Bee Season [Myla Goldberg] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. An ordinary girl with an exceptional gift for spelling, young Eliza Naumann . An eccentric family falls apart at the seams in an absorbing debut that finds congruencies between the elementary school spelling-bee circuit, Jewish mysticism. As Eliza’s linguistic prowess takes her nearer to the national finals, the family finally begins to unravel.
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Eliza Naumann has “been designated. How does Myla Goldberg esason both humor and poignancy to bring home the impact of this judgment on a child? Does Eliza accept her “mediocrity” without question? What evidence is there that she bee or is frustrated by the way the teachers and other students, as well as her own family, perceive her?
Is her behavior unusual for an eleven-year-old? Initially, Saul is aeason as an involved and caring father. How does his relationship with Miriam enhance the image he has created for himself?
Do her ostensible involvement with work and her treatment of her children make her a “bad” mother? What incidents, if any, demonstrate that at some level she wants to express her love for Eliza and Aaron? Are the interactions between Aaron and Eliza typical of sibling relationships, or are they closer than most brothers and sisters?
If so, what contributes to their closeness? At what point does the pattern they have established begin to change? What does Saul offer her that her own parents were unable to seeason Goldberg writes, “The two bond over their mutual lack of family ties” [p.
Press reactions: Bee Season, by Myla Goldberg | Books | The Guardian
How do their assumptions about marriage and, later, their behavior with Eliza and Aaron belie the notion that they are free of the legacies of their own parents? In addition to his desire to achieve a higher level of spirituality, why does Saul devote so much time to his studies of Jewish mysticism? Do his retreats into his study serve another purpose, either conscious or subconscious, in his life?
Is the time he spends with Aaron early in the book and later with Eliza compensation for—or relief from—his self-imposed isolation? Is she driven by more than just the desire to please her father? How does the author use metaphors and other literary devices to extend the meaning of what is happening to Eliza at each stage? For example, what does Goldberg mean by the sentence, “When Eliza studies, it is like discovering her own anatomy” [p. When Eliza triumphs at the Greater Philadelphia Metro Area Spelling Bee, Miriam is struck with a sense of pain as she “realizes too late that she has made her daughter more like her than she ever intended” [p.
Saul, in contrast, feels gratitude and humility; he “would like to think he has kept his distance in order to protect his daughter from his unfulfilled hopes” [p. Would the situation have been different if Miriam had explained its seasonn to her? In what ways do each of their quests embody the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam”the fixing of the world” [p. What parallels are there between the rituals they perform, the risks they take—and the revelations they receive?
What does mlya represent in terms of her feelings about Saul and their marriage? How is it related to the other signs of her increasing recklessness?
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg – Reading Guide – : Books
Despite his discomfort and shock, why is Saul reluctant to discuss it, choosing instead to sleep in his study? What are other examples of his unwillingness to face the profound changes occurring in the family?
Eliza masters arcane skills and grasps mysteries that few people in eeason have even dared to examine, yet she remains a typical little girl in many ways. When Saul starts to cry, it is out of this sense of supersaturation as well as having arrived at a new level of understanding” [p. Does Saul live up to this “new level of understanding” when he sees Miriam at the hospital [pp.
When he discusses the situation with Seawon and Aaron?
Is it an act of defiance or of resolution? Bee Season presents the narrative viewpoints of all the family members.
BOOK REVIEW: BEE SEASON BY MYLA GOLDBERG
How does this technique add depth and nuance to our understanding of each character? How do the self-portraits differ from the portraits, implicit or explicit, sketched by the other members of the family?
Which characters become more sympathetic or appealing through this juxtaposition of perspectives and which ones become less so? The book opens with quotations from the mystic Abulafia and spelling champion Rebecca Sealfon. Introduction Like most families, the Naumanns have settled comfortably into a routine, each member playing an accepted role in the day-to-day family drama.
Miriam, a brilliant and compulsive high-powered lawyer, slips easily into the role of wage-earner, happy to leave the emotional demands of family life and parenting to her husband.
Amid this dazzling display of intellectual power and intensity, Eliza, an goldbeg fourth-grade student, is resigned to remaining in the shadows. But her surprising triumph in a classroom spelling bee and her ascent to the national championships launch Eliza into the spotlight, deason altering the family dynamics. Saul is soon lavishing time and affection on Eliza, leaving Aaron desperate to find something to replace the connections—to his father and his faith—that have sustained him.
Questions and Topics for Discussion 1. About this Author Shortly after reading about spelling bees in an essay in Granta, a friend of mine told me of a fairly traumatic spelling bee experience. I became obsessed with spelling bees and how they can take on such great significance to the children and the parents involved in them.
My feelings were confirmed when I traveled to Washington, D. In the two days I spent there watching the bee, interviewing some of the contestants goleberg eavesdropping, I felt I had entered an alternate universe of anxiety and expectation ruled by one of the most arbitrary of systems: While some golbderg the kids were actually having fun, it became quickly apparent that the spelling bee was pathologically important to a tangible percentage of contestants and parents.
Though I was never an active mla bee participant myself, I recognized in these kids my own childhood imperative goldverg fulfill expectations and live up to my potential. I realized that part of my own fascination with the spelling bee—and part of the reason I think it makes the national news and is televised on ESPN every year—lies in the fact that it is so easy to recognize ourselves in these kids and in this ridiculous contest.
We have all felt the desire to please or to succeed against irrational odds.
We have all felt what it is like to fail. The universals, underlying what at first mylaa seemed like such an odd niche of humanity, were a large part of what powered the 18 months it took to write Bee Season.
Upon returning to the U. My complete inability to hold down a regular job led me to a freelance career as a reader for television movies. I now write full-time in Brooklyn, where I live with my husband. Learn More About Bee Season print.
Press reactions: Bee Season, by Myla Goldberg
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