Study Guide

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party Part 2, Chapter 4

By M.T. Anderson

Part 2, Chapter 4

  • Mr. Sharpe is continuing with his plan to revamp the College.
  • He meets with each scholar to figure out how that scholar's work can be redirected toward practical ends.
  • Also, Mr. Sharpe isn't so much into the arts because they aren't practical or profitable to him.
  • Everything really is changing.
  • The whole business of switching to proper surnames is really weird for the College crew, and Cassiopeia—well, let's just say, Mr. Sharpe's just not that into her.
  • He thinks Cassiopeia is way too fancy and puts on airs, so he cuts off funding for her dresses.
  • Finally, he observes a lesson between Dr. Trefusis and Octavian.
  • Octavian thinks the lesson is going well (it's another Latin text on a slave rebellion), but Sharpe doesn't think so.
  • He bans all history and literature from Octavian's education—anything with a hint of a story—because narrative just isn't abstract (read: boring) enough.
  • He reasons that all this storytelling is too much a part of Octavian's natural, African self and culture, and so of course Octavian takes to it well—what the College should really be testing is Octavian's ability to learn complete abstraction (stuff like pure grammar and logic), which Mr. Sharpe identifies as useful stuff.
  • Dr. Trefusis is completely scandalized by this plan—he thinks it's going to ruin Octavian—but Mr. Sharpe just says that Dr. T has done that already and asks for the new lessons to begin.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...