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Post 11: Faux Reporters

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 11:03 pm on Thursday, October 21, 2010

After reading both reported essays, I myself came to the conclusion that  Ames and Wallace are both quiet unusual reporters. One thing i noticed they both have in common is the time stamps within their essays. They are both also very descriptive in their writings, which I see as a positive aspect because both wrote these essays based on live interviews they conducted. However, I felt that Wallace incorporated a bit too much details causing his essay to be a tad bit boring when compared to Ames. I felt that even though Ames kept suggesting that he really wasn’t a Goth, he was able to have a better relationship with the Goth Fest than Wallace did with the Illinois State Fair. Even though they both kind of didn’t want to be in the places they were sent, I felt that Ames did a better job than Wallace. Wallace was very descriptive from the very minute he entered the fair. I felt that if he cut down on so much details and so many words, and made his piece shorter it would be much more enjoyable to read. I enjoyed reading Ames’ essay better than Wallace’s because Ames was informative as well as personal while Wallace was leaning more towards informative, although he did incorporate his personal aspect as well. This reminded me of the discussion we had in class about Quinonez and Morales’ essays and how we enjoyed one more than the other due to the same reason: one being informative and one being more personal. I guess I am just the type who does not enjoy reading informative as much as I enjoy reading personal. However, both essays were good in their own ways. In my opinion it is hard formulating such a solid essay based on interviews; and it is a challenge I will be facing for our next essay assignment in class.

Post 10: Memory and reflection revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 7:58 am on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Although both Quinonez and Morales both go back to the neighborhoods in which they grew up in their youth, their essays are focused upon differently. Morales gives a general overview of the neighborhood of Spanish Harlem, and how he perceived for it to be, and how it actually is. Quinonez on the other hand goes in-depth by solely focusing on the botanicas of Spanish Harlem and how they serve as a prominent part in the lives of many who reside in the neighborhood. “The White Baby” was an interesting essay because it was a story Quinonez had heard as a child 25 years ago, and he returns to his old neighborhood just to find out if the story was true and what had really happened. I also found it interesting how the story was revealed to him, the belief in these spirits and how one can be deceived as well. Morales’ essay was more of taking a walk down the neighborhood and indulging its surroundings, its people and attitude. Once Mexicans would get beat up, but now they practically have the same rights as the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. I personally felt that Morales’ essay brought out more of the theme of racism and gentrification, not only because he speaks about it throughout his essay with emphasis on the nationalities, but also because it is what we witness if we take a trip down to Spanish Harlem ourselves. Quinonez doesn’t necessarily emphasize on the fact of racism or gentrification, but it is implied, especially when a Hispanic man was asking for a white baby. He does get his white baby with blue eyes and blonde hair but little does he know that his wife slept with a white man in order to give him that child. I enjoyed reading Quinonez’s essay more than Morales’ because I liked the story he went in search of finding out as well as his writing style. I have also read his book Bodega Dreams, which is also about Spanish Harlem and it’s go abouts.

Post 9: Hell Gate Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 1:41 am on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life After Rikers Island:

I really liked this essay because it shows an in-depth analysis of an ex criminal and what makes it even better is that the essay is formatted in dialogue form which allows the reader to feel like he/she is the actual interviewer and John is directly talking to him/her. The best part of the essay was that despite all the hardships and hurdles of his past, John is determined to pursue a career in marine biology and move on in life. His struggle to thrive for success is what caught my attention. This essay clearly brings out John’s cognitive processes and shows us how even an ex-con, if he tries, can turn himself into a new leaf. This essay, I believe, should be used as a live example to educate other convicts and let them know that if they messed up in life, there is still a chance for change but that need for change has to come out from within.

Let Me Be:

This piece of work really caught my attention because myself being an East Indian i can very clearly relate to the author’s experiences. Even though our parents restrict our thoughts and actions and force us into acting upon their beliefs to protect us from doing wrong, i believe that it captures our thought processes into the jails of our mind. This allows us only to peak out of the window of the jail but prohibits us from stepping out into the world beyond the window. This really hurts the formation of a self identity which in turn keeps us from exploring into the real realms of the society making us mediocre people who only live in a cubicle from 9 to 5 and then go home, eat and then sleep. This type of dictatorship upbringing can most probably hurt our self esteem and just like the author only HOPE that some day life will get better.
The best part of the essay is: “I feel that all parents should have more faith in their children, and they should also have faith in their parenting.” This statement is so true and the only way our parents would understand this is if they try to clean up their clogged mind and open it up. However, that rarely happens because our parents themselves are usually stuck between the morals and cultural values of their original country and the country they currently reside in. They fear that the society will influence their kid’s mind and therefore the kid will forget his/her real values and morals.
The author’s emotions are hidden behind the words of her essay and these emotions jump right out at the readers as they read along. I felt pity for the author and up to some extent that feeling extended to myself as well. Even though i rebelled my way out of my parent’s dictatorship, the memories sometimes do haunt.

Post 8: Addiction Description

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 7:45 am on Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lee and Sanders both write about addiction, one from a personal point of view and another from a point of view of a child. The two essays were about two different addictions, smoking and drinking. In my opinion, Sanders’ essay was more successful because it showed how one person’s addiction can affect so many others. Lee just talks about himself as a smoker, and how he dealt with the public smoking ban. I didn’t think it was such a big deal, and throughout his writing, it didn’t seem like a huge matter to him either. However, I liked his comparison of a cigarette to a lover, because throughout the story he does not mention anything about family, just a few friends. “Poets have compared the cigarette to a lover. They say it fires up the senses and unleashes a forbidden pleaser…” (140). For Lee, smoking was just a part of his routine, his everyday life. He’d been doing it since his junior year of high school, but it only affected him, and the ban affected him (and his fellow smokers), no one else. In Sanders’ essay, his father’s addiction with alcohol not only affected him, but also his wife and children, one of which was Scott Russell Sanders. One of the many powerful lines I still remember from Sanders is, “he never quit drinking but because he quit living” (596). Sanders’ essay has deep description and details, and personally he touched my heart because I was able to relate to almost every aspect of the essay. My father was also an alcoholic and I myself would lie in bed at nights “hating him, loving him, fearing him, knowing I have failed him…” and would sometimes also think that if things were different, perhaps I was different, then he “would not drink himself to death, if only I were perfect” (597). Despite the fact that this essay was longer than Lee’s essay, it took me a much longer time to read it because it was so close to my heart, I read parts over and over again to refresh my not so pleasant memories. Just like Sanders’ realization that he was not the cause behind his father’s illness of being an alcoholic, I also came into that realization with my father but much later. About a year and half ago (Jan 2009) when my father finally quit drinking for good, he explained to us that it was something he had put himself into as a relief of stress, and it just got carried away. When my father came back from the jaws of death in 2000, after surviving two heart attacks, he had promised us he would stop smoking and drinking. He stuck to one, but not the other and resumed drinking about a year later again. To many aspects I was able to relate to Sanders’ piece and felt it was more successful in getting across what he was trying to say. Sanders’ essay also has a gradual change in setting, as he speaks from the past coming to the present, which adds a special aspect to the story. He speaks from a child’s point of view, and then he speaks from a father’s point of view.  He also compares himself to his father. His father was addicted to drinking, and he is addicted to working (which is not as dangerous and deadly as drinking, but not good either). I would have to see Lee had a more difficult time explaining his views because you don’t really see yourself a well as others do. Sanders viewed his father’s actions and wrote about that, but if his father had wrote about his alcohol issue it wouldn’t have appealed to us as much.  The sympathy went more towards Sanders because obviously he is writing this as a child’s point of view and that is always sympathetic. However, what I said about observing someone is more detailed than that someone just writing about himself, so we get more out of Sanders’ than Lee’s.

Post 7: Fitting In

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 11:26 pm on Monday, October 4, 2010

The common theme in these three essays is of the narrator trying to find their identity of who they are and where they belong; how they fit into their surroundings. McBride, a Jewish-American speaks from his point of view of trying to fit into this Jewish environment. The essay begins from the point of view of his mother and how she had to adapt to the American lifestyle. The overlapping of the point of view of mother and son together creates this sense of identity; their identity. However, I found myself get lost in between the two points of view and did not understand if I was supposed to see it from the mother’s point of view, or son’s, or both together as one? I was hoping for a more clarified essay, which would probably give me a better understanding of the situation. Nevertheless, I did get the main point behind the essay. Cofer’s essay gave me a more sense of one fitting into her identity. She tells a story from her childhood, in which the extended family is seen as a positive aspect. How stories were passed on from generation to generation, and one was expected to listen and abide by that story although it has no connection to them whatsoever. I really liked her style of writing and how while her grandmother simply braided her hair, a strong story came across for all the women to comprehend. Cooper’s essay was one I liked the most because I felt that his essay was one which truly one coming up discovering his identity, or his Cooper’s case perhaps not. This essay focused on homosexuality at a young age, and I really liked the confusion depicted throughout the essay because in my opinion that is what reality is! I loved Cooper’s use of details throughout his writing, the use of questions which he had no answers to. I felt like it was a journal entry formulated into an essay. All three of the authors had the issue of not “fitting  in”, but throughout their essays, I felt the process coming alive, one way or another.


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