The BIG Questions

1) Mario Vargas Llosa tells the story is obviously older than the “Marito” who is living it . . . how would you describe the tone? what is the attitude of the narrator to the young man he was?

The narration is done in a non-emotional manner. Mario from the future doesn’t appear to be too concerned about giving his own opinions and it seems more as if the story is a recollection which doesn’t. I would say that his attitude could be described as indifferent.

2) if every other chapter, basically, represents one of Pedro Camacho’s serials — if they didn’t happen, in other words, what is the point of spending so much time on these characters/events/conflicts?

Every other chapter shows the devolution of Pedro Camacho’s writing capabilities. The reader sees the slow transition through which Camacho’s stories slowly lose their zeal; the reader is shown the confusion and inconsistencies between serials. Another noticeable difference is the level of violent crime increases as the chapters continue and this is perhaps a reference to Camacho slowly losing his mind.

3) If a story is basically, “one time, in one place, something happened” then it’s not really literature —it’s journalism or history or maybe even just gossip. Literature is usually thought to express something timeless —something true in a bigger sense. What might this novel be saying about life?

The literature delves into abstract concepts such as love and ethics. The novel perhaps says that love is something where the fine line between right and wrong can sometimes be faded.

Vargas Llosa Ideas

Mario Vargas Llosa explores how the ideas of reality and imagination re in a state of tension throughout the novel.

Llosa explores this through the recurring use of screenplays on alternating chapters. In chapter 1 we are introduced to the book’s protagonist: Mario/Marito and his life in Peru; however, the next chapter is seeming unrelated as it is about the life of a wealthy doctor.

It is revealed to the reader that the alternating chapters are actually screenplays written by Marito and Pedro Camacho. This is foreshadowed as the audience notices parallels between the screenplays and the “real” storyline. On page 135 Marito calls Pedro an “intellectual” sarcastically regarding the fact that Camacho “doesn’t read” in order to remain uninfluenced by other authors. This is one of many moments where the audience sees Mario break out of the bubble and realize that Pedro Camacho is not some God and that he too has his shortcomings.

For Kobe

Explain the stylistic features that indicate the author’s intentions (outline, purpose, context, etc.)

In the Kobe Bryant advertisements, Kobe plays the bully figure who interrogates the famous celebrities in the seminar. The ad uses absurdist humor by making Kobe critique how “unsuccessful” the celebrities (Kanye, Richard Branson, etc.) are. This is absurd as the celebrities would be considered to be highly successful by the majority of people watching the ads.

The purpose of the ad appears to be to cater to the highly illogical sense of humor found on the upper echelons of digital media establishments such as Reddit. The ad chooses to prioritize being unique over being relevant in order to ensure that it stays in the viewers’ heads.

PSE: Study Habits

My current study habits focus on primarily sorting out the topics I know I am less familiar with and beginning revision there. I feel much more incentivised to revise when I feel like I’m learning new things and this helps me get on the roll that helps me set a reasonable pace to follow the rest of my learning schedule.