Two FREE “storytelling” events tomorrow (W 1/8) in Manhattan!

Happy 2014 everyone!

I hope that the new year is treating you all well so far, and that you are enjoying your break. I know our course is over, but I just want to let you know about two wonderful (free!) events happening tomorrow evening, both of which are related to the themes of our course (conflation of fiction/fact, narrative truth, storytelling). The first event below even features Gish Jen (who wrote the short story, “Who’s Irish?” that we read in class).

I’m hoping to go to the second event (the film at MoMA), but if I can’t get tickets, I will be at the Ozeki/Jen event. Perhaps I’ll see some of you at one of these events!

The Interdependent Self: A Reading with & Conversation with Ruth Ozeki & Gish Jen

  • Tickets are free to this event (just RSVP via Eventbrite)
  • Wednesday, 1/8, 7pm @Asian American Writers’ Workshop (Manhattan)


Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley), film

  • CUNY students get in free to MoMA (did you know this? you should take advantage of this amazing amazing museum!). I believe this applies to the films as well, but you can call to doublecheck if you’re interested in going.
  • Advance tickets are sold out, but MoMA will release rush tickets tomorrow (W 1/8) at 9:30am, either person at the museum or online (at the link above)
  • Wednesday, 1/8, 6:30pm @MoMA (Manhattan)
  • Click here to read the New York Times review to learn more about the film

Reading Response to “Two Kinds”

I found Amy Tan’s short story, “Two Kinds”, to be an emotional and touching story. The protagonist is a young girl named Ni Kan. She receives a lot of pressure from her mother to be a prodigy. Ni Kan feels like she always disappoints her mother and will never be able to live up to her expectations. In the beginning of the story Ni Kan seems to have very low self esteem in the beginning of the story. Until one day after a fight with her mother she stares at her own reflection an promises herself that she wouldn’t let her mother change her into someone she’s not. I was surprised to read that a girl at such a young age would come to this realization and have the courage to stand up to er mother. I wonder why the mother was always trying to change Ni Kan into one of those prodigy children they saw on TV. It seems like she idolized these children. I also think that it had something to do with her own self esteem. If her child was a prodigy, she would had been the mother of a prodigy, quite an accomplishment in itself. Ni Kan’s mother always seemed to belittle other talented children. She never gave Ni Kan any encouraging words. I’m sure the fact that Ni Kan’s mother lost her family in China had something to do with her treatment towards Ni Kan. It was very sad to read that Ni Kan and her mother had a dysfunctional relationship. They always fought with each other. However, it was evident that Ni Kan’s mother loved Ni Kan and just simply wanted her to be the best she could be. Unfortunately Ni Kan’s mother

NOTE: I previously had the responses to “Who’s Irish?” and “Two Kinds” in one post. I just separated the two responses in two separate posts.

Wrapping up the Semester

Can you believe it?? This coming week is the final week of class! Below is everything you need to know about what needs to happen between now and the last day of the semester.

Last Minute Office Hours
In addition to my regular office hours on Tuesday (12-2pm), I will be on campus tomorrow, M 12/16, in the afternoon, and have some availability to meet to discuss Essay #3 (or Lying more generally). Please e-mail me if you would like to schedule a conference with me for Monday or Tuesday.

Final Exam
As discussed in class, your final exam will take place in-class on Tuesday, 12/17. The final exam is on Lying, and will include short responses and an essay (you will have a choice of questions/prompts). I strongly encourage you to review your notes from our in-class discussions of the text, read through all students’ blog posts on the different sections, and review the discussion prompts I distributed/we discussed on Part 3 and Part 4 + Afterword.

The final exam is worth 10% of your overall course grade.

Please remember to arrive to class on time on Th 12/17, as we will begin the exam promptly at the start of class and will end exactly at the end of class. If you arrive late, you will not be given extra time to complete the exam.

Essay #3
The final draft of Essay #3 on Lying is due no later than Wednesday, 12/18 at 1pm. You must submit your essay (complete with Cover Letter) to Dropbox and drop off a hard copy to my mailbox (in the English Department main office, N512, which is open M-F, 9am-1pm & 2-5pm) no later than 1pm on Wednesday. If your essays are not submitted both ways by the due date/time, you will receive no credit for the assignment.

*A number of you still need to e-mail your thesis/paragraph + outline for Essay #3 to me. If you are one of these people, please do so ASAP.

Course Reflections
Your Individual Final Course Reflection is due in class on Th 12/19 (this is a mandatory–not optional–assignment). Please visit the Final Course Reflection page on our site for more details on this assignment.

Final Class
We will hold class on Thursday, 12/19, and we’ll use this time to finish our discussion of Lying. We will also have a little end-of-the-semester/holiday party, so please feel free to bring in goodies (food, drink, etc.) to share with your classmates.

Final Course Grades

The deadline for professors to submit final course grades for the Fall 2013 semester is 12/26. Please wait to view your course grade online through CUNYfirst (I will not be giving out final course grades via e-mail). Once you see your final grade posted online, you should feel free to e-mail me for a breakdown of your grades (including what grades you received on these final assignments).

Final grades are non-negotiable, though I am always more than happy to discuss them/your work with you at any point. If you would like to discuss any of your grades/receive additional feedback on the final assignments/exams, you should e-mail me to schedule an appointment to discuss your work when we return to campus at the end of January (2014).

Thank you, & stay in touch!
Finally, it was a pleasure to work with you all this semester. I wish you the best of luck wrapping up the semester and on your final exams, and in your future endeavors at City Tech and beyond. You all worked incredibly hard this semester, and I really appreciate your consistent effort and good cheer day in and day out! I hope you enjoyed yourselves and learned a lot about reading fiction, critical thinking, and writing. Have a wonderful summer break, & don’t hesitate to be in touch in future semesters to discuss your work in this course/beyond, and/or to just say hi  🙂

Lying part four

When reading I was surprised when she said “but there is no Dr. Neu.”(pg.175). Right there we can see her intelligence in confusing the readers. I have to say she did a good job making up the story. But finally she confesses her lies as we see her change as she finds peace in an AA group. She confesses that she is not an alcoholic but no-one believes her leaving the truth untold. The story ends with a surprise and with her recognitions.

Overall the story itself made Lauren seem so innocent but we finally see the truth about her. Now we understand why she lied all this time, because she never had the attention from her parents. She saw that lying and making up story’s about her sickness made everyone have attention on to her.

Lying Part Four

When reading this last section of the book I can see all the lies Lauren is capable of and has done throughout the book. When reading “but there is no Dr. Neu.”(pg.175) I was surprised that she lied about him throughout the book and made it sound so real. If Hayward Krieger, the professor of Philosophy, who supposedly had written the introduction of this book doesn’t exist and now we find out Dr. Neu doesnt exist either, I wondered if anyone else in this book that was mention doesn’t exist. Lauren’s childhood was the cause of her being the way she is because she never got the attention that she needed especially from her mother which is someone she really cares about. Her mother was practically never there when she needed her and missed out certain important events because she was always drunk. Lauren feels sad and lonely and just wants all the attention she never got when she was young so she feels the need to lie and does a good job at it.

Joining the AA group did well for Lauren because she starts to face reality and all the things she had done wrong. “my disease got worst. I started, you know, doing it at home, in school, all the time, just stumbling around and making a real fool of myself. When I think back on my behavior now, I am humiliated. Just humiliated.”(205) Lauren confessing to the AA group about her disease and how it got out of hand and now she realizes how she was making a fool of herself and how she is humiliated of everything she’s been through with the disease she says she has. “Well, I’m not surprised. I always knew you didn’t really have epilepsy. I always knew these seizures were just a thing you had to grow out of” (189) Lauren’s mom was very sure that Lauren didn’t really have epilepsy and that all Lauren had to do was grow up and see for herself that it was all in her head and not something that was really true. This goes back in the part when Lauren said she couldn’t see and her mom was like ofcourse you can see proving to Lauren that it was all in her head and she can actually see. Lauren’s mother and her childhood are an important key of what Lauren goes through in this memoir. She just seeks for attention and wants it always on her and since she can never get it, it becomes a habit of her lying which makes everything that she says questionable and whether if it’s true or just another lie.

Lying part 4

The book is finally over and it was one I really enjoyed; the last part being my favorite. i I found it the most real and honest. Lauren finally (possibly) tells the truth..for the most part. She finally finds peace in the strangest place, an AA group. Not something that totally surprised me. The drunk-a-louge I really enjoyed. It was the only time I ever felt like I was reading something real. Even though she wouldn’t say the word epilepsy it was still so raw. I felt like she was really recovering by finally being honest. Both at the AA meeting and retreat even though they didnt listen to her.

I found it very interesting that she included the part about the psychiatrist when it could completely destroy her credibility. Not that the whole memoir was true, but it could have gone either way.. the psychiatrist does nothing for her metaphor but disband it.


Lying Part 4

“I said my name was Juliette Epstein, and that I had interviewed this student by the name of Lauren Slater”(171). This is the first time when the narrator openly accepts the fact that she made up a fictional character to fill the void. She tries too hard to accept the fact that “epilepsy” was behind most of her actions. On the next page Lauren says she is two separate people which can be the symbol of her saying that the outside version of her is telling all the lies and delusions while the inside tries hard to escape her inter wall through aruas.

Lauren was only lying to herself the whole time making it seem like she was having external conflicts but in fact the problem was internal. The AA meetings seemed to be the best possible solution to her problems like all the influences in the AA meetings help her overlook that she tried to cover up all of her problems with fake illnesses. Her power created a character whom I thought was real and his name was Dr. Nue, I found it funny when she didn’t like the fact that when didn’t like the other doctors answer she zoned out. “I’m not surprised. I always knew you didn’t really have epilepsy. I always knew these seizures were just a thing you had to grow out of.”(190)So all this time Ann knew that Lauren did not suffer from the illness proves how far she had to go and fix her problems.


Lauren’s exaggerations, lies truths come to a conclusion in the part four of the book which is the recovery.  She invented characters, she changed her name, created situations where she becomes the center of attention ” I decided I should submit an interview like that to the campus news paper. I said my name was Juliette Epstein.” (172) Too many lies that makes the truth seem as a lie too. ” Six weeks later, “The Cherry Tree” came out in print. The interview did not come out in print. Of course, no one called.” (174)  For a moment I believed she send this interview to be campus news paper because it sounded so real, but it was one more lie.

     The narrator tries to warn the readers about the college counselor she went to see about her being unable to adjust to college life. “I handed him Dr. Neu’s paper. He read it, and he look at me. In my opinion, he read it very, very quickly, like maybe thirty seconds, a minute tops, so keep that in mind.”(175)  That phrase “so keep that in mind” tries to preset in the reader’s mind a wrong idea about the psychologist and what ever happen out of that meeting  the reader have to support the narrator’s point of view and reaction. Regardless of her intentions to support her reaction I was so surprise when the psychologist unmask her and confront her. “This, he said, this paper, he said, is not real”(175) if the paper is not real, so the person who wrote it. I feel that the entire book is one big lie.

     The truth can’t be hiding forever, Lauren becomes part of an AA group and again just like the situation with college counselor she was confronted with reality and force to tell the truth and accept that her illness was a big lie and that she always wanted to be the center of attentions. “In a way, this memoir is like my fifth step. I am not an alcoholic and I may not really be an epileptic either.”

Lying Part 4

I was completely shocked when i read these lines ““I’m sorry, but there is no Dr.Neu.” (178) i couldnt believe that Dr.neu might not be true but merely just a made up person , this part just made me shut the book down completely, i have absolutely no trust on lauren anymore on anything that she says. I feel that lauren was trying to come to terms with herself and trying to express her personality but im not really sure what she is trying to show because it makes her unreliable nothing she says is true and her personality its coming off to be very deceitful.

I understand sort of why Lauren decided to join the AA group and lie that she is an alcoholic, yeah i get it that she wants attention but i feel she truly looks for attention that she doesnt need and attention that would never truly make her feel better, i feel lauren wants someone to pity her. It took me a while to notice that i understand what lauren is feeling, she has abandonment issues and thats something i suffer from. Lauren needs constant love and affection she didnt receive from her parents, i went almost 10 years without my parents in my childhood. Lauren doesnt suffer fro m none of the diseases that she claims to have, and the AA group thing cleared almost all of the question i had about her, Lauren has a huge whole in her heart and until she gets this she will continue to get worst and seek ‘love’ in the worst places.

the afterwards was trying to close the novel in a way to help the reader understand the course the novel took. I dont know if the lying really sent out the message that lauren really wanted to get across, the metaphors left me with more question and confusion of what truly did happened to her, what was the true reality for lauren, what really happened. The author succeed in writing a beautiful novel but failed to get laurens message across properly i was left with more questions than answers.

Lying reading response three

” What a metaphor expresses cannot be said directly or apart from it for if it could be, one would have said it directly. Here, metaphor is a strategy of desperation, not decoration” (169). Lauren expresses her epilepsy in both biological and spiritual explanation. Lauren states ” The biological explanation of my epilepsy is that a small scar formed on the left temporal lobe of my brain; the spiritual explanation is that God, in sculpting me from paste” (169). The only physical explanation is the scar from her surgery. But since Lauren’s surgery she never had any outburst of seizures, just feelings of auras. These auras lead Laura into writing, which took up most of her time to express her feelings for only a brief amount of time. Lauren eventually joined an AA group, were she met new people and convinced them her epilepsy was just like AA.Lauren began to accepted and loved, which is what she desperately longed for. Lauren’s desperation for attention drawn her to be apart of the AA group where she was a decoration instead of an actual member with real alcoholic drinking problems. Even though Lauren did participate in the AA group she really could not relate to the struggle the rest of the group had problems with. That is why when asked how long she had been sober for she did not know what to say,then questioning even herself why she was there. Lauren used her epilepsy as an excuse to join the AA group but all she wanted was attention.