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Post 6: Portaits

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 11:38 pm on Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All three essays have an emphasis on the person’s history and identity; who they are, where they came from etc. It has a sense of family importance, ties and of course loss. Momaday speaks of his people and where they came from. His essay is actually about his grandmother and the loss of her however, I kept losing that throughout his reading because I felt he focused more on the history and the place. The imagery was beautiful but I wanted to know more about his grandmother and his relationship with her; his grief of the loss. Lee writes a piece I enjoyed reading more, about his mother’s struggle with cancer and how it brought his family together to cherish her last moments. I was able to relate to this reading more because I lost my grandmother to cancer and I remember how during her last few days, it really brought my family together as well. Tan also writes about her mother and I also enjoyed reading her essay because I was able to relate to it. Her dealing with her mother’s “fractured English” was such an interesting topic, especially when we just have discussed immigration and in New York we always deal with such people. I really liked in the ending of her essay when her mom read her book and said “So easy to read”, it immediately put a smile upon my face.

Post 5: Thoughts on Immigration

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 8:32 pm on Sunday, September 26, 2010

Iyer, Danticat and Kim all have very different views on immigration. Each one of them had different experiences, Danticat and Kim in my opinion experienced what a true immigrant felt like, when compared to Iyer. After reading Pico Iyer’s “Nowhere Man”, I wouldn’t necessarily call him an immigrant. He had an interesting life, in which he took a plane to school. However, as cool as it might sound to us, I can only imagine how difficult it was for Iyer to have to settle down every time in a different environment, whether it be England, California or the many places he went for vacation. His position in this situation wouldn’t necessarily be of an immigrant because he wasn’t moving from one country to another in search of a better life like Danticat and Kim. He was born in England to Indian parents, and grew up in California where he attended school. He lived a life of freedom and mobility and like I mentioned it isn’t considered as being an immigrant but you sure feel like one at times when you don’t fit in. His personal experiences make some very strong points:

“We are the transit loungers, forever heading to the departure gate. We buy our interests duty-free, we eat our food on plastic plates, we watch the world through borrowed headphones. We pass through countries as through revolving doors, resident aliens of the world, impermanent residents of nowhere. Nothing is strange to us, and nowehere is foreign. We are visitors even in our own homes.” (Iyer 353)

He also mentions: “If all the world is alien to us, all the world is home” and I felt like that line made his point. However, one line that he has left me thinking about as of yet is: “But there are some of us… who go down to the baggage carousel and watch our lives circling, circling, circling, waiting to be claimed” which is what his essay implies, he is waiting to be claimed somewhere, like all immigrants wait.

Danticat’s essay implies her thoughts on immigration, as she waited to immigrate to New York, her city on the hill; the imaginary haven of her life. The points that she makes throughout her essay are from an immigrant’s point of view. Her personal experiences give us the reader a true understanding of what the life of an immigrant’s is like. I myself never experienced this, but both my parents were immigrants here and I know that my dad worked day and night to save up enough money to bring my mom here, buy a house, raise kids and support his family back home. My dad is also a yellow cab driver so while reading Danticat’s essay I could recall faint memories of my dad working really hard, driving long hours each and every day to support the family. I really liked the Creole expression Danticat included in her essay: “washing one’s hands only to dry them in dirt”.

Kim’s essay was quite humorous to some extents, and the fact that she grew up in my neighborhood, Woodside, I was able to imagine all that happened with her.

“The first English world I learned at the junior high near Queens Boulevard was F.O.B., short for “fresh off the boat.” It was a mystery why some kids called me that when I’d actually flown Korean Air to Kennedy Airport.”

That one line brought back memories of my junior high school (probably the same one she attended since it was also near Queens Blvd.) and I could feel her confusion and perhaps anger. It reminded me of the time when my dad went to India and came back with some dresses and my mom had made me wear one to school for picture day. All day, everyone had called me a F.O.B., knowing that I was born and brought up in Queens, New York and never had been on a boat in my life!  I really enjoyed reading Kim’s essay because it was told from the point of view of a young immigrant girl who was living in royalty back in Korea but had to adjust to the normal teenage life here in America. However, I really liked when she stated: “We are 100 percent American on paper but not quite in our soul”. It is something my mom always says and implies to me and my siblings even though we all were born here. The ending of Kim’s essay was really deep and not what I was expecting. I just found it interesting how people can meet people they used to know after many years in situations like this. The positive aspect I got out of this ending what she never let Korea go from her because about 20 years after immigrating, she was volunteering as an interpreter which meant she never let go of her language and most probably her culture either.

I wouldn’t say I disagree with any of the three essays because they are all different in their own ways. I enjoyed reading each and every one of them and was able to relate to them to certain extents.

Post 3: Phenomena of NYC

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 11:42 pm on Sunday, September 5, 2010

I really enjoyed reading this essay the most out of the few I read on I felt like I could relate to the frustration the author was feeling from the beginning of her train ride to the end. Fortunately, my frustration has never been followed by a situation like hers, however, I would feel the same way as she did at that moment.Her narration throughout the essay was backed up with great description and I loved her use of dialogue (in her head). I really liked when she said, “This is New York; it is a not a city of illusions.” It is really true, especially when it comes to these essays about the NYC subway system, and communities. I would have to say it’s mainly her wonderful narration of the situation that engaged me. The fact that she is professionally a freelance writer would contribute to her wonderful narration and writing skills.

I wanted to recommend this essay to the class because it reminded me of Read Richard Price’s “Screech, Memory”. I felt the class would be able to also relate to this essay one way or another. We’ve all had many unusual experiences on the NYC subway system, and it has never been out of the norm because like Whiteley said, “This is New York…”

Parseliti’s essay about the Porno man at first made me think of many instances I have encountered similar characters on the train. I liked his use of personal dialogue throughout his writing because it was not only engaging but also more relatable. I have witnessed worse situations on the MTA, so at first while reading I was having a good laugh. However, I didn’t expect the man to begin getting beat up by the angered man and I could just imagine how Parseliti felt at that moment because unknowingly he did instigate Porno man’s action. I also liked how Parseliti characterized and named the characters on the train; it made the story telling much easier and reading more understandable. In my opinion, Parseliti is not only a good writer but also a good narrator and perhaps that is why I was able to relate to his essay so well.

Lanham’s essay seemed more fictional to me than the other essays we have been reading in class so far. I have heard that everyone has a doppleganger but never knew one could be so close to their look alike. I liked his writing style because it wasn’t formal, but more like formulated personal thoughts, however it seemed quite fictional. I won’t complain because Lanham’s writing style did keep me engaged and interested, however I feel as if he ended the essay without finishing what he had started discussing. This doppleganger who had him so worked up and frustrated suddenly didn’t matter anymore once he had his empty train compartment. i found it all strange and fictional.

Gornick’s essay was a very realistic reflection with just the right description on something we have all encoutered at least once. It was short, but made its point and was also very touching. It brought a smile to my face and her writing style was so beautiful I could almost picture myself on that train witnessing this father and son bond. I really liked her quote: “These two are humanizing each other at a very high level.” It shows how we human compliment each other with just a little bit of love and affection.

Post 2: Beller & Hustvedt

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 10:56 pm on Wednesday, September 1, 2010

“Nothing But Net”, Thomas Beller

Beller’s experience on his local basketball court, his memories and his part in saving the court from being destroyed reminded me about the time my neighborhood and community helped save our local library from being shut down.  I found it interesting how from talking about one thing (saving the park) he goes back in time to a whole other memory, and then comes back to wrap up the story he had initially began to tell. It just came to show his connection with this park and how much it meant to him. I think a person who is not from NYC could still read and understand where Beller is coming from and engage with the reading. It’s a cultural thing which I believe exists in all neighborhoods all over the world. If there is something close to people’s hearts and it is in the process of being taken away, those people will do anything they can to prevent that. His first person point of view did attract and grab my attention but I really did not like his writing style. I felt as if he was all over the place, as if jotting down while thinking. I did not feel like he was reflecting upon his experience as well as he probably could have. However, I knew what he was getting at and I did get the point he made in the end and was able to understand his emotions (to an extent) as well as be able to relate to the situation as well.

“Look Away”, Siri Hustvedt

“Pretend it isn’t happening.” This phrase literally made me laugh out loud because ALL US NEW YORKERS DO IT! See someone you know walking towards you on campus but you’re in a rush, and if you stop to say ‘hi’ a conversation might occur, so let’s just pretend we didn’t see the person and walk away poking away at our phone! I`m sure everyone has done something of that sort at least once in their life (I know I have). Hustvedt does a great job at depicting life in New York City with all the examples she includes. I was able to relate to all of them from living in NYC all my life and witnessing those and much more. Unlike Beller’s essay, this essay would be more difficult for people who are not from New York City to interpret and get a hold of. Just like Hustvedt was shocked at many instances when she first moved to New York City, people from outside are also startled at first instance. Different cities and countries have their own culture and custom and it’s necessary to adapt to other the culture of other cities when there; which is what Hustvedt did after her move. I enjoyed reading Hustvedts essay more than Beller’s because I felt her first person point of view had much more details and rhetorical remarks. Her reflection was very descriptive and she engaged me in her reading through her writing style. Overall, her essay was  well-written, and her one phrase: “pretend it isn’t happening”, I have to share with my friends!


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