzy by the bucketful. The mud plash and sucking of it churned round and round in our minds. It chilled up to the shoulders of one's soul. The delirium of rain shook the school into a feverish excitement. The eruption was like a boil that bursts and splatters everything with its black acids. The angry skies drove boulders of rain against the school until we felt our very sanity was under a relentless siege.

      Allegedly, stoning was the standard method of punishment in ancient Israel. According to the Old Testament, stoning served as a punishment for sins such as blasphemy and idolatry. The method required the collective action of the entire community, which served as a lesson to individuals. The sense of common rage is expressed through the violence of the people. The community in the novella is torn apart by injustice and hatred, and while there is an enemy colonialist, which the entirety of the country is facing, the people are divided within their nation, society, and even families. Individuals like Harry have resorted to betraying their own in order to be in the favor of the oppressors, and are openly disregarding the truth, pretending to be above the rest. The contrast between the biblical understanding of the act of stoning and the reality of nature is clear. The theme of stains, present in nearly every single layer of human existence, according to the narrator, is seemingly being challenged by the rage of the universe. The violent rain is not able to remove the stains, but it is able to punish the people: “It cracked its sides like a whip...The singing fury of it stuck little needles into the matter of our brains...The rain, it broke down the workers' compound; it felled the huts with its brute knuckle- duster” (44, 45). To me, the rain could be seen as a sort of vengeance, but also as a part of nature, that is in tune with the people. Led to such extremes by the horrible conditions, the people’s fury and desperation are reflected in the setting that surrounds them. For now, I have a bunch of different interpretations, but hopefully as we progress throughout the novella I will be able to find the intended meaning of the storm. Does the storm have a strictly negative meaning, or can it symbolise something positive?

    18. The match went out. The shadows closed around us with a noiseless cosmic violence. It woke her up. Her voice had an inner light stirring within it; the way clouds seem to have in their heart a trembling clarity. She spoke of many things, and fragments of things. She spoke with an intensity that seemed to refract my character the way a prism analyses clearly the light striking its surfaces.

      Immaculate is introduced as a character with such a strong, unbreakable spirit, which is able to withstand not only the abuse she receives in her own household, but also the suffering in a world lacking freedom, equality, fairness, and full of pain. Her courage is infuriating for cynical people, such as the narrator and Peter (14), but it is also contagious. In the beginning of the paragraph, the darkness of the room is underlined and intensified by relating its power to “cosmic violence” (41). There is also its physical representation, with the match lit by the narrator going out. These characteristics of the room all are in stark contrast to the description of Immaculate and her voice. Because of this, once plunged into darkness, the woman wakes up instead of continuing to sleep. Under normal circumstances, the lack of light leads to a person dozing off and not starting wide awake. The woman has not lost her hope for the future, and even though she endures agony, the spark in her heart is still there, she refuses to let it go. She is driven and this intensity, present in her voice, is noticed by the narrator, who has the same strong feeling for the ideas, significant to him.

    19. When Nestar (what kind of a father would give his child a 65 name like that?)

      Nestar is a gender-neutral name of African descent, meaning greatness, power, and wisdom. In the tradition of Southern African naming practises, the parents chose a hopeful name with the intention of creating a bright future for their children. Nestar’s backstory shows that she has gone through many challenges as a young woman. She has been cast out by her community because of her unwanted pregnancy, and has been left homeless and struggling at the age of twelve. Under these horrible conditions, she has managed not only to survive this harsh reality, but also to come out on top. She has done everything she can in order to secure a good future for herself, and her labour has paid off. She lives a comfortable life, she is rich, and according to her “Money... was power. There is nothing worthwhile that has no gold in it...”. Her story has earned the respect of the narrator, who wants to tell it to other people. The name given to her by her parents has seemingly fulfilled its purpose. Additionally, in my opinion, the quote on page 71 “Ah, heroes, black heroes …” can also be interpreted as a statement about Nestar. After all, her life is proof that people who are victims of the worst conditions have the ability to grow inner strength and rise even from the darkest of lows. Does the narrator consider Nestar a symbol of Rhodesia?

    20. The measure of the stains left behind. Stains! The barman, impressed by her massive breasts, was thoughtfully reducing her to a stain on a sheet. A true hero of our time.

      The narrator repeatedly mentions the words "stains" and "black heroes" throughout the story. They seem to be important metaphors, but to me, their exact meaning is still unclear, as they appear in a variety of situations. Both of them are usually used to refer to different characters in the story and, on page 69, the narrator even uses "black hero" to refer to himself. Through the use of "stains", it seems he is trying to degrade the significance and existence of a black person to that of a stain, while, through the use of "black heroes," it seems he is trying to emphasize the lack of true "black heroes" at the time (although I am not sure what kind of person is a true "black hero" in his mind). This paragraph is the first time "stains" and "heroes" are used together. They are also mentioned in the same sentence on page 60, so I'm inclined to believe that a connection can be made between these two metaphors (55).

      What does the narrator mean when he uses "stains" and "black heroes"? Is there one or multiple meanings behind these words?

    21. And from chimney to pulpit he began to denounce all African customs; from desk to dustbin he carted out all manner of filthy traditions which in reality were the only strengths still in the minds of his own people

      Based on this paragraph, which provides background information about Harry and Immaculate's father, it seems that he might have been the main reason for Harry's outlook on life. In order to obtain money, he followed a racist white priest and became a Roman Catholic priest himself. In doing so, he condemned his roots and betrayed his people. Now he speaks ill of the Africans and their way of life before the whites came and believes that blacks should be grateful to the whites and strive to be closer to them. He appears to have passed on a similar way of thinking to his son, and, for this reason, Harry is his favorite. He dates a white woman and strives to be civilized, compared to Immaculate, who gets pregnant from the narrator's brother and dreams of the Shona people obtaining freedom (48).

    22. stammer

      Although earlier on it is mentioned that some of the symptoms of the narrator's nervous breakdown included problems with his speech, this is the first time it is explicitly stated that one of those problems was stammering. From “An Interview with Himself”, we know that the author, similar to the narrator, also began to stammer while he was in school, though, for him, this occurred earlier on than for the narrator. For the author, this was provoked by the death of his father accompanied by the loss of security in his life, but for the narrator, it is unclear what drove him to have such mental issues. Nevertheless, because the narrator mixes different timelines frequently and appears to not only have had mental issues, but also a history with drug and alcohol abuse, I believe it's unclear when his father died and whether that might have been the cause for his mental issues as well. Overall, many parallels between the narrator and the author can be made based on “An Interview with Himself” and outside biographical information - both wrote poetry, both lost their fathers at an early age, both had psychological problems (including stammering), and both were conflicted because of their use of Shona and English. Considering these and the fact that the novella is written in first person, even though that is very common for literature of that time, I'm inclined to think that the author is trying to convey his personal story through the protagonist in (48).

    23. black policemen paraded and saluted beneath the flag and the black clerk of the township sauntered casually towards the Lager trucks and a group of schoolchildren in khaki and green ran like hell towards the grey

      In this sentence, the author's usage of colour may be interpreted as a way to create division between different members of the society or to introduce a continuing association of specific colours with specific notions / concepts. It is noteworthy that while the skin colour of the policeman and of the clerk is specified, nothing is said about the flag or the Lager trucks suggesting importance on people rather than objects. An exception about the school follows, which is described by the colour grey, and its interactors are also the only people in this series to be described by a colour different than black: schoolchildren in khaki and green (11). A very possible explanation may have to do with a separation of the school from the other institutions given the author is well educated.

    24. I sat beneath the tall msasa tree whose branches scrape the corrugated iron roofs. I was trying not to think about where I was going. I didn't feel bitter. I was glad things had happened the way they had; I couldn't have stayed on in that House of Hunger where every morsel of sanity was snatched from you the way some kinds of bird snatch food from the very mouths of babes.

      The author may have been using monotonous sentense structure in order to build up suspence before introducing a central concept, in that case the title of the novel - The House of Hunger. As it can be seen, the sentence where this happens is preceeded by several relatively short ones: I sat..., I was..., I didn't..., I was... and immediately after we get the one begining with I couldn't... where the phrase House of Hunger is used for the first time in the novel (apart from the title) (11). The next sentence is also the first in the sequence to not begin with an I.

    25. A cruel yearning that can only be realised in crude photography. The squalor of reality was obliterated in an explosion of flashbulbs and afterwards one could say 'That's me, man -me! In the city.'

      This is another example of the juxtaposition of light and darkness, beauty and horror, dreams and reality. The "cruel yearning" is one that dominated the society the main character lived in. It is a dream for a better life, a life of luxury, happiness, one that lacks squalor, misery, poverty, cruelty. It is cruel because it is impossible to achieve. It is a goal for freedom that seems unrealistic in the scope of actuality. It is therefore achieved in the frame of a "crude photography" - a fake, an attempt to escape reality, that has wrapped its webs around the miserable humans that dwell in it. The second sentence introduces the contrast between light and darkness. Reality is tragic. The flashbulbs beam with illumination that blinds and hides the darkness for a split second so that reality may fade away and dreams might take place. This play with luminescence appears again on page 37. As the lights go out, the main character's mind recalls all light known to him - that of pain, warmth, fury, flames. During this, there is a change in the experience he is having - "Leaping like ecstasy grown sad - a violence slowly translating into gentleness" (37). The match that brightens the room allows for the transformation from something terrible to something kind. The violence that is customary for reality gives way to the warmth that is associated with dreams and beauty.

    26. A blue-grey spider lay on her exposed cheek. But when I held the match closer there was nothing there, nothing but the faint outlines of a dimple

      This is yet another juxtaposition between the horrific and the beautiful (a contrast that is present throughout what we have read so far). At first, the main character thinks he sees a blue-grey spider laying on Immaculate's face. Spiders are frightful creatures associated with empty and old spaces, chaos, darkness. They are also aggressive when it comes to their prey and weave webs that are used as a form of trickery to catch their food. A dimple is a beautiful facial feature that appears as a small depression on one's cheek as a result of a smile. Mistaking one for the other is a way to emphasize the difference between the two concepts and illustrate the dualistic nature of the world - something beautiful can also appear as something dreadful.

    27. a crow that has fed

      Another simile where a person is compared to or represented as an animal. Animals have primal instincts and desires and are not capable of complex thoughts like people are. Crows are depicted usually as wicked, and Peter comes of as such in this scene. Also, another allusion to hunger with the line "that has fed well".

    28. Immaculate

      Immaculate as an adjective is defined as "having/containing no flaw or error". Immaculate could be a symbol for the purity that is still intact even in such a miserable place like this. The narrarator himself stated that she "sounded young", youth being another indication of purity.

    29. her wide animal-like eyes

      Association with animals to accentuate the "appetite". Similar to the metaphor above "appetite for things living was at best wolfish" (13).

    30. His arm swept the panorama of barbed wire, whitewashed houses, drunks, prostitutes, the angelic choirs of God-created flies, and the dust that erupted into little clouds of divine grace wherever the golden sunlight deigned to strike. His god-like gesture stopped abruptly -pointing straight at the stinking public lavatory.

      The use of words relating to God, divinity, and Biblical figures is recurrent throughout the story, which is not surprising, given that the dominant religion in Zimbabwe is Christianity. This paragraph contains many words related to these themes, and here they are used ironically to juxtapose the perfect and divine with the poverty and misery. They create contrast between the description and the reality itself as well as between the portrayal of Harry and his true nature. Harry thinks of himself higher than the other blacks because he has money and goes out with a white chick, but, actually, in serving the Special Branch of the police, he is betraying his people and his country. While he might seem to be better off than other blacks in Rhodesia because of it, the narrator is depicting his gesture as "god-like" only to reveal his hypocritical and egotistic nature (22).

    31. And again that oblique look: 'You did nothing of the sort. You've just been sitting there like something in a trance.

      The narration of the novella (from what I have seen for now) is composed of events that are happening as the narrator progresses through the story, mixed with past events, memories, and occasionally memories mistaken for reality (30), alongside the clear additions by the narrator, which show his point of view. Due to this mosaic fragmented nature of the narration, in which different timelines overlap, and the narrator goes through periods of questionable state of mind, the clear path of the novella is hard to follow. The narrator is also found under the influence of alcohol and cannabis. According to Marechera's brother, a family curse has been passed down to Marechera by his mother, which resulted in him refusing to meet his family after his return to Zimbabwe. This experience of the author can (allegedly - it is an assumption) be considered an influence on the narrator's condition - he sees people around him, who are not a part of reality. Their laughter affects him negatively and only the storm is able to chase them away. For these reasons, I am led to believe that the narrator sometimes shows signs of being an unreliable one. It is a bit too early to be certain about it, but that is my current conclusion.

    32. I remember coming home one day. Running with glee. I forget what it was I was happy about. And though it was a rather dismal day -the sky looked as if god was wringing out his dirty underwear - I was on heat with living. I burst into the room and all at once exploded into my story, telling it restlessly and with expansive gestures, telling it to mother who was staring. A stinging slap that made my ear sing stopped me. I stared up at mother in confusion. She hit me again. 'How dare you speak in English to me,' she said crossly. 'You know I don't understand it, and if you think because you're educated .. .' She hit me again. 24

      Similarly to how the author views English as an escape from the daily misery of living in the ghetto, the main character also associates happiness with the English language. As a nine-year-old child in this memory, he doesn't realize that he is telling about what brought him glee in English until his mother slaps him and informs him of it. The fact that he is not using Shona even though he is talking to his mother suggests that he cannot imagine the happy story in his own language and the reality the language carries with itself. There is a clear distinction between Shona and English and what they signify for him. Shona is associated with the gut-rot House of Hunger, poverty, misery, and savagery, while English — with splendor, civilized way of living, wealth, and culture. In the next paragraph, we see that even though the protagonist is still so young, the truth of this reality scares and angers him. He hates that he unconsciously used English to describe his happiness, so he tears up his English exercise-books (24).

    33. I could hear through the window children saying 'Break its neck'.

      The focus of this section falls on Peter's abuse of Immaculate, his anger then shifting on the narrator (14, 15). While the scene is unfolding, a cat's screams of agony are heard by Peter's brother. At the end of the scene it turns out that the neighbour's children have killed his cat - they have tried to burn it and have broken its neck (15, 16). This detail depicts the influence of the community's actions on children. Usually seen as pure and innocent, children look up to adults in their lives and take examples from their mannerisms and actions. Inspired by the adults' behaviour, such as Peter's domestic violence, the police's brutal methods of suppression, the horror of the guerrilla wars, the hatred, within the society, the children of this generation have become vicious, brutalising the animal (their neighbour's pet) without any given motive.

    34. 'I'll beat it out of you yet.'

      We are led to believe that the narrator's brother is threatening to kill Immaculate's unborn child (14), but on the next page it is mentioned that "the baby in the next room was hollering its head off and must have been screaming for quite some time"(15). The violence in the scene is aimed not at the unborn child, which took away the woman's teaching job at the school, but at her undying spirit (in fact, we realise that the child is already born). Immaculate is full of passion, her "wide animal-like"eyes pulse with "raw courage" (14), and this characteristic of hers awakens fury in Peter, who longs for his unattainable freedom. Immaculate, however, has stated that "she would never give that up" (14). The world she lives in is starved and full of suffering, but her spirit, hopeful for life, maybe love (I am assuming), will not be stifled.

    1. A fairly comprehensive list of problems and limitations that are often encountered with data as well as suggestions about who should be responsible for fixing them (from a journalistic perspective).

    2. Benford’s Law is a theory which states that small digits (1, 2, 3) appear at the beginning of numbers much more frequently than large digits (7, 8, 9). In theory Benford’s Law can be used to detect anomalies in accounting practices or election results, though in practice it can easily be misapplied. If you suspect a dataset has been created or modified to deceive, Benford’s Law is an excellent first test, but you should always verify your results with an expert before concluding your data has been manipulated.

      This is a relatively good explanation of Benford's law.

      I've come across the theory in advanced math, but I'm forgetting where I saw the proof. p-adic analysis perhaps? Look this up.

    1. Cytoscape is an open source software platform for visualizing complex networks and integrating these with any type of attribute data. A lot of Apps are available for various kinds of problem domains, including bioinformatics, social network analysis, and semantic web.
  4. Jan 2021
    1. In addition, a recent study analyzed 10,000 words from Trump’s and President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign speeches. It concluded – perhaps surprisingly – that Trump and Biden’s language was similar. Both men used ample emotional language – the kind that aims to persuade people to vote – at roughly the same rates. They also used comparable rates of positive language, as well as language related to trust, anticipation and surprise. One possible reason for this could be the audience, and the persuasive and evocative nature of campaign speeches themselves, rather than individual differences between speakers.
    1. Data analysis, and the parts of statistics which adhere to it, must…take on the characteristics of science rather than those of mathematics…

      Is data analysis included in data science? If not, what is the relationship between them?

    1. Weingarten. E., Chen. Q., McAdams., Yi. J., (2016). From Primed Concepts to Action: A Meta-Analysis of the BehavioralEffects of Incidentally Presented Words. Psychological Bulletin 2016 (142) pp 472-497.

  5. Dec 2020
    1. Voysey, M., Clemens, S. A. C., Madhi, S. A., Weckx, L. Y., Folegatti, P. M., Aley, P. K., Angus, B., Baillie, V. L., Barnabas, S. L., Bhorat, Q. E., Bibi, S., Briner, C., Cicconi, P., Collins, A. M., Colin-Jones, R., Cutland, C. L., Darton, T. C., Dheda, K., Duncan, C. J. A., … Zuidewind, P. (2020). Safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2: An interim analysis of four randomised controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK. The Lancet, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32661-1

    1. Huh, to be honest, I'd expect assigning multiple elements to the same slot to fail at compile time unless the multiples were inside mutually exclusive conditionals. If the multiples were outside statically resolvable mutually exclusive conditionals I'd expect to see a runtime error.
  6. Nov 2020
    1. The final turn can bog down if players are calculating exactly what everyone’s score will be depending on which discs are chosen - better to just take what’s best for you and move on.
  7. Oct 2020
    1. The purpose of this toolkit is to familiarize the user with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and communication techniques to assist in successfully facilitating a healthy living program for individuals with I/DD. These are suggested techniques particularly helpful for those who don’t have any experience working with individuals who have I/DD.

      This toolkit can be used as a starting point for working with or developing programs that people with a developmental or intellectual disability might use. It does not go into detail but offers strategies for communication, behavior and setting learners up for success.

      10/10 It is short and highly informative with free resources within it.

    1. A stunning thing that we forget, but the link here is not part of the author’s intent, but of the reader’s analysis. The majority of links in the memex are made by readers, not writers. On the world wide web of course, only an author gets to determine links.
    1. t’s not clear why the sequence of the vaccines only mattered in girls, partly because there has been very little research into how male and female immune systems are different. “Somehow immunology has been blind to sex,” says Aaby. “If you read research about mortality in low income countries, there is no such thing as boys and girls – there are children. So we perceive that they have to be the same, and they are definitely not the same.”

      Take away: "Immune training" or bystander effects from other vaccinations may help to fight off Covid-19 or other infections, in spite of not being specific to that pathogen. Some of these effects are sex-specific.

      Claim: "Somehow immunology has been blind to sex"

      The evidence: This is not entirely true- there is actually a LOT of research into sex differences in the immune response, and it is well-known that women can generally mount stronger Th1-type immune responses against viral infections than men. This is thought to be partially linked to estrogen cycling, and partly due to the fact that women have 2 active copies of genes associated with immunity because those are encoded on the X chromosomes. Men only have 1 copy, and thus they don't generally mount as strong an inflammatory response. However, women are also more prone to autoimmune diseases as a consequence of having stronger inflammatory responses than men, which is seen in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

      Sources: (https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90).

    1. Tree-shaking is the process of analyzing the code files that are required to run your application and then including only code that is actually used by your application.
  8. Sep 2020
    1. exposure limits are determined by the following equations (NIOSH, 2016):(4)ÂRAL[°C-WBGT]=59.9-14.1log10M<math><mrow is="true"><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">R</mi><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">A</mi><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">L</mi><mo stretchy="false" is="true">[</mo><mi is="true">Â</mi><mi is="true">°</mi><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">C</mi><mo is="true">-</mo><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">W</mi><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">B</mi><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">G</mi><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">T</mi><mo stretchy="false" is="true">]</mo><mo is="true">=</mo><mn is="true">59.9</mn><mo is="true">-</mo><mn is="true">14.1</mn><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">l</mi><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">o</mi><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">g</mi><mn is="true">10</mn><mi mathvariant="normal" is="true">M</mi></mrow></math>(5)Â

      regressional analysis of exposure limits

    1. Svelte started with no decoupling anywhere, with everything available at compile-time. Then <:Component> introduced separation at the component level -- but they're still coupled at properties. The spread feature would fill that gap. I see it as an intentional separation as opposed to an accidental shot at static analysis.
    1. The static analysis considerations make things like hero.enemies.map(...) a non-starter — the reason Svelte is able to beat most frameworks in benchmarks is that the compiler has a deep understanding of a component's structure, which becomes impossible when you allow constructs like that.
    1. Siemieniuk, R. A., Bartoszko, J. J., Ge, L., Zeraatkar, D., Izcovich, A., Kum, E., Pardo-Hernandez, H., Rochwerg, B., Lamontagne, F., Han, M. A., Liu, Q., Agarwal, A., Agoritsas, T., Chu, D. K., Couban, R., Darzi, A., Devji, T., Fang, B., Fang, C., … Brignardello-Petersen, R. (2020). Drug treatments for covid-19: Living systematic review and network meta-analysis. BMJ, 370. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2980

    1. Team, I. C.-19 F., & Hay, S. I. (2020). COVID-19 scenarios for the United States. MedRxiv, 2020.07.12.20151191. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.12.20151191