Author Archives: Justin Liang

Project #2

Justin Liang

ENG 2001 – D536

Prof. Rosen

Spring 2018

Project #2

Dear Hathi Trust

Hi Editors, my name is Justin Liang and I’m writing you this letter about a digital book your organization has. This book in particular is called Quicksand and I would like to say that you have done a really good job. The book really shows the struggle of Helga Crane in a period where people of color aren’t treated fairly. I would also like to say that the way you portray Helga not being satisfied in one area is really astonishing. But I do think that if you were to add a digital annotated edition of the novel it would really help readers really understand certain things mentioned in your book.`

Throughout your book it was pretty easy to know what was happening but trying to understand why certain things happened was the troubling issue. For example, in your book readers are confronted with the fact that Helga doesn’t feel comfortable staying in her own community due to her color.  This example can be taken from Chapter 7 Page 89 where Helga arrives in New York and has thoughts of turning back. This thought of turning back is due to the fact that people of color during this time weren’t treated right. I did some research on color and race during a time where people of color were being treated unfairly and found an article written by Sarah Thomson. In this article she talks about her reactions to your book and she says that “as we witness her trying and failing to transcend the issue of race in each community she inhabits”. This article helps readers understand what the issues were if you were a person of color living in a white community.

Another area that I think a digital annotation would help readers is when Helga reaches Harlem. We see that when Helga first comes to New York she wants to turn back due to her skin color. New York back then was mostly a white community, so she felt she wouldn’t fit in. But when she arrives to Harlem she is feels satisfied. Why? I did some research on Harlem and found out that it is a black community in Upper Manhattan. When I learned this, it solved my question to why she felt safer living in Harlem and not anywhere else in New York. Helga must have felt safer since she would be living in a black community and not a white community. I’m sure if you added this annotation to the digital copy of the book it would help readers understand why Helga Crane liked Harlem.

The last place I think a digital annotation would help readers is when Helga leaves Denmark to go back to Harlem. We know that Helga has been moving all over the place because she isn’t satisfied once she stays wherever she is for a while. This part of the story really made it hard to understand Helga. I always wondered why she would move when the things happening to her is good. In Harlem she was with a black community where she could feel safe. She also goes to Denmark and meets her white neighbors who like her. She was even going to be married to Axel! But she moves back to Harlem which confused me even more! So, I did some research to clear things up and help me understand Helga. In a summary I found on the internet it says that the reason she did not marry Axel and left Denmark was because she didn’t want to be away from the colored people forever. Reading this sort of made me understand why she would do that. I can relate to Helga because I wouldn’t imagine myself moving somewhere forever and not returning to where I originated. After reading the summary it helped me understand more of what was going on in Helga’s mind.

As you can see the use of a digital annotation can help readers understand the text more. When I was reading the book without annotations I couldn’t understand certain actions that Helga was doing. I didn’t understand why she wanted to turn back and not stay in New York. I found an article written by Sarah Thomson which helped me understand that colored people weren’t welcomed by white people during that time. When Helga stayed in Harlem it was weird because she was still in New York. I found some info on Wikipedia which helped me see that since Harlem was a black community it helped Helga feel safe. Finally, Helga leaving Denmark and not marrying Axel made me think why! I found a summary online and then found out that she wanted to be with her own people and not stay away from them. After finding these annotations it helped me understand your story and I hope that you will include a digital annotation edition of your novel so that other readers like myself can really understand your wonderful book.


Justin Liang



Research Annotation and Glossary Annotation together

Justin Liang

Professor Rosen

ENG 2001-D536


Research Annotation

“Quicksand.” Edited by Rianna Walcott, Project Myopia, Sarah Thomson, 19 July 2017,


Sarah Thomson write her recollection about what Quicksand was about.  In this article Sarah talks about how race and color effects certain things Helga wants to do. Sarah uses the example in the book about when Helga is returning to the US. Sarah continues with saying how Helga’s “facile surrender to the irresistible ties of race seems almost inevitable, as we witness her trying and failing to transcend the issue of race in each community she inhabits” Using the example with Helga arriving to New York and wanting to turn back Sarah’s explanation helped me understand this.


“Harlem.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 May 2018,


I searched up the history of Harlem to find out why Helga Crane liked living in Harlem. I learned that Harlem is a community for people of color. This new information made me realize that when Helga first arrived in New York she wanted to go back due to the fact that there were mostly white people living there. She thought that she wasn’t going to be treated properly due to the fact of her skin color. So, stumbling to Harlem she saw that the community was mostly black and felt safer in a way.


“Quicksand – Introduction” eNotes Publishing Ed. Scott Locklear.,

Inc. 7 May, 2018

I searched up summaries asking for why Helga didn’t want to stay in Denmark and marry Axel and stumbled upon this summary. In the summary it explains why Helga decided to go back to Harlem. The reasoning was because Helga says that she can’t imagine herself living forever away from colored people.  Reading this helped me see what Helga’s thought process for doing this.


Justin Liang

Professor Rosen

ENG 2001-D536


Glossary Annotation

Nasturtiums– A South American trailing plant with round leaves and bright orange, yellow, or red edible flowers that is widely grown as an ornamental.

I found this word in the first chapter and it was in the second sentence.

“Only a single reading lamp, dimmed by a great black and red shade, made a pool of light on the blue Chinese carpet, on the bright covers of the books which she had taken down from their long shelves, on the white pages of the opened one selected, on the shinning brass bowl crowded with many-colored nasturtiums beside her on the low table, and on the oriental silk which covered the stool at her slim feet”

After looking up the work I realized that the author was describing the setting in Helga’s room. Nasturtiums were the flowers that were next to her on the low table.

Unsparingly – Unmerciful; severe. Generous or unstinting.

I found this word in the first chapter on page 2.

“But that was what she liked after her taxing day’s work, after the hard classes, in which she gave willingly and unsparingly of herself with no apparent return.”

After looking up this work I kinda thought that Helga was going to her classes just to go. She just went but she didn’t receive anything in return






Project #1

Justin Liang

Professor. Jodi Rosen

ENG 2001-D536

Project 1

Part 1

My name is Mrs. Mallard and recently I’ve been having trouble with my heart.

It was a bright and sunny day. But the day changed when I had heard the news about the death of my husband. I was told by my sister Josephine. She was crying and trying to tell me at the same time. Her husbands friend Richard was there too. He was in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with my husband’s name on the list of people “killed”. Richard wanted to make sure that the death was assure and heard the second telegram and came as quick as he could to get to me.

Tears came down my face and I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried in my sister’s arms. But the grief was to much for me and I ran into my room by myself. I didn’t want to have anyone follow me into the room.

I sat on my armchair in front of the open window in my room. I slowly sank into my chair and felt the exhaustion from all the crying.

As I looked out of the window I could see the new spring life. In the streets below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was sinning reached me faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing my window.

I sat with my head thrown back up the cushion of my chair, motionless, and then I began to sob and started to cry again.

I was young with a calm face which gave off a certain strength. But now it was gone and all that was left was a dull stare looking up at the patches of the blue sky. I wasn’t looking up at a reflection, but I was in a suspension of intelligent thought.

Somewhere deep inside me I knew something was coming and I waited for it, fearfully. What was it? I didn’t know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But I felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching towards me through the sounds, the scents, and the color that filled the air.

My bosom rose and fell tumultuously. I was beginning to recognize the thing that was coming to possess me, and I was striving to beat to back with my will—as powerless as my two white slender hands would have been. As I abandoned myself a little whispered word escaped my slightly parted lips. I said it over and over under my breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror had followed in my eyes. It stayed keen and bright. My pulse began to beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of my body.

I did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled me to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. I knew that I would weep again when I saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upper me, fixed and gray and dead. But I saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to me absolutely. And I opened and spread my arms out to them in welcome.

There would be no one to live for during these coming years; I would live for myself. There would be no powerful will bending me in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as I looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet I had loved him—sometimes. Often I had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which I suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of my being.

“Free! Body and soul free!” I whispered.

I hear Josephine outside the door telling me to open the door. She was begging that I open the door and that I was making myself ill. She wanted to know what I was doing. Over and over she asked me to open the door.

“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; I was drinking in the very elixir of life through that open window.

My fancy was running riot along those days ahead of me. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be my own. I breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday I had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

I arose at length and opened the door to my sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. I clasped my sister’s waist, and together we descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for us at the bottom.

Someone was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was my husband who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He told me that he had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards quick motion to screen him from the view of me.

Then everything went black. My heart aching and then silence.

Part 2

The Story of An Hour is a interesting story because it is written in a third person (omniscient) point of view. The story doesn’t just focus on one person it switches from person to person. So, I wanted to change that a bit and focus on the main character of the story, Mrs. Mallard. I decided to do a first person point of view to show the emotion and thought process that Mrs. Mallard is going through instead of showing other point of views.

The Story of An Hour was originally written in a third person (omniscient) point of view. Using the third person point of view the story shows what is going on with everyone. It shows a different side to what a person is saying. The language of the story is also different. In the story there is a line that says “She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength.” This sentence gives a sense to the reader that this is what people thought of Mrs. Mallard. Also we can see what other characters are doing when the main character is somewhere else. In the story there is a line that says “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door– you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.” This line was said by Mrs. Mallard’s sister Josephine who was worried about her sister. The third person narration shows details about what is going on with everyone and doesn’t focus on one person. Which is why I decided to rewrite the story in a first person narration to show readers what is going on with Mrs. Mallard only.

In my version of The Story of An Hour I decided to go with a first person point of view on Mrs. Mallard. My reasoning for this was because I believed that we didn’t get to see what was really going on in Mrs. Mallard’s mind. The introduction of my version of the story was different. I decided to make the intro as if we were in Mrs. Mallard’s mind. I decided to introduce Mrs. Mallard to the readers with a “My name is…” Using this type of introduction I feel like it allows readers to know that we are in someone’s mind. It helps give them the sense that this story will be in a first person narration. Going further into the story things were mostly similar to the original. That is until we reach the part where Josephine was trying to get her sister out of the room. When I got the part where Josephine was trying to get her sister out of the room I wondered, what was going on with Mrs. Mallard at that time? I decided to keep everything the same except I decided to put in that Mrs. Mallard was getting annoyed with her sister. In my version I wrote “Josephine keeps knocking and with each knock I start to get annoyed.” I did this because earlier in the story Mrs. Mallard didn’t want anyone to bother her and Josephine was persistent with trying to get Mrs. Mallard out of the room. I figured this change would surprise the reader with something they didn’t know. Lastly the ending of the story was slightly different. In the original we see that Mrs. Mallard’s husband wasn’t actually dead and she then dies of her heart disease. I decided to show that Mrs. Mallard’s freedom was taken away from her now that she knew that her husband wasn’t dead. My reasoning for this was because Mrs. Mallard felt free from her husband know he died. She says “ Free! Body and soul free!” in the original. So, as soon as she see that her husband isn’t dead I wanted to show that Mrs. Mallard says in her head that she is no longer free now that her husband is back and then dies of her heart disease. Also in the original it says “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills.” Seeing this I knew that my version would make sense. Mrs. Mallard was happy that she was free but all that was taken away from her and she dies. This version of the story shows readers the more in depth details of what really went on in Mrs. Mallard’s mind.

Both versions of the stories show something. The original shows the thought process of the other characters in the story. The language also helps the reader get a sense of how the characters feel. My version show readers what Mrs. Mallard thinks and what she is going through. I feel like the language I used helped readers know more about Mrs. Mallard. In the end both stories tell what happens to Mrs. Mallard in their own way.



Zest – (noun) –  an enjoyably exciting quality

In Chapter 1 I happened to stumble across the word zest. On page 11 paragraph 2 the word comes up in the beginning of the paragraph.

“Helga Crane had taught in Naxos for almost two years, at first with the keen joy and zest of those immature people who have dreamed dreams of doing good to their fellow men. But gradually this zest was blotted out, giving place to a deep hatred for the trivial hypocrisies and careless cruelties which were, unintentionally perhaps, a part of the Naxos policy of uplift.”

These two sentences tell me that the “immature people” used to be happy. But as time flew by the happiness went away and in place of the happiness hatred came. It seems that once that happiness was gone bad things started happening and the people changed.


What I know and want to know about A Rose for Emily

What do you want to know more about when reading “A Rose for Emily”?

While reading A Rose for Emily I wanted to know why the author started off the story by saying that Miss Emily Grierson died. This way of starting the story off in my point of view is to set up for the rest of the story. It’s like a preview to what will come later. The author tells us that she dies and then starts to tell us about Miss Emily Grierson.

Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor–he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron-remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity.

Also I wanted to know more about what Miss Emily did as a occupation.



Dagger (noun) – a sharp pointed knife for stabbing


From “Yeh-Shen, A Cinderella Story“ by Aai-Ling Louie

While reading the story written by Aai-Ling Louie, Yeh-Shen, A Cinderella Story I happened to glance a part of the story that surprised me. The use of the word Dagger surprised me because I didn’t think this story of Cinderella would have such a word in it.

“Yeh-Shen was given the worse jobs and the only friend she had was a beautiful fish with big golden eyes . Each day the fish came out of the water onto the bank to be fed by Yeh-Shen. Now Yen-Shen had little food for herself but she was willing to share with the fish. Her stepmother hearing about the fish disguised herself as Yen-Shen and enticed the fish from the water. She stabbed it with a dagger, and cooked the fish for dinner. Yeh-Shen was distraught when she learned of the fish’s death.”

This part of the story surprised me because we all know the story about Cinderella how her stepmother and her daughters treated Cinderella poorly because she was beautiful. Then she wants to go to the ball but isn’t allowed so she visits her mothers tree and meets the fairy godmother. But in this story from China it is much different. Louie uses the fish as a replacement of the fairy godmother. The death of the fish made Yeh-Shen sad and what was left of the fish which was the bones was what gave her the dress and golden shoes.