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And not just amongst debaters, but remember it from the disaster and the possibilities of the present, where Adam Gordon is no longer a kid. In The Topeka School, Adam Gordon's parents' lives also revolve around speaking: They're psychologists who work in talk therapy and language research. The Topeka School Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to He feels like he dissolves into prosody or rhythm or poetry or flow. Answered Questions (8) I found Leaving the Atocha Station almost unbearable, and it … But what the book actually does — I mean, the irony that's lost on the younger Adam is that the older Adam is looking back and taking those experiences quite seriously, not at all ironically: seeing them as formative, seeing them as complicated, realizing that there were all kinds of things happening in his family and the world around him that he wasn't sufficiently attuned to. I mean, Donald Trump speaks very slowly — it's kind of agrammatical, halting, racist signaling. On the new form of language that the book seems to suggest. On how present-day political life relates to Topeka in the 1990s. They both work at a psychiatric clinic that has attracted staff and patients from around the world. THE TOPEKA SCHOOL By Ben Lerner [ This was selected as one of the Book Review’s 10 best books of 2019.See the full list. However, after they married, they moved to Topeka to work for an academic institution referred to only as the Foundation. What kinds of … "The young Adam Gordon ... is kind of torn between these different regimes of talk," Lerner says in an interview. The Topeka School is a hard book to classify or define. I mean, Trump isn't total. ISBN-13: 9780374277789 Summary A tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right. Jane published her work in book form, and the book became highly popular and renowned. Later, Amber recounts abandoning her stepfather’s dinnertime polemic without his noticing (13). The first chapter opens at Clinton Lake near Topeka, about a year earlier. But I think the good thing — maybe the only good thing — about the way the language is dying in Trump's mouth is that there's no going back to a neoliberal political discourse that puts a humane face on extreme capitalist exploitation, or whatever. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. In the final scene, Adam and his daughters attempt a protest against the Trump administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). So the act of speech is central to Lerner's new, autobiographically informed book. On young Adam's desire to get to "the vaguely imagined East Coast city from which [his] Topeka experiences would be recounted with great irony". However, Sima began to emotionally withdraw from Jane after Jane’s book became popular. The next day, Adam attended a debate competition at a high school in a neighboring town. So I'm trying to think in part about the genealogy of the present ... where the seeds of that came from. This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - (The author's own mother is the psychologist Harriet Lerner.) The narrative then shifts focus back to Adam. Some of the people there pranked Darren into flirting with a young woman. So the young Adam has this fantasy. The story takes place in the 1990s in Topeka, Kan., where a high school senior named Adam Gordon is a star on the debate team (as was Lerner). To ask other readers questions about The Topeka School, please sign up. On the prevalence of garbled language in the book. The narrative gives background information about Jonathan’s youth. Not coincidentally, the main character in his new novel, a high-school senior in Kansas named Adam Gordon, is very good at both of those disciplines. Danny Hensel and Justine Kenin produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Board of Education of Topeka Topic Page to your class. It is set in the late 1990s, at the end of history (which turned out to be more of a pause) in Topeka, Kansas, where Lerner himself grew up. His parents did not create a stable household environment for him, and he was often bullied by the young men whom he thought were his friends. The Topeka School Ben Lerner, 2019 Farrar, Straus & Giroux 304 pp. Adam was a talented debater and did well in the competition. Her closest friend and confidant was a colleague named Sima. They were both born and raised in New York City. The narrative then shifts focus to Jane. Your purchase helps support NPR programming. In the novel’s first scene, Adam gives a speech to his high school girlfriend, Amber, without realizing that she’s disappeared (7). The Topeka School. Author Ben Lerner's new semi-autobiographical book, The Topeka School, finds a competitive-debate whiz kid navigating adolescence — and … On the novel's use of "the spread," the debate tactic of rapid-fire, information-overload speaking. And I think one of the things that the Trump White House has learned is that one scandal is really dangerous, right — if you have one Watergate, that outrages people. Teaching The Topeka School. We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020, Life Without Plot In 'Leaving The Atocha Station', '10:04': A Strange, Spectacular Novel Connecting Several Plotlines. Then show the movie once through without pausing. The utopian and dystopian moments of the book are the same thing: They're when speech breaks down to such an extreme that you realize we have to build a new language together. The book ends with a kind of experiment in collective speech ... and Adam Gordon finds it very awkward and very halting, but he finds it a kind of halting-ness that's about constructing ... a new mode of public speech that can be counter to the dominant racist and avaricious discourses of the day. High school student Adam was on a boat with his girlfriend, Amber. Like, the way he tries to be cool is: He has this belief that in the future he's going to look back as some kind of person on the [East] Coast and think, "Oh, everything in Topeka was just rehearsal for this more intense life" or whatever. The Topeka School. Adam began talking at length and lost focus on Amber, so Amber stealthily swam away. During Jonathan’s time there, he witnessed some of his male classmates committing crimes against locals with impunity. ... Adam has these instances of transport where, whether it's speed in debate or it's freestyling, where he feels like he's no longer speaking the language, but the language is speaking him. Lerner: I mean, I think to a certain degree that is a metaphor for the overload of the present. He does his best to stand up for progressive moral ideals. etc. Tiffany Anderson, Topeka Public Schools superintendent Mark Tallman, Kansas Association of School Boards The discussion will cover everything from the … *BrainPOP’s Discussion Questions and Prompts align to CCSS Speaking and Listening Standards. Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of ’97. In his senior year of high school, he participated in high-level debate competitions.

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