Drawing Connections with Ink (for Wed. 09/30)

Prompt #1: What does Ink have to do with science and/or speculative fiction? What are the science fictional/ speculative elements of the text? And what is their significance within the novel? Thinking back further, how might Ink be an example of what Walidah Imarisha describes as “visionary fiction”?


Prompt #2: Relate Ink to one of the texts we have read this semester. What kinds of connections do you see between Ink and this other text? Are there related themes or overarching issues or concerns? Do you see similarities between some of the characters in Ink and a figure from another reading? How and why?


Reminders for Wed. (09/30)

Hi all,

Just some quick reminders for Wednesday’s class, Sept. 30th:

  • We will begin class with the group activity on “minor” character analysis. Students who were absent can check out the handout I distributed to each group on the “handouts” page. (I will put you into existing groups tomorrow).
  • We will be finishing up our discussion of Vourvoulias’s Ink (pgs. 186-229)!
    • Blogger: David Huynh
    • Facilitators: None!
    • *Keep in mind that blog responses are due by 5:o0pm the day before class. Comments are due by 9:00am the day of class. Everyone who is not posting a response, should be commenting!*
  • I know that there were some issues with the internet yesterday, but when it comes back up, you should email me an electronic copy of your essay (if you haven’t done so already).
  • Also, can those of you who have been hanging on to your  peer review sheets, bring them into class tomorrow?

Thanks and happy reading!

Prof. Tran

INK(pgs. 112-185)

“ It means a sterilization program at the inkatoriums before they’re shut down.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“I’m not. The inkatorium closet to the Canadian border has pioneered the program we’re thinking of adopting. They’ve been running it for the past six months. It’s pretty cost effective since it uses implanted rods to release the sterilizing agents subcutaneously. By the time the rods disintegrate and are absorbed into the body, the effects are irreversible. It’s testing at about three months after implantation at the moment. And 96 percent efficacy.” (p.118)

This conversation really stood out to me because Doctor Watkins the reporter from the Gazette is revealing what they plan on doing to Finn. When she is asked: “ What made you decide to give this to the Gazette? Aren’t they going to know you leaked it?” (p.118) Her response was: “ Maybe I don’t care.” (p.118) This got me thinking what’s her real motive? I thought she was up to something. Why would she just spill out what the Gazette is doing? Something is fishy about this. If she really doesn’t care about the Gazette finding out about the information that she is leaking ; then why is she still working for them if she’s against what they are doing.

But this is like the climax of the story. This is how this video got viral. “ Abbie’s already sitting at the computer. She turns the screen to me without a word, We’re the top vid on YouTube. Digg. Yahoo.” (p.121) This makes the reader question and want to know what the public will do to help once they know about this information. What’s next? Can they do something to stop the sterilization program at the inkatoriums? But at the same time this can cause them a lot of trouble for them. What happens when the Gazette finds out? Are they going to threaten them to get rid of this video? A lot of questions arise in the reader’s head. This makes the reader interested in finding out what’s going to happen next. Therefore, keeping the reader active and engaged.

Reminders for Monday (09/28)

Hi all,

Some quick reminders for Monday’s class, Sept 28th:

  • We will be continuing our discussion of Ink (pgs. 112-185)
    • Bloggers: Sara Aldaghady, Ben Manahan
    • Facilitators: Kaitlyn Klepper, Catherine Kearns
  • For those of you who haven’t done so already, please email me (proftran100@gmail.com) an electronic copy of your close reading paper.

Happy reading!


Prof. Tran

Ink (68-111)

I know better than to think Addison’s protecting me. She wouldn’t care if Rose decided to pull my nails out in class. It’s the trailer trash comment that prompted a reaction. What kind of neighbor would she be if she let that one stand?

Gotta love the reasons adults choose to act. (p. 69)

What strikes me most about this quote from Abbie’s narration is how it managed to reconcile a consistent scenario across each narrator that I hadn’t managed to pick up on until it was exposed plainly in this moment: the threshold that must be crossed before one changes their disposition.

In this passage, Abbie tells us that Ms. Addison couldn’t care less about her well being – but that an assault on Abbie’s social/economic class (which Ms. Addison is presumably a member of) is enough for her to step in on the vengeful defensive.

She wouldn’t care if Rose decided to pull my nails out in class.

This graphic depiction is worth noting as it’s particularly tortuous and malicious, analogous to a lot of the violence we’ve been exposed to in prior chapters. Violence without provocation that’s expected to elicit sympathy from any human being.

What kind of neighbor would she be if she let that one stand?

I get the feeling that Abbie’s narration here comes with a bit tongue-in-cheek tone. Regardless, using neighbor (a quality that typically indicates similar economic class) as the identifier between the two characters is an interesting choice. Not schoolteacher (that would be expected to enforce the classroom) or even personAbbie wants us to know it’s the trailers that bonds them, not their positions socially.

I think this perfectly prototypes a recurring theme: a dichotomy between humanity and class, and how they relate to identity. How do the characters of our story identify themselves, and how does that identity manifest itself into their opinions and actions towards others? How difficult or easy is it for them to sympathize with one another, and what catalyzes that moment?

Earlier, when Mari is pleading to her captor she attempts to appeal as both a citizen and a fellow human, she tells him: “You and I aren’t any different, Ted,” I say after a pause. “We’re both looking for a way to get out of an awful situation we never thought to be in.” (p. 37). Despite her efforts, only further harm becomes of her as he says “We are different.”

Finally, while Del and Finn talk late at night about Finn’s troubles, Del comments on the struggle of inks: I stare at the toes of my workboots. “You know, we’re never going to get it anyway.” (p.50). Despite the fact that his coworkers are inks, he suggests that he’ll never truly know them. Even as a neighbor, literally and economically, he faces a social/human boundary that he sees impenetrable.

Interestingly enough later on in this chapter, it’s after Abbie learns of the obstructed romance between Mari and Finn that she almost immediately decides to break Meche and Mari out of the inkatorium.

INK (68-11)

   “Boots appear among the civilian footwear. Nightsticks hop in and out of view, and the sound is punctuated by the thud of wood on flesh. Gunfire starts peppering the audio.

‘It was like that in Cuba,’ Silvo says. ‘Didn’t matter which side you were on.’

    ‘Mother of God, ‘ Father Tom says.

    At the corner we see a girl , not much older than Abbie, go down under a volley of hard blows. She covers her head with her hands as she hits pavement, but blood seeps through her fingers and she stops moving” (Vourvoulias, 96).

At this point of the novel we are faced with idea of the havoc that is happening to the town. A war that is in some form a “declaration.” In this particular passage, the characters are watching virtually what is happening outside of the charred remains of Holy Innocents. In this passage we are gruesomely introduced to the horrors of what systems are failing such as the government. In the depiction of security of simply boots and nightsticks readers are immediately immersed into a corrupted negative feel. The lack of proper nouns such as people being named adds to the foreboding nature of this passage. It makes readers feel like it was depicting similar images of what happened during the Holocaust. With the reference to Cuba, we can see an extension to strip away people from their identities and significance. Silvo mentions that the side people were on “[d]idn’t matter.” As if the individuals themselves didn’t matter. Look at the one sentence “Gunfire starts peppering the audio.” The word peppering is not a typical description of gunfire. Pepper is an addition to flavor or an enhancement to something usually. The idea that the shots pepper the audio make the gunshots seem like they are enhancing the gruesomeness of the tragedy.

With Father Tom’s following comment, we can see the introduction of religion included. This simple comment of shock ties in the name of the church: Holy Innocents. The place where “innocents” are being shot, bludgeoned, and burned. The final image of the girl, illustrates to the readers the severity of what is occurring. From both a governmental situation and religious platform, sides do not matter. The final image of the girl ties this in, where readers are illustrated the damage that is occurring within the town. That this is reality, whether they want it or not.

This passage is also fascinating with the narration being placed in present tense along with the novel up to what we read. This makes every action much more active and so with this convergence of system corruption. It makes the scene much more poignant and powerful to the reader especially in relation to the girl.

How did this passage/section of the novel make you feel as a reader?

-Brandon Grispart

“Ink” (p.68-111)

“Like, people inside are pretty much the same people outside. We’ve got somewhere around 1,000 inks of all kinds here now and if you walk into the lunchroom you’ll see them sitting into ethnic groupings. And within each group, they sit pretty much by color of tat. Unspoken hierarchy, a lot like high school. The only ones who seem to cross the boundaries are kids too little to recognize the distinctions other than size” (p.74)

In this passage, Abbie is observing the lunchroom of the inkatorium after a shipment of new inks came in. She watches the inks and takes note of how they organize themselves by ethnic groups and within their groups, by the color of their tattoos. The inks are all bound together by their situation, the way they are seen and treated by the society they live in. I find the organization among the inks to be interesting because they seems to have an “unspoken hierarchy” that is evident despite the fact that they are victims to another ranking system. It seems strange to me because the thing that bonds them together, their tattoos, also separates them from each other. However, this is not the case for children. In the eyes of the kids there are no differences between the people among them except for the size of a person. The passage illustrates how the children know little about the reason for the organization or the reason as to why they are in the inkatorium in the first place. This in itself shows that the people are raised into the hierarchical system not born with it ingrained in them, meaning that as the children grow up they will learn their place in society and begin to organize themselves to fit the system. This learned behavior goes beyond the minds of the inks to even those of ordinary American citizens. Abbie makes reference to the “unspoken hierarchy” of the lunchroom to her experience in high school. The reference points to how even within the social structure of the American citizens there is a hierarchical system that determines how people treat one another. One example being when Rose, a fellow classmate, says ‘I don’t know why you hang with trailer trash, John’ (p.68). Here, Abbie is ranked to be of a lower class to that of Rose and John because she is not as well off as they are, even though all are the same race and citizens. The passage illustrates that no matter the situation, the idea of superiority, rank, and classification seems to be the main focal point that the author writes about and questions.

-Serina Thomas