Relationships in Real Life by Brandon Taylor: Wallace’s Pursuit of Happiness

We used the song “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi for two reasons.  The first reason being Kid Cudi’s close relation to the novel. Kid Cudi will be assuming the lead role of Wallace in a television adaptation of the novel. The other reason is that Kid Cudi’s music elicits the same emotional turbulence as Real Life does. The song “Pursuit of Happiness” conveys the ultimate struggle that Wallace faces of finding himself in a world of his foils.  

While we were brainstorming for our podcast, we wanted to segue each of our topics together to form one overarching thesis. Our driving questions ranged from Wallace’s scientific nature to his unhealthy relationships and sexuality to his past. After discussing, we were able to form a natural progression from our protagonist’s difficult emotions to his past trauma to his complicated relationship with male sexuality. We analyzed these separate parts of Real Life to discover the true basis behind Wallace’s sedentary life, seemingly trapped in a racist PWI in the Midwest among false friends and toxic relationships.  

This entry was posted in #PBL #StudentCentered, 2020 Booker Short List novels, Literature Circles aka #litcircles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Relationships in Real Life by Brandon Taylor: Wallace’s Pursuit of Happiness

  1. Emelia says:

    You did a great job combining your topics to create one cohesive discussion about Wallace’s complex emotions, where they stem from, and how they are seen in his everyday life. I also really liked your take on Wallace’s interactions with Simone and Dana. Although they were minor characters, they represented the larger picture of Wallace’s mistreatment.

  2. sarahkurbanov says:

    I really enjoyed your analysis of the main character’s complicated existence and ‘removed’ psyche. Also, great song selection!

  3. jennadaly09 says:

    I find your comparison between Wallace’s interaction with Dana and his friendship with Vincent. I didn’t think of how similar they are. Your interpretation of Wallace’s isolation added an additional layer to how I already had perceived it.

  4. Dan Ennis says:

    I really liked the diverse combination of topics you chose. As someone who didn’t read the book, I feel as though I have a solid understanding of the gist and some of the deeper undertones in relation to the social issues.

  5. 21kbros says:

    I really like how you were able to pack a lot of information into this podcast, making it interesting and informative for the reader, but still in a way to keep them engaged. I also like how you used Kid Cudi music to tie in that aspect of the novel that I think many students our age could relate to or find interesting.

  6. 21mjk says:

    The divide between the constricting nature of the campus and the perils yet liberty of real life are a very interesting concept to think about. The music choice is fitting and I like the modern and casual vibe.

  7. 21slc says:

    You guys did a great job covering the range of topics addressed in this book, and relating each back to Wallace using specific sections of the text. I also really liked how you tied many of Wallace’s memories to what was happening in the plot of the story to aid your analysis. Always love the Cudi.

  8. This excellent discussion of these complex characters makes me want to pick up the book myself! I also love the song choice!

  9. 21pjh says:

    You gave great insight to some character relationships in this novel, and I feel like just by listening to your podcast I gained an in depth understanding. Also a great choice.

  10. daviswarren2 says:

    I really enjoyed the use of Kid Cudi here. It is important to keep our literary references up to date with pop culture. Good Work.

  11. seantashjian says:

    Great job explaining some of the major themes in the novel and great use of the hiphop music as well.

  12. Great incorporation of Kid Cudi here. Great to have learned about his music; it does work really well with the novel’s themes! So great you three incorporated your insights from your prose pieces into this good podcast!

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