Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Joy Luck Club Entry #6

Pain and Seperation
Without Wood by Rose Hsu Jordan
The story Pain and Without Wood by Rose Hsu Jordan was a very sad story. It was based on Rose's divorce with her ex-husband. She woke up to find a check and divorce papers in her mail. Wouldn't anybody be shocked? To realize that all the love that you had for someone has resulted in $10,000. The husband's name was Ted, and the fact that they were divorcing led her into misery and loneliness. She stayed at home and took sleeping pills, to try and forget the pain in her sleep. An-Mei calls her as she wakes up, and she asks why Rose will not "fight back," and act as a strong individual. After this call, Ted calls and demands that she should sign the papers, because he wants to marry another woman. This part of the story was shockingand painful, because it must have stung Rose as much as anyone else. However, she remembers what An-Mei says, and takes this pain into a jovial mood. When Ted comes to pick up the papers, she gives him papers that are unsigned. In the end, she refuses to leave the house and be thrown away like some useless object.
I think that Rose Hsu Jordan is a mysterious character. She sets off as someone weak, but with the help of An-Mei she comes to her senses. In the end, readers would admire her strength. I believe she is a strong person because she accepted the pain and acted defensive to her husband. She would not just sign the papers, and let this love be easily broken. She felt as if she wasn't being treated well enough to be thrown out of love. I think she reminds me of her name. A rose will start as a bud, weak and having a miniscule presence compared to others. But in the end, she bloomed into a person that was ultimately more beautiful or stronger than then others.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Joy Luck Club Entry #5

Scar by An-Mei Hsu
I think that Scar by An-Mei Hsu is one of my favorite stories in The Joy Luck Club. This story tells of a daughter seeing how devoted her mother was to her grandmother, Popo. At first the mother is acknowledged as a "ghost" because she left her daughter, and has yet to be seen. Popo tells her that she should not be mentioned at all in the household. Popo told her life's morals. She told fearful stories to her granddaughter so that her daughter would never make the mistake of being greedy and disobedient. However, later on in the story, when Popo becomes ill, their Aunt tells them that their mother has married and had many children, when the main character's brother tells the Aunt she scared the mother away. In turn, the mother comes in at the end of the story, to see her dying grandmother. Suddenly she remembers a moment in her past, when she had gotten a scar. The scar symbolizes the time in which she lost her mother. A boiling pot of soup lay between them as they were seperated, and the soup spilled on her neck. When Popo is dying, the mother cuts off a piece of flesh in order to try to help her mother survive. It was an almost desperate attempt of hope.
Later on into the story, the main character realizes how much people can sacrifice to their mothers. The pain is something that should be forgotten, because sometimes it is the only way to remember what is in your bones. What is in your bones, is your grandmother and mother and other predecessors of the life before you. This story made you realize that you should appreciate the bones that are in you for the rest of your life. The story emphasizes that the wound may hurt you, but you are only proving and seeing what is truly in your soul. If we were to sacrifice our own flesh for our family, we would learn to forget the pain and remember the life that was lived before your birth.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Joy Luck Club Entry #4

Changing Places/Changing Faces
I made this poem from the influence of the theme and parable of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. This poem is told in the perspective of a mother.

One day
On a bright autumn night

I whisked away everything
It was the night my mother told me I was useless
Nothing but a mere bud that has no chance to blossom
So here I have left
With all my belongings
With all of my life left behind me
When I grow up
I would want my daughter to be proud of me
A blossomed flower
But it seems that time has stopped
The days seem longer
On this boat to some place that I will soon call home
I will live life like any wealthy person would, I tell myself
I crooned to my daughter, who had already been born, that we were almost there
The city lights shined at me eyes
And suddenly I saw my daughter change
Serenity was her essence
But now she is ignorant
Ignorant of the life before her
Failing classes and talking back to me as if I were some insubordinate
I want to tell her I risked my life for you
But she wouldn't understand
But I guess in the end...
Ignorance is bliss
...For her at least...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Joy Luck Club Entry #3

The Parable and its Relation to The Stories.
The parable in The Joy Luck club taught a moral lesson that has been revealed to me until just now. It seems as if future generatiosn care less about the life before them. In the parable of The Joy Luck Club, the mother takes a swan with her to America, buying this swan with all of her life's savings. She wanted to go to America so that her daughters "worth would not be measured by the belch of her husband," but of her acheivements in life. But the mother soon realized that the girl was swallowing more Coke than sorrow. From this parable, we realize that contemporary generations lose the interest in their past. Who knows if many suffered just to keep us into this country, but this parable was connected with the other stories as well. The characters gain a new perspective on what their predecessors faced in order for their future generations to remain content in their lives. For homework, we created a sheet about how the Parable excerpt was connected to the story excerpts.
Parable Excerpt 1: Now the woman was old. And she had a daughter who grew up speaking only English and swallowing more Coca-Cola than sorrow.
Story Excerpt 1: “There’s a school of thought,” I said, “that parents shouldn’t criticize children. They should encourage instead. You know, people rise to other people’s expectations. And when you criticize, it just means you’re expecting failure.” “That’s the trouble,” my mother said, “You never rise. Lazy to get up. Lazy to rise to expectations.(page 20)
Explain Connections 1: The connection between these two is similar. In a way, the parable excerpt tells readers that many of the future generations are ignorant of the lives and sufferings before them. In the parable excerpt, the mother intended to come to America for the daughter to learn many things and be open to opportunities in life; however her expectations for her daughter were quickly shattered. In The Joy Luck Club Jing Mei Woo is looked down upon because she has never achieved what her mother always thought she could be. Yet, Jing Mei chose to pick a different path in life.
Parable Excerpt 2: For a long time now, the woman had wanted to give her daughter the single swan feather, and tell her, “This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions.” And she waited, year after year for the day she could tell her daughter this in perfect American English.
Story Excerpt 2: All these years I kept my true nature hidden, running along like a small shadow so nobody could catch me. And because I moved so secretly now my daughter does not see me. She sees a list of things to buy, her checkbook out of balance, her ashtray sitting crooked on a straight table. And I want to tell her this: We are lost, she and I, unseen and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others. (page 64)
Explain Connections 2:
I thought that these two excerpts shared similarities because both mention wary mothers who want to tell their daughters that they have no idea behind what their mothers faced in order to live in America. However, this message was never really told, because of all the cultural assimilations in this “new” environment.

Parable Excerpt 3: On her journey she cooed to the swan: “In America I will have a daughter just like me. But over there nobody will look down on her, because I will make her speak only perfect American English. And over there she will always be too full to swallow any sorrow! She will know my meaning, because I will give her this swan—a creature that became more than what was hoped for.”
Story Excerpt 3:
Even though I was young, I could see the pain of the flesh and the worth of the pain. This is how a daughter honors her mother. It is shou so deep it is in your bones. The pain of the flesh is nothing. The pain you must forget. Because sometimes that is the only way to remember what is in your bones. You must peel off your skin, and that of your mother, and her mother before her. Until there is nothing. No scar, no skin, no flesh.
Explain Connections 3: I believe that these 2 excerpts were interrelated with one another because in both stories, the mother tries to present the daughter the message. In the parable, the duck represents her life’s worth, and how she will develop like this swan as more than what she is hoped to be. In the other story, the daughter realizes the message when the mother cuts off her flesh to sacrifice it to her mother. This pain was a reminder that pain should be ignored and that you should remember what is truly “in your bones.”

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Joy Luck Club Entry #2

The Joy Luck Club by Jing-Mei Woo
Summary and Quote Analysis

The first story was known as The Joy Luck Club by Jing Mei Woo. I thought that this story was very well-written. As a young woman, Jing Mei Woo faces the death of her mother, Suyuan. Canning, her father encourages her to join a daily Mahjong game, in which her mother is usually invited to. Without a word, she assumes that she would be considered the "replacement" in the game of her mother. Her parents attended this party ever since they immigrated from China.
The Joy Luck Club was created in order for the women to escape reality. During the time, Suyuan was living in Kweilin, China, there were many hardships in store for her and other women. There was also an invasion of American armies. The club took their mind off the current war, and each club was a hopeful optimistic outlook on the fact that they would soon be lucky. However, an American official warned Suyuan that there would be the Japanese that would invade Kweilin. So she, in turn escaped into Chungking. She had said to her daughter that all she had left was her best silk dresses. When the daughter queried about her children, the mother did not talk about the daughters. She doesn't believe that at this club, she would ever belong or be considered as her mother. She is already looked down at the fact that she quit college. But at the end of this club, Suyuan's friends tell Jing-Mei that her mother was secretly looking for the 2 twin daughters. They had given her money, enough for her to go back to China and tell them of her mother. When asked what to tell her mother, Auntie Lin reprimands her and tells her that even her bones are her mother. She tells her to tell of her mother's life and troubles. In the end, the one club of women look at her with hope. Hope that she will finish the story of her mother to her other children.
"It's not that we had no heart or eyes for pain. We were all afraid. We all had our miseries. But to despair was to wish for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable."
I thought that this quote summed up the main theme of the story. The club was established in order to forget the hardships. In a way, Jing-Mei was relieved of her hardship of her mother dying. She was given a chance to figure more about her mother's life, and herself. The other women couldn't let Jing-Mei prolong at this situation. They had hope for her, that she could ultimately find this experience as a life-changing one.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Joy Luck Club Entry #1

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Background Information About Amy Tan's Life
Today in Mrs.Faughey's class we were introduced to a new book, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. After we began reading Feathers from a Thousand Li away, I realized how eloquent Amy Tan was, as an author. She kept the story flowing with precision, and she kept the reader interested. We also took notes of Amy Tan's personal life. Our class discovered many things about this author.

Who is Amy Tan?
Amy Tan is an Asian-American author who was born in February 12, 1952 in Oakland, California. Her parents were Chinese immigrants. Her mother was named Daisy Tan, and her father was named John Tan. John Tan was an electrical engineer and Baptist. He ran away from the turmoil in his country. Daisy lost custody of her 3 daughters because she escaped divorce and communism on the last boat to America. There, Amy and her 2 brothers lived their lives. Amy's father and oldest brother died of a brain tumor. After these sad deaths, Amy's family left to Switzerland. She faced conflict with her mother, and there was even a moment in which they did not speak 6 months after she entered college. She further angered her mother by going to San Jose College, because she had abandoned the pre-med course that her mother had expected her to take. There, she entered the study of English. She gained a ,aster's degree in 1974, and she and her boyfriend married in San Francisco. She further went on to study English at the University of California and Berkeley. She left the doctoral program at 1976, and became a language development consultant. She also was in a business firm, as a business writer. She became dissatisfied with this vocation so she began being introduced to the jazz channel and she began writing fiction.
The first story that she wrote was called The End Game. It was shown in FM magazine and printed in 17 magazine. Her second book, Waiting Between the Trees, encouraged her to write a volume. During that time, that she was embarking on a new career, her mother grew ill. She promised her mother that if she was cured they would go to China and meet her 3 daughters. This experience inspired her to write a book of stories, which later became
The Joy Luck Club. She quit business at 1989, and the book was in the New York Times' best seller. There were many enthusiastic compliments, and it was translated into 17 languages. She then created The Kitchen God's Wife. She also created 2 children's books and 2 novels. The 2 novels were called The Bonesetter's Daughter and 100 Secret Senses. She was also in a rock and roll band with Stephen King and other prominent writers.

This background information about the author, helped me utilize more about the story. The Joy Luck Club was made from the experiences that she dealt with her mother. She was inspired to write from her experiences. This makes the book seem more interesting because it is from a basis of truths. It also intrigued me in a humorous light when she was in a rock and roll band. Overall, through these notes, you can realize more about the book, and more about how the author incorporated her experiences into the story.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Things F a l l Apart Entry #8

Critiques and Overall Judgement
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe was a good book. I would give it 6 out of 10 stars. I thought the book portrayed the African villages well, and through these precise details, we saw more into the character's eyes. Many wondered that the details about his farming were insignificant, but I disagree to some extent. Although it was redundant, it provided the reader a sense of how Okonkwo lives his life. I particularly did not like the ending of the story. In the beginning of the story, a reader is interested in the life of Okonkwo and how he does not appreciate his father's ways. However, as the story went on his life was full of surprises and he faced many setbacks in his life. I feel Okonkwo should not have died in the ending of the book, because it surpasses all of Okonkwo's perception on life. Okonkwo believes that a man should be brave at all times. Suicide, however is a somewhat weak solution in running away from one's problems. Whether or not Okonkwo killed himself also leaves the reader in utter confusion. I think a book is well-put if the reader does not have to ask himself many questions about the book. Although suspense is satisfying to any reader, I don't think that Chinua Achebe made a great ending. It was occult, and it left the reader feeling empty. Although Things Fall Apart opens our perception about how one man learns about life and how things are supposed to happen, it was weak in some portions of the book.Also, if Okonkwo was killed or killed himself, the reason for this also was weak. One of the reasons I theorized was that he realized that he had made a big mistake when he killed the messenger. He thought there would have been war, but after killing this messenger it seemed that none of this would happen. I guessed that he ran away and committed suicide in shame that he would never be able to reach his "goal" in life.

Things F a l l Apart Entry #7

My poem for the English Project

A source of great sorrow
A new faith has overwhelmed the people’s souls
Embodies a mad dog ravenous of its followers
They say our worshipped gods are false
gods of wood and stone
“Leave your wicked ways,” they say
“And turn to Him so that you may be saved when you die.”
Pieces of wood and stone
Do not control our land
This realization
Breaks the men of Mbanto into derisive laughter. However the dusty and silent chords of evangelism
Pluck at the heart of the men
The poetry of this new religion
Provides relief to parched souls
From seeing and hearing this
A sudden fury rises above me
Within me
And my heart cries out to destroy these miscreant ways of life
A man’s place was always in the lizard’s tail of the clan
If he left, someone else would rise.
Everyone has left and this union of great warriors
Has diminished
However through this lunatic religion
Lies success
Umuofia is now the prosperous land that we have always dreamt about
But these prophecies and arguments
Slowly heed the people to the Christians’ words
Many came to learn in school
And learn their ways
Churches were established
And this land that I once called native
Is not as memorable as I wished
The new religion and government
And the trading stores were much
In the people’s eyes and minds
And as these changes spread
I can only mourn for the
Breaking and
Falling apart
Of the way I see and breathe life