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.

“The soul is a pile of moist manure, and only by tilling and shoveling might you turn it into gold.” (28) This is the idea that Laura’s mother embedded into Laura’s brain. Laura’s mother is someone very influential to Laura. It is peculiar to me that they would compare the soul to manure. I have never heard anyone compare it to such a thing. Laura believed in this quote very much so. Despite her disease Laura worked very hard to be a great ice skater.

There was a part of the reading in which I was rather confused. At the bottom of page 28, continuing on page 29 Laura mentions seeing a cardinal. Then she proceeds in personifying the cardinal. I’m not sure what the cardinal was referring to or the significance of the cardinal.

Introducing Lauren

In our first reading we learn about Lauren’s symptoms of epilepsy. We also learn that we must question the narrator. The reliability of the narrator is quite questionable. The title itself is “I exaggerate”. Nonetheless we are introduced with descriptions of what Lauren calls “jasmine world”. I found this to be a very interesting read. Particularly because I am not quite sure what the diesease epilepsy entails. It is crazy to think that a sypmptom of this disease are to experience strange smells. Lauren writes, “I have epilepsy. Or I feel I have epilepsy. Or I wish I had epilepsy, so I could find a way of explaining the dirty, spastic glittering place I had in my mother’s heart.” (5-6) She herself is unsure of whether or not she truly has this disease! If she does not know how are we the readers suppose to know. It appears that she has a poor relationship with her mother. Perhaps she wants to believe she has epilepsy because she believes that then her mother would pay more love and attention to her. This would be common behavior from a child.

I find the introduction of Rita and Humbert’s description of her to be rather interesting. He seemed to have met Rita in a time of his life where he was very lost, confused and alone. He describes Rita as..”the sweetest, simplest, gentlest, dumbest Rita imaginable.” (259) Having said this I don’t believe Humbert had much respect for her but I do believe that he enjoyed her company. He also implies that Rita is such a kind person that she would offer her friendship to any poor soul, “out of sheer chumminess and compassion.” (258) I think Humbert appreciates her genuine companionship but also looks down upon this. He sees her as a na√Įve and “easy” person. Rita is a very intriguing character. We learn that she has a drinking problem, has had three husbands, suggests playing the game Russian Roulette to Humbert, Rita gets arrested, accused of stealing. Rita is a very unstable person. Its crazy to me that two mentally unstable human beings are trying to console one another but sometimes you need a shoulder to lean on, even if it attached to a crazy person!

In the beginning of this section we see Humbert begin to worry about his actions. He feels the need to ensure that Lolita will keep their affair a secret. Humbert is quite manipulating when he tells Lolita that if the police were to find out about them Humbert will go to jail for a maximum of ten years. But even worse, or at least he tries to make it seem that Lolita would suffer worse. Lolita has no one to take care of her and she will become an orphan. He is very manipulative because he is trying to make it seem like he truly cares for Lolita and her well being. He tries to make her think that it is to her benefit that she keeps their secret even when she is angry at Humbert. “By rubbing all this in, I succeeded in terrozing Lo, who despite a certain brash alertness of manner and spurts of wit was not as intelliegent a child as her I.Q. might suggest.” (Page 151) This quote not only shows that Humbert chooses to manipulate Lolita but also shows him think of her as inferior. He does not respect her. Even though he claims that he loves her. I don’t understand what he is planning to do in the long run with Lolita. Does he believe that one day they can be accepted by society? Or is he now beginning to realize that he was just merely infactuated by Lolita’s childish personality and body and now he fears that Lolita may reveal their dirty secret. It seems to me that now that Humbert has what he so long desired and strategized to obtain he is now beginning to become turned off by Lolita. The things he once found endearing is not so endearing anymore. This truly is an example of the saying, be careful what you wish for!

Reading Response 5: The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas

I found this short story to be very peculiar. I don’t understand the description of the people of the town Omelas. It seems to me that the author is an outsider. The author isnot from the town of Omelas but admires their way of life. I don’t understand the last two lines on page 1, ”¬†They were not simple folk, you see, though they were happy. But we do not say the words of cheer much any more. All smiles have become archaic.”. The author is implying that¬†“simple” minded people are happy people? On the top half of page 2 the¬†author writes “The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.” Who is the author referring to when he says “we”? And why do they associate happiness with stupidity?

On the¬†top half of page 3 the author¬†describes something¬†incredibly puzzling to me, “…I fear that Omelas so far strikes some of you as goody-goody. Smiles, bells, parades, horses, bleh. If so, please add an orgy. If an orgy would help, don’t hesitate. Let us not, however, have temples from which issue beautiful nude priests and priestesses already half in ecstasy and ready to copulate with any man or woman, lover or stranger, who desires union with the deep godhead of the blood, although that was my first idea.” I am completely lost as to what the¬†narrator is trying to express about the people of Omelas.

There is a very cruel and unusual twist at the end of this story. We¬†discover that the people of Omelas¬†keep a young¬†child captured in¬†an¬†extremely small room. This¬†child is treated inhumanely.¬†At the bottom half of page 5 the narrator writes, “They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.”

The narrator continually refers to the child as an it. I am extremely confused as to why the people of Omelas feel they must torture this child in order for their town to be happy. This entire short story spins my head in circles! I cannot wait to have a class discussion and further interpret this story. Hopefully someone will be able to shed some light to the purpose of this story.

 

Reading Response to “Who’s Irish?”

I found Gish Jen’s short story, “Who’s Irish” to be a very entertaining story. I found the protagonist to be a very strong hard worker yet a sarcastic humorous woman. She describes herself as “fierce”. Together with her husband she owned a restaurant. She stated that everyone feared her even the gang members, who would come asking for protection money, hid behind the menu when they saw her. I quickly noted that the story is told in the protagonist point of view and isn’t written in proper English. I’m not entirely sure why the author wrote it this way. Perhaps it is to help the reader better understand the protagonist’s character, an attempt to get in us in her mind.

The protagonist remains unnamed throughout the story. She has a daughter named Natalie. Natalie is a successful career woman, also described as “fierce”. Yet she differs greatly from her mother. I find this intriguing. Perhaps its because she has assimilated in America’s culture set of mind. Natalie has a husband John that appears to be lazy and can’t keep a job. Natalie is the head of the household while John spends his time being depressed and working out in the gym. John seems to be very different in comparison to Natalie’s father. I wonder why Natalie puts up with a “man” like this.

One of the most intriguing things I noted from this story is that the protagonist states that in China the words creative and supportive are not talked about in China! The¬†protagonist states “In China, we talk about whether we have difficulty or no difficulty. We talk about whether life is bitter or not bitter. In America, all day long, people talk about creative.” Another thing I wonder is how did Sophie come out so brown?

 

 

 

An introduction to little old me :D

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I’m a momma’s girl! ^___^

 

Hello everyone!! My name is Betsy Torrau. I am a very family orientated person. I am blessed with a beautiful loving family and close friends. I am the oldest of four. I have a younger sister, and two younger brothers. My sister is a Marine and is currently stationed in San Diego, California. As much as she drove me crazy I am now missing a very important part of me ūüôĀ but as much as I want her to come back I support her 100%!

This is my fourth year in City Tech. If all goes as planned I will be graduating with a B-tech degree in Hospitality Management this Spring. I have been working in the industry since I was 15 years old. However, all of my experience lies in a restaurant environment. I am interested in exploring the hotel and resorts environment. I would love to work in a boutique hotel as well as in a resort. I love trying new things and exploring my options. Honestly my ultimate goal in life is to obtain a career that I genuinely enjoy, whether it be in this field or not!

I had a pretty exciting summer, I turned 21 this summer! I went to Atlantic City to celebrate! The celebration also continued once I returned to New York. I went upstate twice this summer. The first time I went to a friend’s lake house and stayed for 5 days. The second time I went with my family. We hiked up Hunter Mountain! It felt amazing! This summer I also went to the Jay Z and Justin Timberlake concert! I also began a new job as a server with Entertainment Cruises.

My favorite genre of literature is suspense, drama and mystery. I used to read pretty often when I was younger and even enjoyed writing short stories. Quite honestly I’m not sure why I don’t anymore. I feel like I don’t have the time anymore! I find myself beginning a million different books and never finishing one! That’s a very bad habit of mine! Although I still read online news articles, I am an FML reader and enjoy reading magazines.

I would say one of my strengths in reading is that I will always look up foreign vocabulary words and make sure I comprehend the content before continuing to read. A strength in my writing is that I try my best to avoid repetition. A weakness in my writing is finding the perfect way to begin and to end! Once I am able to write a clever introduction the rest usually flows with ease! Until of course its time for me to think of a clever ending!

I believe that works of literature is an art form. Through literature we are able to transport ourselves to another realm, to explore the mind of another, and gain knowledge of the world that surrounds us. I look forward to analyze and discuss the text selected for this course. I love to speak my opinions and hear other’s insights as well. I expect this to be a very fun and interactive class!

Cheers to a great semester! We’re all getting A’s right! ;]