Ella Minnow Pea is a novel by Mark Dunn. The full title of the hardcover version is Ella Minnow Pea: a progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable, while . Playwright Dunn tries his hand at fiction in this “progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable,” and the result is a novel bursting with creativity, neological mischief. Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author.
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In what ways is Ella Minnow Pea unconventional? How is it more like a fable than a novel?
What characteristics does it share with other fables? Does it offer a clear moral? Why has Mark Dunn chosen to tell this story through letters rather than a more straightforward narrative?
What does Dunn gain by eschewing a single narrative voice in dunj of many characters writing to one another about the events that beset their island-nation? What ironies are involved in writing letters about the disappearance of the letters of the alphabet? In what sense can Ella Minnow Pea be read as a satire of censorship and the restriction of free speech? What are some of the other more amusing verbal acrobatics they are forced to perform?
What is Dunn magk here about the ways in which human societies venerate and mythologize sacred texts and heroic ancestors?
What strategies do the islanders use to protest, oppose, and finally overthrow the tyranny of markk High Council? How do these strategies create suspense in the cunn Seen in light of recent events, in the Middle East and elsewhere, can the novel be read as a commentary on religious authoritarianism?
Ella Minnow Pea dwells heavily on the theme of communication—reading, writing, and talking. What is Dunn suggesting by having the members of the High Island Council read the falling letters as signs—supernatural communications from Nollop—which ultimately make communication nearly impossible?
What does the novel as whole say about the nature and purpose of communication dhnn community? How important are the love relationships in the novel—for example those between Tassie and Nate and between Rory and Mittie—to the main action? How do they enhance the plot?
What does the novel imply about the dangers of trying to create udnn utopian society? What examples of intolerant societies—religious or otherwise—exist in the world today? Is the message of this novel relevant to those situations? Disorder to match the clutter and chaos of our marvelous language. Why is this an appropriate memorial?
Review: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
In what ways is language chaotic? In what ways is it ordered and restrictive? Why is Ella comparing liquor and conversation in this passage?
Dumn does Dunn manage to make Ella Minnow Pea both a whimsical fable and a serious anti-authoritarian satire? What elements of the novel seem comical or lighthearted? What elements seem more pointed? How well does the author integrate them into the story?
The Council passes a law against uttering words containing the letter; punishment for violating their strictures can lead to banishment and even death. And as further letters begin to fall, Ella Minnow Pea and her family, along with the rest of community, are forced to live under linguistic siege. Citizens are publicly flogged, placed in stocks, their property confiscated and their lives ruined, all for slips of the tongue.
But with the help of Nate Warren, a researcher living in Dujn Carolina, the minonw decide to fight back, vowing to create a pangram even shorter and therefore more dazzling than the one for which Nollop has been elevated to divine status.
The only question is: Charming, intellectually engaging, and filled with fascinating wordplay, Ella Minnow Pea is a cautionary tale about authoritarianism, about the dangers of reading signs mafk symbols where there are none—and about the irrepressible human urge to speak freely.
Questions and Topics for Discussion 1.
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters
About this Author Mark Dunn is the author of more than twenty-five full-length plays, including the widely produced Belles and Pa Tellers Dancing in the Rain. He has received several national playwriting awards and is currently playwright-in-residence with the New Jersey Repertory Company and the Community Theatre League in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Ella Minnow Pea is his first novel. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.
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