Friday, December 2, 2011

More Literary Terms? Synesthesia

Synesthesia is defined as: The use of one sense to convey the experience of another.
So for example, a lot people convey feelings through the eyes (the sense of sight) as oppose to saying it verbally (the sense of speech). Or vice versa. This term reminds me of a game we just played at my friends house for her birthday. She was blind-folded and had to use all her other senses to figure out who was in front of her. It was a fun night. :)
You know what comes next...examples...

Funky, right? Imagine doing everything we normally do with another sense: Smelling a CD instead of listening to it? Listening to food instead of tasting it?

Do you hear anger when you see red? Taste bubblegum when you see pink?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

More Literary Terms? Requiem

Requiem is defined as: Any chant, hymn, dirge or musical service for the dead.

Whenever I see this term, I think of the movie with Requiem for a Dream. It was an amazing,
physiological-mind thriller. If you havn't seen it, I definitely recommend it as a must-see movie.


It's a bit bone-chilling so watch at your own risk!

For you non-suspenseful movie people out there, here's a nice poem...about death...
By Robert Louis Steveson
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie;
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

More Literary Terms? Magic(al) Realism

Magic(al) Realism is defined as: a genre developed in Latin America which juxtaposes the everyday with the marvelous or magical.
The first time I came across this genre was in Dr. Preston’s class sophomore year when we read Like Water for Chocolate.  It was definitely a new kind of reading experience for me and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do so. 
Here are some examples!
Ohhh the good ole days.

I don't know about you, but the volcanoes I've seen don't errupt butterflies.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box

In Plato’s allegory, he never says who put the people in the cave.  He simply states that we are there until we are enlightened.  While Sartre implies in his writing that the three characters put themselves in the position of Hell.  To Sartre, our limitations are our flaws.  Not only were the characters majorly flawed, they didn’t even understand that they possessed such flaw(s).  They knew they were in Hell for acting out a crime, but did they ever think to wonder what caused them to act in such a horrible way?  This is the big question that they never ask, hence their continuation to stay in Hell.  The three characters were similar in that they all represented one another in some shape or form.  They absolutely loathed one another, but if they are all similar to each other, doesn’t that mean that they hate themselves?  They don’t want to see themselves as “bad” people because in their minds, they aren’t.  It’s this type of selfish thinking that leads them to their demise.  Their ignorance to see their flaws is something Plato talked about.  In some ways, living in cave can be Hell if the person knows that there is more out there to learn.  But if the chained person is blissfully unaware of any new information outside the cave, I don’t see how it would matter to them. 

AP Literary Term: Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist is defined as: the general cultural, intellectual, ethnical, or spiritual climate within a nation or even specific groups. The general ambiance, morals or sociocultural direction, and mood of a society/group/nation/etc. is also associated with zeitgeist.
An example of this would be America and its recession.  Our economic "climate" is not in a good place at the moment and is reflected through inflation, rising gas prices, etc. 

My first encounter with this word was in Mrs. Nylander’s class last year. It was such a funny word to me that it has always stuck with me. How can you not remember such an amusing sounding word? I pretend to have a German accent when I say it and that always puts some humor in my studies. Humorous strategies are the way I remember things.

To help better remember or understand this German term, I embedded a clip from our favorite search engine…Google! It ties in with what we have also been learning about research so click that play button!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Literary Analysis: The Catcher in the Rye

1.     The Catcher in the Rye starts off in the present day with Holden Caulfield explaining his state of being.  He’s in a psychiatric hospital at the moment, but doesn’t give any information or reasons on how he ended up there.  The rest of the book is Holden narrating the events that led up to the mental hospital scene.  He starts off by telling us the school he was enrolled in and how he hated it there.  To him it was just another prep school that his parents shipped him off to so they wouldn’t have to deal with his troublesome ways.  Holden is a bright boy, but doesn’t have the ambition or desire to excel in his studies.  Due to parent's nonexistent feelings for him, he receives failing marks in almost all of his classes.  Holden knows he is going to be expelled (once again) for this and so he decides to take an earlier winter vacation in New York City.  He takes all his belongings and hits the town.  He jumps from place to place, but depression seems to follow him everywhere he goes.  You can see that he wants to have a good time, he wants to forget, but everything just seems to be gloomy no matter where or what he does.  Various events such as hiring a prostitute, talking with an old classmate he hates, and seeing his younger sister still aren’t enough for Holden to feel like he has any sort of place in this world.  Throughout the entire novel, Holden ask questions about everything that vary from serious issues such as his life and why he exist, to childish curiosity ones such as where the ducks go in the winter.  He eventually falls ill from walking around the below freezing temperature of the city.  This then takes us back to when Holden is talking about his current situation in the mental facility.
2.     The theme Salinger was trying to convey was that isolation/alienation can truly drive a person insane.  Holden was shunned everywhere he went by everyone he met, and while some of it was due to his cynical bluntness, his family, the very people you expect to love and cherish you, weren’t there for him.  Due to this, he built a wall around him where his defense is to hyper-criticize the people around him and no one wants to be around that.  Hence his loneliness and his inability to form relationships with anyone.
3.     The tone of the novel was cynical and pessimistic.  Holden sees life as “the glass half empty” and so his words and action reflect such attitude.
·         Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.
·         Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.
·         Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.
4.       Symbolism – Salinger uses many symbols that represent things to Holden.  The red hunting cap was Holden security blanket whenever he felt uncomfortable; it was the only things in his life that stayed the same.

Foreshadowing – From the start, we know that he was institutionalized in a mental hospital; this leads a hand into what events will play out. 

Syntax – Salinger uses pretty easy, colloquial language.  The text is mostly about Holden’s inner thoughts and his opinions about things.  It’s descriptive without being difficult to understand.

Descriptive paragraphs – The way Salinger explains the events that unfold in front of Holden are done in such a vivid way.   You can actually imagine yourself in the taxi with Holden when he is having a conversation with the cab driver.

Metaphors – The title of the book is a metaphor of Holden’s life.  He explains in one of the last chapters why he feels like he is a catcher in the rye and how this has brought about a sense of purpose to him.

·         Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.
·         This fall I think you're riding for - it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement's designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn't supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn't supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started.
·         Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education.  It's history.  It's poetry.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Allegory of the Cave" Intro. Paragraph

As stated in the title, Plato’s work is an allegory which is a form of an extended metaphor.  The lesson that was being taught is that we must get out of our cave in order to be fully enlightened.  The people who were chained to the wall represent all of humanity and the chains being our ignorance.  The outside of the cave is the goal that everyone must strive for, it represents information and education.  We have the capability of learning whatever we want.  According to Plato, we have already been taught everything there is to know before being put in the cave, it's just a matter of going out and relearning it.

The Big Question

Why do people dream? Or have nightmares? Do things happen in life that affect our dreams?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Active Reading Notes Help

A major concept that I have taken away from this class is to take well concise notes.  I used to never take notes on the things I read because none of my English classes called for them.  But with your expectation of us to have written them, and the test reflecting such expectation, I now take thorough notes.  Not only have I started taking notes, I know how to structure them well now.  Before, it was just a point and then a bullet underneath it stating a detail.  With the little tricks that this class has taught me, I can better find the information I need instead of searching for minutes looking. 

Hamlet VS. Epic Heroes

               The two pieces if literature, Hamlet and Beowulf, were written at different eras.  Each era had its own style of writing that was embedded within it.  Beowulf was written in Old English, a time known for its epic poems and represented much of the Anglo-Saxon literature.  While Hamlet was written in the Elizabethan era; known for its drama and was greatly influenced by Greek and Roman theatre.   The two characters thus were written accordingly.  Even though both are considered heroes in the eyes of their readers, they differentiate from one another tremendously. 

                While both epic protagonist and Hamlet are called heroes, Hamlet differs from them due to main one reason: the author.  William Shakespeare wrote parallel to his time; where over the top theatrics were applauded.  So he wrote to please the audience and we end up with Hamlet’s character being emotional and reflective.  Throughout the play, Hamlet wears his heart on his sleeve, as seen in the first line of his “to be or not to be” soliloquy: “To be, or not to be--that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them…”  Within Hamlet’s soliloquies, we see the character himself point out his own flaws.  While epic heroes don’t realize they have such a grievous fault.  Take epic hero Odysseus as an example, his tragic flaw is pride, and while the reader knows this, Odysseus himself doesn’t make this self revelation.  Hamlet however does point out that he is too indecisive: My fate cries out, and makes each petty artery in this body, as hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.”

                Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in such a way for the audience to get Hamlet and the predicament he was in, but still manage to keep him in a shroud of mystery.  In epic poems, such as Beowulf, we are given much background on the characters, whether it is from the narration or other character’s dialogue.  We were given an immense amount of family lineage in Beowulf, going back a century or two, and that was just in the beginning of the poem.  The characters in the poems were described to us, while in Hamlet, we had to infer from his actions and words what kind of attributes he possessed.  Hamlet’s soliloquies let the reader inside his head for a moment and let the audience take a peek into what the character is actually thinking.  We are not told straight forward what he is feeling, but we can infer and create our own assessment of Hamlet.  To die, to sleep--To sleep perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.”

                While both deemed heroes, and epic hero and Hamlet don’t share a lot in common with one another.  The main reason for the huge gap in consistency is time.  The authors of epic poems wrote their works respective to their time and audience.  Shakespeare did the same with Hamlet.   Hamlet uses the English language to express his feelings and inner thoughts, while epic heroes tended to use their language as a vehicle to give information about a battle scene or a characteristic about someone.  Both Hamlet and epic heroes represent what a hero was for their era.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Notes on Speaker Roy Christopher

·         Ted Newcomb & Roy Christopher, 40 years old
·         "The medium is the message."
·         Technology is a natural part of his life, but it can also be a distraction, so there is a mix of both.
·         Wanted to do bigger projects (i.e. books),simple interviews of a few questions so it would stay interesting.
·         Primarily known for the remix/mash-up culture,
·         "Hip-hop culture is the blueprint of the 21st century culture."
·         Medium Picture: about the ways we change our lives with technology.
·         Technology broke up generations; the past generation began with T.V.s or the internet, unlike us who are completely accustomed.
·         "Nothing will be on the medium that will be more important than the medium itself."
·         "The more you know how thinks work, the closer you are to reaching digital maturity." Although, like knowing how a car works, you don't have t0 know precisely how all technology works.
·         Q: Does technology create challenges or opportunities in younger generations?
·         Both, you could excel in younger generations that older ones can't, but they can teach them.
·         "Trusting the next generation."
·         Older generations need to stop worrying about the youth. We'll grow up just fine.
·         Multitasking has become something usual/normal in our lives, but it still effects the quality of the work.
·         Christopher agrees that multitasking effects the quality of work.
·         Online courses, assignments, and the education related online pages are becoming incorporated into our lives so that to not be a part of the online community would make you left out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Literary Analysis: Lord of the Flies

1.       Lord of the Flies takes place on a mysterious island when the boys’ plane crashes onto it. They were heading towards England for boarding school when a storm turned for the worst and took down their plane. The boys are only in their adolescence stage of their life, so when the only adult they had (the pilot) dies from the crash, the boys are left to their own devices. There were four characters that stood out to me in the book: Ralph, Jack, Piggy and Simon. Each of these characters was a symbol for what power/chaos could do to you. Ralph and Jack fight over who should be the leader of the boys, since they are one of the older boys. They decide to vote for chief and Ralph only loses the votes of Jack’s fellow choirboys. Ralph and Jack have different strategies of “surviving”. Ralph wants to immediately start building a fire signal to get off the island, where as Jack wants to immerse himself in the wild. The group of boys are so young and inexperienced though that many accidents and mistakes occur. “The Beast” (a sighting the younger boys believe the saw) is also a prominent source of troubles for the boys. It causes much controversy and arguments about what to do with it if it even existed. These misfortunes led Jack and Ralph to have a showdown, both declaring themselves a better leader. Due to their differing opinions, Ralph and Piggy go off one way and Jack plus all the other boys make their own tribe. Jack and “his tribe” don’t want to go back home and believe that surviving in the wild is more enjoyable and liberating. They have let go of any rules of civilization and do as their animalistic instincts please. Ralph and Piggy realize this and know that Jack and his boys are going to come after them for vengeance (for not joining his tribe). Jack raids Ralph’s campsite for Piggy’s glass (their only tool for fire) and in the process of trying to get them, kill Piggy. They show no remorse for Piggy’s tragic demise, reinforcing the fact that these boys have let chaos take them over. Ralph knows he’s next and makes a plan to fight them off as long as possible. But during his plan, while running from Jack and his tribe along the shoreline, a sailor finds them. Once the boys get a sight of civilization (the sailor in uniform), they sober up. Jack and his boys stop hollering and feel a bit out of place and ashamed for their barbaric appearance. Ralph breaks down into tears of relief; he knows that he will be rescued now.

2.       The theme Golding was trying to achieve is that without the rules and structure of society, you enter into a world of chaos and anarchy.  The boys turned from innocent, proper English school boys to wild savages due to the absence of civilization.

3.       Golding’s tone was rather somber, but neutral.  Golding never hinted that he agreed more with Ralph on one thing and with Jack on another; he remained an impartial observer. It was also somewhat informative.  Not informative in a way to teach you facts and equations, more like a lecture from a mother to a child.  He was teaching us a lesson from a story. 

“He lost himself in a maze of thoughts that were rendered vague by his lack of words to express them.  Frowning, he tried again. 

        This meeting must not be fun, but business.”

        “But a came down from the world of grown-ups, though at the time there was no child awake to read it.  There was a sudden bright explosion and corkscrew trail across the sky; then darkness again and stars.”

        “Even if he shut his eyes the sow’s head remained like an after-image.  The half-shut eyes were dim with infinite cynicism of adult life.  They assured Simon that everything was a bad business.”

4.       SymbolismLord of the Flies was filled with symbols.  The sow’s head symbolized the devil; the passing of Simon represented the death of innocence and civility in the boys, etc.

Descriptive Paragraphs – Golding also used long, graphic paragraphs for what was going on.  He put the reader in the character’s shoes, so you could visualize what they were doing, what they were feeling, etc.

Allegories – This was obviously the biggest literary device Golding used in his novel.  Every single one of his character represented something: Ralph stood for the good and civilization they all yearned for, Jack represented the evil that resulted from lack of society, Simon signified the innocence and good in people and so on and so forth.

Metaphors - Golding often uses metaphor in this book. In fact, all symbolism is a type of metaphor since they compare two unlike things. Other metaphors in the book was when Golding described the choir boy at the beginning of the book as a dark creature crawling along the sand.

Syntax – Golding write in simple, easy to read sentences.  They are filled with description and action, but they are not difficult to read. 

        “’I ought to be chief,’ said Jack with simple arrogance, ‘because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.”

        “Ralph stirred uneasily. Simon, sitting between the twins and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it. The twins giggled and Simon lowered his face in shame.”

        “It was dark; there was that -- that bloody dance. There was lightning and thunder and rain. We were scared!”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tools That Change the Way We Think

With such a technology forward generation, internet/media/technology use is becoming the immediate response to anything really.  When we don’t know something, we turn to the internet.  When we need to communicate with someone it’s usually through our cell phones or a social media website (i.e. Facebook).  This changes the way I use my resources.  I can find almost about everything through the power of the internet.  There are so many different sources that you can find information from, what you have to watch out for is whether or not it is factual.  In this time and age, the typically person wants to get things done as efficiently as possible.  Why search for hours in a library when you can just search it on Google?  This saves you a trip to the library and the “hassling” task of finding the intended book.  Like many other teenagers in this era, I would find it disruptive to be without technology.  It’s not a necessity, but it definitely is a comfort that I am grateful for.  My parents are always going on about how so much easier things are with the advanced tools we have now a days; I can’t imagine what is going to be considered “up to date” when I have kids.  We live in the age of technology, and while it has changed our society, we must take it in stride.

In Search Of

This idea makes me think about other sources and information that is truly out there when I have searched something. Maybe there is something out there that the search is not bringing up. Am I truly getting all the information about that certain subject?

After learning all the information from the video, I did a much more intensive search on his life. Instead of using just Google, I went to Yahoo!, Ask and other search engines to see if the same websites would pop up. Many of them did, such as Wikipedia, but many others were new for every search engine. It amazes me how I never noticed such things, but I’ve never really tried either.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Notes on Hamlet

I have the No Fear Shakespeare Edition, so reading the modern English text isn’t too difficult.  When I go back and read the Old English script however is a bit more difficult and you have to go back and maybe reread the sentence over five times.  Hamlet is getting a bit more sporadic and bold as the play moves on; first he was sobbing and mourning privately to himself, but now he has killed Polonius and threatening his mother.   I foreshadow that everything is going to go downhill for everyone.  Nothing every good comes from revenge except a whole lot of chaos.

Who Was Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright who was born on April 1564 and died April of 1616.  He is considered the “greatest” writer in the English language and is called England’s national poet.  From what we have counted, he has written 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and numerous other poems.  He is so well known that his poems have been translated into every major living language and performed in nations across the world.  He was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon (he was not very wealthy) and married into a wealthy family with their daughter Anne Hathaway.  He career got its first boost when he joined a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (King’s men).  He wrote most of his works between 1589 and 1613.  They were mainly comedies or histories, but then wrote more tragedies/comedies (known as romances) later in his career.  We really don’t know much about his private life and there have been many speculations.  Shakespeare is known to students as one of the greatest writers in the English history.  I’ve read at least one of his novels in every level of high school.  He has influenced the way people think and has shaped the way authors write.

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

I first got a Facebook when I was in the seventh grade and at the time it wasn’t too popular.  It was really only mean for college student for the time being.  My first impression was that it was just another social media tool.  I already had a Myspace and so Facebook was just another way to communicate.  When I was younger, I probably thought Myspace was more exciting of the two because you got to “decorate” your profile and what not, but if I ever had to do that now, I would immediately shut mine down.  Some benefits are that you get talk to people that you may never see.  I have family back in the Midwest and talking through Facebook helps us connect.  However, if you’re idiotic enough to put up personal and intimate information that’s when things start to get a little sticky.  Not everyone on Facebook is there to be your friend.  The article really did nothing to change my mind about Facebook.  I had one before reading the article and still do.  Everyone was bashing it yesterday and yet they probably still went home and checked out who friend requested them or who commented on their wall.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

(Don't) Be Hamlet

                When life hits a road block many people use the phrase: “I wish I could just die”. While this is used as an exaggeration in most, if not all cases, we don’t understand the actually meaning of this sentence. Many students, including myself, are prone to using such embellished language in order to make it sound more dramatic and interesting. Hamlet on the other hand is feeling true sorrow and pain to the point where suicide is a plausible option. However, I do not believe in Hamlet’s decision to even consider actually killing himself no matter how much grief he is experiencing. While his circumstances may be horrible at the moment, I have known so many others that have gone through more and come out stronger and happier due to the incident(s).

                There is a point in everyone’s life when things get difficult. They obviously vary in their degree of severity, but every human goes through series of obstacles. From every aspect of Hamlet’s life, problem after problem is thrown in his path. From his uncle/step-father allegedly killing his father, his mother marrying said alleged murderer and his love with Ophelia being rejected. To say is life is unpleasant at the moment is an understatement. While I can relate to Hamlet’s feeling of distress, I cannot fathom his reasoning to consider suicide as a way to end the chaos. He could be in a much more perilous state and yet he pities himself past the point of logic. One of my closest friends has battle and beaten brain cancer. She went through the works: radiation, chemotherapy, staying in hospitals for weeks at times and so much more. Not only did she have to deal with being diagnosed with cancer, her parents were going through a nasty divorce, so she did not have the full family support that she needed. Yet here she is today, healthy and happily living a normal life. She was a fighter and never thought of giving up and letting cancer take her life. I asked her once why she never even considered just giving up and living the last months of her life to the fullest and she replied “that would be just too easy”. Maybe my friend has a characteristic that Hamlet does not possess, but the fact still remains that he needs to grow up and realize his life is not worth giving up.

                Hamlet circumstances may be bad yes, but is it really worth his death? Why can’t he be the bigger man and move on with his life? When misfortunes seem to haunt my every move, I like to picture the scenarios where I overcome everything and I look back at all my foes with a grin of satisfaction—an “in your face” sort of deal. Then, with my new found motivation, I set out and “avenge” my enemies in such a manner. Hamlet could simply best his uncle as a king, thus proving Claudius was incapable ruler. He could dedicate his achievements during his kingship to his deceased father. He could also move on from Ophelia and show her what she missed out on. This I know sounds all too easy, but if you stick your mind to it, nothing is impossible. While my perspective is dripping with happy optimism, if you just sit down and think about his problems, are they that grave as to kill one’s self? Suicide is such an extreme measure that if you do consider such a death, life truly must not be getting better. I don’t feel as if Hamlet’s life is in such a state and his dilemma over “to be or not to be” is him being overly dramatic like how most teenagers would be in this era.

                In no way am I trying to undersell Hamlet’s troubles. They are depressing matters that anybody would mourn about. Hamlet’s dilemma of whether or not to kill him though is so extreme; I can hardly understand his logic behind it. Life is hard. Are you going to be a fighter or just give up? The obstacles that are thrown in your way only make stronger if you manage to get by. If Hamlet were to take such a “easy” route, feelings of disappointment and compassion would arise in me. If Hamlet were king of my country, I would want someone who is courageous and strong and lead my battle into victory! Not some kid that can’t get back on his feet.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Literature Analysis: The Joy Luck Club

1. The Joy Luck Club is written by Amy Tan, an American-Chinese woman. Both her parents were born and raised in China, but unlike them, Tan was brought to America by her parents and raised there. She adapted to the American culture while balancing her ancestral traditions. Tan’s personal journey is The Joy Luck Club premise. It contains sixteen interwoven stories of mothers and daughters that went through the same obstacles that Tan had endured: the conflict between American-raised daughters and their Chinese immigrant mothers. The story revolves around many relationships, but the main focal point is Jing-mei and her mother, Suyuan. Suyuan recently passed away, and Jing-mei has taken her mother’s place play mahjong in a weekly gathering her mother had organized in China and brought with her to San Francisco: the Joy Luck Club. Jing-mei is also on a mission to reunite with her long lost half-sisters who are back in China. Suyuan was forced to abandon the twins when fleeing from the invading Japanese during WWII. The first four sections of the books are told through the mothers’ point of view. They recall their own relationship with their mothers with perfect recollection and reveal that they are afraid that their own daughters do not have the same intense relationship that they had with their mothers. The next four sections are from the daughters’ point of view. They also recall upon their childhood memories with their mothers, putting to rest their mothers’ fear that they won’t treasure the mother-daughter bond. The Joy Luck Club represents the difficulties of the struggle to maintain the mother-daughter bond across cultural and generational gaps.

2. There were multiple themes within The Joy Luck Club, but the most significant one to me was cultural transition and ethnic identity. I am also from Chinese descent, which is part of the reason this book appealed to me so much. I too also feel a gap between my heritage; I may be American, but I am also Chinese. But then again, I’m neither, because to Americans I’m not “truly American”, but to the Chinese, I’m not “truly Chinese”. So what am I? This is exactly what the daughters are feeling in the book, they don’t feel truly anything. This is why the Joy Luck Club is such a safe-haven to them. They are all considered an outsider to the rest of the world, but in the club, they are connected to one another through their differences. The daughters are genetically Chinese, but aren’t true Chinese. Their mothers are “true Chinese” and so the gap between the two can put a strain on the relationship.

3. Tan’s tone throughout the book is evocative, memory-filled with happy thoughts and sometimes remorseful ones. Tan’s words are filled with emotions, whether those emotions are bitter or joyful, they bring out your sensitive side.

“It was only later that I discovered there was a serious flas with the American version. There were too many choices, so it was easy to get confused and pick the wrong thing.”

“I raced down the street, dashing between people, not looking back as my mother screamed shirlly ‘Meimei! Meimei!’ I fled down an alley, past dark, curtained shops and merchants washing grime off their windows.

“My breath came out like angry smoke. It was cold…The alley was quiet and I could see the yellow lights shiningg from our flat like two tiger’s eyes in the night.”

4. 1) Tone: Her tone moved you; I couldn’t not help but feel what the character I was reading about was feeling.

2) Diction: She used bold, emotion-charged words that would help convey the character’s feelings.

3) Syntax: Seeing the story from both the mothers’ and daughters’ view explained many of the missing links between the two. While you understood their problems and what they could do to change it, the characters struggled/thrived on.

4) Symbols: Tan used symbols such as the coy fish in the pond that the mother loved and the goldfish in the bowl that the daughter loved. It represented the gap that the two had and the cultural difference they had even though they were mother and daughter.

5) Imagery, specifically metaphors and similes: Like Tan’s tone, her imagery painted in vivid detail the sorrow, happiness or whatever emotion she was trying to portray.

“. . . . I wanted my children to have the best combination: American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I know these two things do not mix? I taught my daughter how American circumstances work. If you are born poor here, it’s no lasting shame. . . . In America, nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you. She learned these things, but I couldn’t teach her about Chinese character . . . How not to show your own thoughts, to put your feelings behind your face so you can take advantage of hidden opportunities. . . . Why Chinese thinking is best.”

A mother is best. A mother knows what is inside you,” she said. . . . “A psyche-atricks will only make you hulihudu, make you see heimongmong.” Back home, I thought about what she said. . . . These were words I had never thought about in English terms. I suppose the closest in meaning would be “confused” and “dark fog.”But really, the words mean much more than that. Maybe they can’t be easily translated because they refer to a sensation that only Chinese people have. . . .”

“I . . . looked in the mirror. . . . I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind. . . . And then I draped the large embroidered red scarf over my face and covered these thoughts up. But underneath the scarf I still knew who I was. I made a promise to myself: I would always remember my parents’ wishes, but I would never forget myself."