Stand in My Shoes

“Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being’s suffering. Not a career. Not wealth. Not intelligence. Certainly not status. We have to feel for one another if we’re going to survive with dignity.” – Audrey Hepburn

 

In the book, “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi, a girl with short dark black hair with a black veil around head, named Marji is not an ordinary girl. As a six years old girl, her dream was to be a Prophet. Her teachers and friends thought she was crazy because she wanted to be a Prophet. She lied to her parents about what she wanted to be when she grew up. Marji had a holy book and only her grandmother knew about it. “Every night I had a big discussion with God.” (Satrapi 8) Unlike any other girl, she talks to God every night. All she ever wanted was: “I wanted to be justice, love and the wrath of God all in one.” (9)

 

Because of where Marji lives and her beliefs, she is forced to wear a veil. In the beginning of the book, she doesn’t want to wear the veil. “We didn’t really like to wear the veil, especially since we didn’t understand why we had to.” (3) On page 6, there is a picture of Marji wearing a veil on the right side and doesn’t wear a veil on the left side. On the left, she has dark charcoal hair that goes up to her neck. On the right, you can only see the black veil covering her body except her face. The picture also represents how she is different and has two sides to herself, modern and religious.

 

Although Marji is different than most girls in her school, she is compassionate and loving. From reading the book, you can tell that she is very empathetic. When her mother told her that her grandpa was put in a cell filled with water for hours, she would stay in the bathtub for a long time to know what it was like for her grandpa. Not all children around the world would do what Marji did. Spend their time to know what it feels like to live someone’s experience. Not only is Marji empathetic, she is also straightforward. When Marji overheard her mother talking on the phone, she heard the name Laly, her friend. She went to her Laly and asked her:

“Where’s your father?”

“On a trip.”

“Don’t you know that when they keep saying someone is on a trip it really means he is dead.” …. “At least that was the case with my grandpa.”… “The truth is sometimes hard to accept.” (48) Marji wanted to tell Laly the truth because she thought that Laly should know. She didn’t say it in a sympathy or cheerful way, she just wanted Laly to know what happen to her father.

 

Marji loves her family and thinks of them as her hero. “There are lots of heroes in my family. My Grandpa was in prison, my Uncle Anoosh too: for nine years! He was even in the U.S.S.R. my great-uncle Fereydoon proclaimed a democratic state and he was…” When Marji had to go to Austria because Iran wasn’t safe, she was sad and didn’t want to leave without her parents. She took down her favorite posters and gave them all to her friends. She realized that her friends loved her and how important they were to her. Because of who Marji is: empathetic, straightforward, loving, and caring, it made her special and different from everyone else.

 

I may not be like Marji, but we both have some similar experience. Marji is empathetic because she tries to understand someone’s past by doing it to herself. The story about her grandpa locked up in a cell for hours filled with water made her miserable and shocked. “That night I stayed a very long time in the bath. I wanted to know what it felt like to be in a cell filled with water.” … “My hands were wrinkled when I came out, like grandpa’s.” (25) My story is different because it took me a while to understand, but in the end, I knew what it felt like.

 

When I was in 6th grade I was in training orchestra. I played the violin and wasn’t the best at it. One of my best friends was also in training orchestra and played the violin, however, she was a lot better. One day, our teacher said we would have a test that will determine whether or not we stay in training orchestra or go to a higher level, intermediate orchestra. I wasn’t worried and didn’t care about going to intermediate orchestra. I didn’t practice and didn’t tell my parents we would have a test. Yet, my friend was the opposite. Her parents knew about the test and she would practice. On the day of the test, we would go into a room and play to the teacher. When the test was over she told me that she didn’t get into Intermediate orchestra and I didn’t as well. We were both happy that we would still be together, but then she sat on a chair and started crying. I was confused and didn’t understand. I asked her why she was crying. She told me that her parents wouldn’t be mad at her if she didn’t get into the intermediate orchestra, and she wasn’t sure why she was crying. I asked her if she wanted to go eat lunch, but she didn’t want to because she was afraid that our other friend might tease her for crying. So I stayed in the room with her. I went to the cafeteria to buy some food for her. I bought a chocolate croissant and split it in half with her. After lunch was over we went back upstairs. I didn’t know how she felt at that time, until this year. When I was trying out for swimming in the beginning of the year, I wanted to get into silver. My goal was to swim under 2:40 for 200 freestyle and 1:20 for 100 medley. When it was the day of the tryout, I didn’t get in silver. I got in bronze. My parents weren’t mad at me, but I cried. Tears came out of my eyes when I saw my time. I asked myself, why am I sad? It was because I was disappointed in myself and I didn’t reach my goal. Then I connected to what happened in 6th grade, when my friend was crying because she didn’t pass the test. Even though our goals were different, I knew how she felt, even if it took me two years to realize what it was like for her on that day.

 

My life is not like Marji, we are from different time period, live in different country, and have a different lifestyle. Nevertheless, we are both teenagers, making mistakes and memories. Most of all we both have empathy. We try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoe, try to understand how they feel. There’s no doubt that I’m nothing like Marji, but that doesn’t mean that we both can’t be empathic towards other people.

 

Never Forget Boxer

boxer

This found poem was created by using the book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell and Adobe Photoshop. I took words and phrases from the book to create the poem. This poem is about the characterization of one of the characters named, Boxer.

 

Boxer is not the main character in the book. He is a horse along with Clover in “Animal Farm”. However, he played a huge part in making the Windmill and the Battle of the Cowshed. Without Boxer, the Windmill wouldn’t have been complete and the farm wouldn’t be as successful in the beginning. In the story, Boxer is being described as a strong and muscular horse. He would arrange one of the cockerels to wake him up half an hour earlier than the other animals. He would also volunteer labour before the normal work began. Boxer was very determined, hard worker, and very loyal. Not only did Boxer help build the Windmill and volunteer labour, he was a brave fighter in the Battle of the Cowshed. Boxer isn’t very smart, but instead of thinking about himself, he worries about the farm. Because of Boxer’s attitude and his work, many of the animals admire him. His personal motto is: “I will work harder!” As you can see, the poem above talks about his physical appearance and his motto. You can see his characterization and his personality through this poem.

 

Picture citation:

“Boxer from Animal Farm, George Orwell.” Sandra Lynn Gray Art. N.p., 07 Oct. 2007. Web. 02 Feb. 2016.

Curiosity

“ We keep moving forward, opening doors, and doing things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths” – Walt Disney Waverly Jong, the main character in “ Rules of the Game” is a curious and intelligent girl. She is best at playing chess and it all happened when she was 7 years old. Waverly and I may be diverse, however we have similarities.

 

Waverly is a unique girl, but before she was interested in chess she was like any other girl: ‘ “I shouted, “Guts and duck’s feet and octopus gizzards!” Then I ran off with my friends, shrieking with laughter as we scampered across the alley” (Tan 2) ’. The quote shows us that Waverly was filled with excitement. Waverly has two brothers and is the only daughter in the family. Her family lives in San Francisco, Chinatown, a completely different environment from China. Compared to me, I am living miles and miles away in Beijing. But we are both Chinese, our appearances look alike, “thick black hair” (2), we have siblings, and we are both called “Mei Mei.” During the Christmas party, Waverly wasn’t like any other child. “Having watched the older children opening their gifts, I already knew that the big gifts were not necessarily the nicest ones.” (3). She observed how all the other kids picked their presents and what was inside. She noticed that the smaller box had better gifts than the bigger ones. This indicates that Waverly thinks outside of the box and doesn’t think like the other kids.

 

‘ “Ma, what is Chinese torture?” ’(2) Waverly is always asking questions because she is curious, even when her family gets furious, she still continues to question her family. Later on in the book, her brother Vincent gets a chessboard for Christmas. She trades lifesavers to play chess with him. While Vincent was explaining the rules Waverly kept asking: ‘ “Why?” I asked as I moved my pawn. “Why can’t they move more steps?” “Because they’re pawns,” he said. “But why do they go crossways to take other men? Why aren’t there any women and children?” ’ (4) Waverly’s curiosity may be hard to handle, but her mother said something that inspired her, ‘ “They say, Don’t know why, you find out yourself. But they knowing all the time. Better you take it, find out why yourself.” ’ (5) To learn and play by the rules, Waverly took her mother’s suggestion and she: ‘ borrowed books from the Chinatown library. I studied each chess piece, trying to absorb the power each contained. ’ (5) Everyday she learn something new, new moves, creating plans, and patience. Mostly importantly she found out that the game of chess are full of secrets that you should never tell.

 

Playing chess is not one of my specialties. Unlike the sophisticated girl, Waverly, I am not as clever as her, but we are both curious. She asks questions and always wonders. All the questions she asks are things that she is curious about. Similarly, my parent’s think that I question argue and talk too much. On the other hand, I disagree. Last year in 7th grade, I was talking to my dad. I asked him if he believed in God and if God made the earth in 7 days. He said he believed in it and I asked why. He didn’t know the reason why so I told him what I thought, “ I think that it is impossible. I believe that there was earth because of the Big Bang.” I spent a few minuets telling him other reasons about my opinion. At the end I asked one last question, “Why do other people believe that God made the earth.” This was when he got annoyed and angry and sent me to my bedroom and to sleep. Even to this day, I always wondered the reason why.

By reading this passage about comparing Waverly and I, you can see the differences and similarities that we have. Waverly is smart, cunning, polite, and obedient girl; who is passionate about playing chess. I, on the other hand is the opposite of Waverly. Yet all these differences, we have similarities. Chinese, thick black hair, siblings, and we are both curious about various topics in this world.