Objective: Chapter 1: In the very first paragraph of the book, we learn that "when a man is smoking a cigar, wearing a hat, he has an advantage; it is harder to find out how he feels." Much of the first chapter focuses on the ways in which the main character, Wilhelm, is able to hide his true feelings from the other characters. This lesson will focus on self-image and presentation as a motif in the novel.
1. Class Discussion: Wilhelm constantly refers to himself as a "hippopotamus," but outwardly he presents a different image. Discuss the discrepancies between how Wilhelm presents himself outwardly and how he actually feels inside. Cite examples from the text of other characters' impressions of Wilhelm. Do you think Wilhelm has a low self-image or a high self-image? How do you think this effects the choices he makes in his life? Do you think...
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