U1-U2 Value Discussions Post

When reading “Who’s Irish,” I found pieces of textual evidence of social and historical values of Chinese tradition, culture, and discipline. For example, “In China, daughter take care of mother. Here it is the other way around. Mother help daughter, mother ask, Anything else I can do?” The narrator’s daughter wishes for her mother to be more supportive of their family as John couldn’t find a job and someone needed to take care of Sophie (narrator’s granddaughter) but in Chinese culture, there is no such word as supportive. There is an evident difference in beliefs and values between the narrator and the narrator’s daughter. In Chinese culture, the elderly are supposed to be taken care of, not the other way around, and I think it’s very difficult for the narrator to wrap her head around her daughter not respecting this traditional Chinese value. Perhaps, it is because her daughter married into an Irish family and has adopted some contrasting familial beliefs and values.

The idea of “baby sitting” for her daughter’s family is one that is unheard of in Chinese culture. In China, it is one’s duty to take care of the family and is a value of Confucianism.  Another piece of textual evidence I have is, “I was never against the marriage either, I say. I just wonder if they look at the whole problem.” The whole problem here is that both parties don’t respect each other’s ideological values and differences, especially when it comes to disciplining their children. For example, “You spank her, she’ll stop, I say another day. But they say, Oh no. In America, parents not supposed to spank the child. It gives them low self-esteem, my daughter says. And that leads to problems later, as I happen to know…” The narrator and the narrator’s daughter clash in values when it comes to disciplining Sophie, and this sets up a conflict later on in the story when Sophie is spanked when she takes off her clothes. More problems arise when Sophie hides in this foxhole in a playground and decides to stay in there. When the narrator utters, “Did you ever see a Chinese girl act this way?” it tells me that the narrator is really shocked that Sophie doesn’t meet her expectation of a “Chinese girl” and doesn’t necessarily respect the Chinese way of discipline as she continues to fight back and not give up. It is also because Sophie’s mom doesn’t enforce the Chinese values of discipline. Sophie’s mother doesn’t follow a Chinese way of discipline and her father is not Chinese. This creates more tension between the narrator and her daughter as the narrator not only leaves Sophie in the foxhole at the playground until dark but also pokes Sophie with a stick trying to get her out of there. When her daughter and John eventually get Sophie out of the foxhole, the narrator’s daughter is upset. “You are crazy! say my daughter. Look at what you did! You are crazy!” The narrator’s daughter is having difficulty accepting what her mother did to her child. The back and forth bickering between the mom and daughter shows the contrast in the values they have in discipline.”She’s hard to handle, I say. She’s three years old! You cannot use a stick! says my daughter. She is not like any Chinese girl I ever saw, I say.” This dialogue that takes place is something I find interesting because how was the narrator’s daughter raised and what shifted her values and beliefs? Was it a result of intercultural and interracial marriage? Was it because she didn’t want to raise her daughter in the same way she was raised?

The phrase “She is not like any Chinese girl I ever saw,” is repeated throughout the story a number of times, and I think the narrator says this to remind her daughter that their ideas and values of disciplining Sophie are very different from each other and that she’s more right than wrong when it comes to discipline. And I’m not sure about this, but it may mean that she sees Sophie as more of a Chinese girl, more Chinese than Irish. When the narrator says this, it also means that she is not accepting of her daughter’s stubbornness of Chinese values regarding discipline. I think deep down she wishes for her daughter to respect the Chinese values, but it’s very difficult when a family is bi-cultural and the wife and husband don’t agree with Chinese tradition and values.

Response to Marcus

I agree with you on the fact that the narrator may think her own Chinese culture is better. I think this is especially true when trying to discipline Sophie and how she justifies her punishment to Sophie. In our DragonNotes video, we can definitely speak on how their differences in thinking alienate the narrator from Sophie and her daughter. We should also dive deeper into the mother and daughter’s relationship and how this cultural conflict negatively impacts their relationship with each other throughout the story. I also didn’t consider the ending of the story or the other historical events you pointed out. Let’s try to include these in our video.

 

U2: SS Answer/Ask Discussion Post

The question that I answered: Describe the tone of one the stories and what techniques the author uses to build this tone. 

My response

The tone is ironic in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. Throughout the story, Chopin also gives clues to whether or not Mrs. Mallard died of shock (“a joy that kills”) or of sadness. Due to the tone of the story, readers were able to come to the consensus that Mrs. Mallard died because she realized that because the declaration of Mr. Mallard’s death was untrue, she would still have to live under Mr. Mallard’s control and wouldn’t gain her freedom after all. First, in the beginning of the short story, we read that because Mrs. Mallard has heart trouble, “great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.” We initially believe that Mrs. Mallard is fragile and heartbroken because she was told her husband died. Throughout the middle of the story, we observe Mrs. Mallard looking out of the window taking in the new life of Spring. Near the ending of the middle paragraph, however, there is a shift. Mrs. Mallard utters out the words “free,free,free!” and experiences a fast-beating pulse. Here, Chopin uses diction to express Mrs. Mallard’s emotions when she suddenly realizes her free life without Mr. Mallard. Another example is the sentence, “…she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely.” Chopin lets the readers know that Mrs. Mallard will finally bask in the freedom, an idea to her that was a hidden desire that she finally could have at this moment. Mrs. Mallard can also “live for herself,” showing a breakaway from Mr. Mallard and his control over her.

Moreover, diction, and connotations  is also shown in other parts of the story where Mrs. Mallard is portrayed as stronger ,powerful, and no longer in despair. For example, “there was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory.” The words triumph and victory are association with strong and powerful which is what Mrs. Mallard felt. Near the end of the story, we realize that the tone of “The Story of an Hour” is ironic because of the last sentence where doctors came they said she died of heart disease, “of the joy that kills,” meaning they thought she was so happy her husband was alive that she died. But that wasn’t the case. We find out that Mrs. Mallard didn’t die because of that reason, she died because when her husbanded wasn’t pronounced dead, she no longer had the freedom of living for herself. It’s also ironic how Mrs. Mallard ends up dead, not the husband.

Question for next person: Discuss how Hemmingway uses dialogue to convey the tension in the relationship between the Girl and the American.

U2: EQ Reflection

To what extent are stories also the human story, my story?

Throughout this short story unit, I learned that many of the stories we read in class reflect stories about the human experiences of love, suffering, death, youth, and societal expectations. Although I couldn’t relate to the narrator’s story in James Joyce’s “Araby” as I wouldn’t go to that extent to keep a promise,( the narrator decides to go to the bazaar to get a gift for Mangan’s sister whom he was infatuated with) I understood and could relate to the emotions of admiration he had for Mangan’s sister. I think many stories reflect human emotions and experiences as many events we go through teach us a lesson or challenge us in some way. Many stories we have read in class, the character gains a new experience that in turn teaches them a lesson. These new experiences become shared experiences as I can relate them to my life too. In that way, they are my stories too as I can understand and relate to how characters go through struggles or complex feelings like love, indecisiveness, hurt, or anger. Another way that stories become my stories is if you take the lessons that characters learn and apply them to your life. For example, accepting another set of cultural values and making them one of her own was a lesson that the narrator in Gish Jen’s “Who’s Irish,” took away from her experience with her family. While stories like, in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” Connie’s story may not only have been a story but also a haunting commentary of the tough decisions that young girls like Connie have to make when trusting someone in a relationship for the first time or the consequences up “growing up too early” as Connie loses her innocence. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a phase in life that we all can relate to, and the feelings and decisions that come with the transition become my story too as I experience possible encounters or family relations like Connie. In conclusion, the short story unit was a unit where I got to read stories where characters shared experiences and lessons (human story). But I also had the opportunity to discuss how these stories made me feel and develop empathy for the people in the story. Although they may be characters in stories, their emotions, decisions, and thoughts are very human which makes readers feel somehow connected or attached to stories and link stories to their own life experiences. 

U1- AP Q3 In Class Writing (FRQ)

Above is the rubric/checklist with the areas that I need to work on!

The prompt: One of the strongest human drives seems to be a desire for power. Write an essay in which you discuss how a character in a novel or drama struggles to free himself or herself from the power of others or seeks to gain power over others. Be sure to demonstrate in your essay how the author uses this power struggle to enhance the meaning of the work. 

I decided to write about Jay in The Great Gatsby and how Gatsby struggles to obtain power over others and win over his lover in the novel. I also expand on how Fitzgerald uses the theme of hollowness and shallowness of the East Egg to exemplify this drive for the power of class and status.

1st page of Q3

2nd page of Q3

Reflection:

Unit 1 Original Poem (F)

Billy Collins Inspired Poetry, “Her”

 

The Quiet City

In this corner of the world

as I’m sitting down to bask in the sunlight, I notice how serene my environment is.

On this particular day, the city sounds all too quiet:

No gas guzzler vehicle starting in the distance, not a single buzzer on a phone going off, and an only occasional chirp from a shy bird or two.

All that I hear is thoughts moving across my mind like heavy traffic, and the gentle footsteps that patter on the ground.

This morning is odd,

I am only hearing the softness of the world, as if it’s resting.

It sounds oh so quiet that I ask a friend

Where might the city bustle have gone?

 

  • In this poem I was inspired by Billy Collins Her, which tells a moment of a man walking around his suburbs and taking in how loud the sounds around him actually are, such as the dog barks, the leafblowers, and the garbage trucks. 

  • I was also inspired by the simplicity of the poem and internal dialogue of the poem. In my poem, I focused on my location of Hong Kong, and talked about how unbearably quiet it was one day because I’m very used to the city noise. 

Her

There is no noisier place than the suburbs,

someone once said to me

as we were walking along a fairway,

and every day is delighted to offer fresh evidence:

the chainsaw, the leaf-blower blowing

one leaf around an enormous house with columns,

on Mondays and Thursdays the garbage truck

equipped with air brakes, reverse beeper, and merciless grinder.

There’s dogs, hammers, backhoes

or serious earthmovers if today is not your day.

How can the birds get a peep

or a chirp in edgewise, I would like to know?

But this morning is different,

only a soft clicking sound

and the low talk of two workmen working

on the house next door, laying tile I am guessing.

Otherwise, all quiet for a change,

just the clicking of tiles being handled

and their talking back and forth in Spanish

then one of them asking in English

“What was her name?” and the silence of the other.