The subject was borders, and it reminded me of my annoying dormmate. He was one of those privileged students who was obsessed about the countries he visited whenever he crossed borders. There was more to it than wanderlust, though. Our professor (in Victorian literature) emphasized the political and psychological aspects. Films about Africans crossing the Mediterranean through illegal means came to mind. Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy stood out for the otherness, which could be anything. Most readers would point to the illegal Mexicans, which was once a hot topic in the US elections. I wasn't keen on finding out how the novels would translate into Spanish (and vice versa). English speakers are generally lazy in learning a foreign dialect. As far as McCarthy's books were concerned, I was surprised that "All the Pretty Horses" received little fanfare (during its time of release). Billy Bob Thornton might have a dilemma before production began.
Sally suggested Harry Potters, which amused us. It turned out that she was right. (I overlooked Platform 9 3/4.) Ken quipped wallpapering, which Sally didn't find funny at all. The professor had second thoughts about David's answer, about Jack Kerouac and his solitary journeys. He would suspect that the New Yorker was more interested in rediscovering his French roots. (Kerouac's family would trace back to Quebec.) The professor's eyes seemed to gleam with delight, as Lizzie wondered about Ursula K. LeGuin. We studied Earthsea last term, but it seemed like eons ago. There was an unseen border separating life and death (in Earthsea). He asked any of us if we have read any book set in the Scottish border. There were blank expressions all over the room, which didn't surprise him. Anyone who heard "When They Lay Bare"?
One thousand miles from home
No one recalled "Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence." Phillip Noyce adopted Doris Pilkington Garimara's biography about the disturbing plight of mixed-raced aborigines during the 1930s. The young girls, who were the main characters in the book, escaped from the native settlement in Perth and used the rabbit-proof fence to lead them back home. I would imagine the glaring sun causing myriads of problems during production, as the Outback turned hostile and untenable. It summed up the predicament of those mixed-race kids, who would struggle for a proper place in society.
The case of the mixed-raced aborigines would be different from the thousands of Muslims seeking a better life in Europe. The border was seen as an attempt to save Western civilization from Islam. I attended a few modules in history, which would remind me of the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Elizabeth Kostova imagined Vlad the Impaler recoiling in horror, describing the fall of Constantinople as the worst historical event. He would live long enough to witness Napoleon complex and antisemitism. There were lots of borders, and it was hard to distinguish one from the other.
It was Friday night. There won't be a deadline to beat, so it would be a good time to talk about football with my dormmates.