Study Questions and Writing Prompts for Chapters 3-5 of Coover's Universal Baseball Association [UBA]

The following numbered entries will function as both study questions and writing prompts for today's three Coover chapters. For your in-class writing assignment, you will choose one of the three numbered entries as the basis for your response paper. Please note that you are not expected to answer each of the questions listed in any category; each set of questions is supposed to just inspire thought about an issue in the novel. You, then, are being asked to establish a specific focus relative to the issue governed by the questions and write a thirty minute response paper.

  1. In class last Friday, I suggested that Coover's UBA is a decidely "male" novel. How are women depicted/used in this novel? What is the relation of women characters to sexuality and desire--particularly male sexuality and desire? Do you find any of the depiction of women's bodies and how their bodies are used by males to be disturbing? In short, how do depictions of women function in the novel?
  2. Patrick Monday, who is developing a new political party to compete with Gus Maloney's failing Bogglers and UBA Chancellor Fenn McCaffrey's empowered Legalistic Party, refers to the "intransitive will of history" [Ch 3; 95] at the post-funeral party for Damon Rutherford. During the same event, Rag Mooney sees Damon Rutherford's death as history "dehistorified" [Ch 3; 82] and Fenn McCaffrey thinks about the relation of history to folklore and truth, of the necessity of ritual, as he contemplates ways of reviving a seemingly dying UBA [Ch 3; 103-04]. What are the functions of history and folklore in the novel?
  3. Reading,we, like Henry, become immersed in the world of the UBA and its players' histories and personalities. As we proceed through chapters 3-5, however, Henry's fantasy reality begins to fade somewhat, to be impinged upon by reality. If we distance ourselves from the narrative, we realize that all of the players and all players' thoughts are Henry's creations. How does his representation of the players' interiority provide a gloss on Henry and his mental state and relation to society? Can you identify significant moments when Henry's assuming the identity of a particular character reveals more about Henry than about the character or the UBA?