Scar Tattoo

Throughout this unit on personal narrative, I have begun to contemplate on the significance of my past and how it has shaped who I am today. “Scar Tattoo” is about my experience from the surgery that I had received when I was nine. The story strongly focuses on the theme of perseverance, which is a trait that I possess.

Rationale

“Scar Tattoo” is about the internal conflict that I had faced after getting a surgery on my wrist. This story includes many literary techniques to depict conflict and characterization.

Throughout the entire piece, there are words that indicate a change in color to highlight the conflict. At the exposition of the narrative, the repetition of the adjective “white” has a positive connotation that relates to purity, which establishes a calm mood to portray the situation before the conflict had started. Nevertheless, as the story progresses to the rising action, the inclusion of the hazy setting (“ghost-grey smoke”) with anaphora (“no Sun, no light, no nothing) builds tension by creating a somber mood to foreshadow the readers about the conflict. To help the readers feel my internal conflict, I have utilized juxtaposition (“coal-black” and “snow-white”), repetition (“harder”), and a semantic field of words that relate to violence (“battle,” “war gun” and “dragon”). Furthermore, the verb (“slashed”) and the personification (“smiling”) at the end of the story makes the resolution become more relatable and engaging for the readers. Finally, through the alliteration (“shimmering star Sirius”) at the resolution, the ‘s’ sound creates euphony, which allows readers to feel a sense of closure to the story.

Similarly, through the use of visual imagery, I have shown both direct characterization (“navy blue bow” and “pitch-black nail polish) and indirect characterization (“my eyes locked with my mother’s) to portray my annoyance from the conflict as well as to render upon the theme of perseverance. Meanwhile, through the use of dialogue (“‘Ugh!’”) and the verb (“chucked”) that moves the plot forward, it creates a sense of pathos to evoke the feeling of empathy to the readers as the audience can sympathize with my frustration. Moreover, the italics (“Absolutely fantastic”) and the style of utilizing incomplete sentences (“Ew.”) with colloquial language (“deets”) makes the story more engaging for the readers as the tone from this allows the audience to see the contrasting traits of myself.

Scar Tattoo

Let me make a bet with you.

I bet I have one thing that no one else in the world has: my scar. My one-of-a-kind scar. It’s not like those typical scarlet-red ones that disappear or those bumpy kinds that are formed after itching a mosquito bite. My scar is around 4 cm long. Sorta big. But it’s not conspicuous cuz it’s on my right wrist. Its creamy color fits well with my skin. Like an exclamation mark, the blemish goes vertically from my wrist and down with a tiny dot at the end.

My body is quite strange. Okay, that sounded strange. But when I was like nine, my parents took me to the doctors because they had realized that there was an extra bone near my wrist. Super weird right? At that time, my forearm didn’t look like a camel’s back with its lump that shot towards the sky, but my doctor claimed that as I age, it might become like such.

So I was forced to have a surgery to remove the bone. This meant that I couldn’t go to school for around four days. But I LOVED school! School meant that I could trade my vibrant and stretchy silly bands with my classmates and it meant that my friends and I could wear our Justice tie-dyed shirts while we hopscotched around the polluted playground with our Skechers Light-Up shoes. School also meant that every Friday, my friends would come over to my house to watch Hannah Montana. Oh, how I wished that I could be like Hannah, where I wore a wig to replace my chestnut brown hair to a golden blond hairstyle that glimmered wherever and whenever.

Anyways, I’m not going to give you all the deets about my hospital experience cuz honestly, I don’t remember a thing. I mean, I kinda do…But not really. All I remember was that I was captured in a white room. Like a super white room. The room was so milky that it probably would have made snow look like it was colored. Even the mummy-like cast that wrapped my upper limb was in this pallid color. That was it. Just white. Very plain. Kinda boring.

I guess I could have made my time at the hospital a bit more interesting by actually doing something. In fact, I actually offered my help to the doctors. But they just rejected my assistance. Sure, I could have whined or cried or begged or have done something. But eh. Why would anyone intentionally want to endure obstacles? Not me, for sure. Persisting through troubles is just so tiring, ya know? So yeah, I was pretty much captured in a cardboard box. There was no way out.

After four days, I was finally able to escape the prison. However, as China’s notorious smog greeted me with its toxic particles, I immediately wanted to go back. There was no Sun, no light, no nothing. Unbelievable.

The next day, I skipped to school with my ivory backpack that was covered with black hearts. Of course, my chubby face was protected by my pollution mask. Behind the ghost-grey smoke, the scorching honeycomb medallion hid behind the pollutants. Aiya. The fog was so severe that by the time I got to my classroom, my wavy sepia hair that had once smelled like coconut had turned into the scent of chemicals. Ew. Great. Absolutely fantastic.

During class, I used my black butterfly pencil to start writing.

Pap.

The jumbo-shrimp sized stick from my hand twirled to the edge of the table. My inky, brown crescent eyebrows folded in together as my cherry lips were bitten by my pointy teeth.

Suddenly, my friend Zoey shrieked: “Angela, this isn’t art class. What is that?”

“I….tried to draw an exclamation mark…” I squeaked. I began to play with my nails that were covered with my glossy and inky manicure. Meanwhile, my hazel brown eyes pretended to be interested at the dragon rug on the floor.

“Totally. That definitely looks like an exclamation mark.”

I forced my ruby mouth to give her a faint smile. Thanks Zoey, I really appreciate your honesty.

I hate to admit this, but Zoey was right. What was I doing? My writing resembled a tangled yarn that a cat had spit out. I stared at my scar. I touched my scar. I pinched my scar. I’m usually not one of those people that blame others for my problem; nevertheless, in this case, I swear, the scar was the root of this.

As my pencil kept playing this foolish game with me – which by the way, was not fun at all – my blemish unleashed howls of chuckles. I’m not crazy. Okay? I’m not crazy. I know that scars don’t mock people, but believe me, I actually heard the waves of waves of laughter.

Hence, I was determined. I was going to draw a perfect exclamation mark to prove my scar wrong. I have to confess, this sounds foolish. But hey, I was only nine.

As soon as I got home, I continued to practice. Yup, that’s what I did. No shame.

I tried to draw a coal-black straight line down the snow-white paper; however, no matter how slowly I moved my hand, the ebony pencil would run away. Molten lava boiled within me.

“Ugh!” I chucked the jet-black stick onto the floor.

Like the cadence of an electric machine war gun, hasty steps struck to my direction. My mom declared: “Angela, stop. You need to rest your hand.”

“No.”

“Please, honey…” My mom pleaded as she took away my pencil.

My eyes locked with my mother’s. “This scar is not going to stop me. I’m not going to stop. Mom, please let me continue. Please…”

Tick tock. Tick tock. After what seemed like centuries, my mom jutted her lips.

“Fine.”

The battle with my scar had begun. White knuckles formed around the dark pencil. Heat blazed out of my head, while a sea of frustration was about to erupt.

My chubby fingers squeezed harder; my underbite clenched harder; my smooth face squinted harder.

Outside, the murky air became thicker and thicker. Gloomy fumes wrapped around the starless sky, leaving the bare road consist of nothing except the haziness of the apocalypse.

With the faint light from the dusky streetlamps, my window mirrored my room.

Holy.

The once pristine carpet became sprinkled by the specks of pitch-black nail polish that I had managed to peel off. My hair resembled a jungle as the floor had snatched away my navy blue bow that had once held my cocoa-colored hair. I looked like a wolf child. Despite this, there was no stopping me.

One day at school, Zoey squinted her eyes as she looked over my shoulder: “Wow, that exclamation mark looks exactly like your scar.”

Up above, the Sun had finally slashed out from the dreadful clouds. With its flaming lemon light smiling to my face, I looked at the paper and my scar. Zoey was right! I was so focused that I didn’t take a step back to see what I was doing. As the golden rays shined onto me, I felt like the shimmering star Sirius. I had done it! I had finally done it!

Now reader, this may seem silly to you. Like what’s there to be proud of a third grader that had written an exclamation mark? You are completely right. But for me, the experience from enduring the troubles turned out to be way memorable than anything.

I’ve come to realize that during this entire time, the scar did not scoff at me. Instead, its existence had prompted me to persist. The blemish had completely altered the way I now approach to new challenges. It marked the starting point of a new journey; my worst enemy had become my best friend.

I bet I have one gift that no one else in the world has. I’m extremely fortunate because this phenomenal present will forever be tattooed in my life.

 

The Other Side

Rationale:

“The Other Side” explains the internal conflict of the nurse questioning her willingness to seek revenge. The nurse’s reason for revenge is because her daughter, Susan, had died due to the family conflict. This story includes all the elements of fiction; however, it mainly focuses on the setting, characterization, and style.

The use of omniscient third-person narrator allows me to have more freedom when depicting the nurse. The rhetorical questions (“What about Juliet?”) and anaphora (“no idea”) that describe the conflict not only emphasize the nurse’s thoughts, but it also helps the readers understand the dynamic character of the nurse. On the other hand, because red symbolizes evil, I’ve made the nurse’s hair color to be “red” to represent her villainy. These physical features create visual imagery that allows the audience to feel closer to the character.

The exposition is ambiguous about the nurse’s behavior as it’s meant to hook them and build suspense. Also, the dark setting (“ominous clouds”) with the oxymoron (“beautiful revenge”) and visual imagery (“mist covering gleaming stars”) builds tension for the nurse’s wickedness. The setting further creates a somber mood through the contrast in the motif of light and dark (“doves” and ravens”) that depict the theme of love and hate. The juxtapositions of these ideas and wordplay (“horse” and “hoarsely”) produce a perplexing and entertaining effect on the audience.

Additionally, there’s a lexical cluster of words that relate to yellow (“sun” and “daffodil”) because yellow connotes to joy. This helps readers understand why the nurse is undergoing internal conflict. Moreover, the use of chiasmus allows the audience to notice how “sin” and “pleasure” are in reverse, which makes these words be memorable for the readers.

Lastly, the personification of “thunder raged” helps transition and foreshadows the portent of events that the marriage will cause.

The Other Side

 The nurse let out a deep sigh of relief. She stared out at the nebulous mist covering the gleaming stars. Ravens had startled the doves, while somber spiders crept into the dark corners, leaving only traces of their milky webs.

After years and years of the nurse’s unwavering service to the Capulet family, she finally saw her opening-her chance. Having just encountered Romeo, the light to Juliet’s colorless life, the nurse ruminated about the news of Romeo’s proposal to Juliet. She knew that there were only two possible consequences: war or peace.

The nurse smirked at the idea of peace. Peace between the Montagues and the Capulets? This was so silly, so simple, so senseless. The intensity of the enmity between the family feud has made harmony become impossible.

As the howling gale interrupted the deafening silence, small strands pieces of the nurse’s ginger red curls flew into her face. The nurse began to contemplate the Montagues and the Capulets. Shortly, she clenched her corpulent fist and bit her plump lips as her flushed freckled cheeks began to burn with anger. The families had no idea how their own selfish quarrel had affected the nurse’s life. They had no idea what it was like to lose a child and the traumatic torture it brought. They had no idea that Susan, an innocent bystander of this brutal war, was trampled by runaway Capulet carriage during one of the street skirmishes.

The moment that Susan took her last breath was when the nurse’s life had changed forever. Since then, she developed a monomaniacal focus for a beautiful revenge towards the two families and became ravenous for it. After all, vengeance was the reason why she signed up to serve under the Capulets. However, the nurse could never figure out exactly what she could do for retaliation. She just wanted something torturous, something insufferable, something where the two families could endure the despair that she had felt. After waiting for over a decade, the nurse realized that Romeo and Juliet’s marriage could create the harm and deaths that she has been yearning for. This was the least she could do for Susan. All that she had to do was tell Juliet about her marriage.

The nurse smiled at the beauty of the clear darkness and breathed in a sweet scent of triumph knew. As she imagined the marriage and its aftermath, she knew that sometimes pleasure was a sin and sin was a pleasure. However, as the razor-edged wind shot into her large hazel eyes, the nurse shivered. Doubts began to swarm her mind. Was she capable of such cruelty? Would God be able to forgive her? What about Juliet’s safety?

The nurse’s long and dark eyelashes constantly blinked as she stared at the scattered ominous clouds in the misty sky. The memories between the nurse and Juliet inundated the nurse’s mind: braiding the little girl’s short blond hair under the shimmering sun; folding her dresses covered with daffodil patterns; seeing the sweet girl’s cheery lips smiling. Introspection curved the nurse’s lips upwards. Over the years, the nurse realized that Juliet had become the replacement of Susan and was the beacon of her life. Was harming Juliet same as killing Susan? Was being Judas worth it? Should she not tell Juliet? Susan was already dead anyway.

Her own child was dead because of the barbarous brawl. The nurse shook her head. What was she thinking? The image of the lifeless eyes, scarlet blood, and the sea of tears that were created when the nurse last saw Susan came back to her. How could she? How could she betray her little angel? This wouldn’t be fair to Susan. The nurse had to tell Juliet. It was her duty.

At this moment, the thunder started to rage in the Stygian atmosphere. The nurse gazed at the window as a smirk formed on her face once again. Excitement poured onto the nurse as she anticipated the violence, war, and deaths that Romeo and Juliet’s marriage would bring. The salty tears that would form, the creation of the pure color crimson blood from the battles, and most importantly, the extreme agony that would crush the Montagues and the Capulets made the nurse’s grin grow wider and wider.

Finally, after all these years, the nurse could satisfy her longing to create trouble, her yearning for discord, and her craving for a pleasant revenge.

 

Reflexive Post #11

This week, the class played another card game called ‘Scattergories.’ This was another really fun game where students were divided into teams to compete. The goal of the game is to see which team could come up with words that start with a certain letter in a restricted time. One person would roll a die and whichever letter the die rolled to was the letter that everyone had to think about. Additionally, before the game, one person would also draw out a card which had the topics that the words had to match. Everyone was really excited to compete with one and another. It made the students observe, think, and come up with answers in a restricted time. After the game, students worked on their individual tasks, such as preparing for a science test, working on their humanities journal, and so forth.

For the card game, I was in a team with Hoon and Yujin. My team was able to work extremely successfully because regardless of the limited time, we listened to each other’s ideas and collaborated together. Our strategy was to divide the topics into three parts so that we would not feel overwhelmed. Some of the topics included ‘objects that bounce,’ ‘things at a picnic,’ and ‘things that you would find at the white house.’ It was interesting to see what kind of topics the students could think about with a single letter.

Reflexive Post #10

This week, students worked on their elevator pitch, which was about the results they got from their SDG surveys. I was mainly working with Hoon, who was working on how to save water. His research question was ‘how is our world saving water?’ After talking to him, I realized that his survey answers weren’t directed towards this question, so we worked together to create a more concise question; ‘how can the ISB community save water?’ We brainstormed ideas, such as stop selling plastic water bottles, turning the water fountain off, and so forth. At the next class, I helped students with their individual journals that were about various topics, such as analyzing quotes and human cloning. We ended the week by playing a language card game that was called ‘Apples to Apples.’

While students were working on their elevator pitch, I helped them with their hooks by suggesting introduction ideas (anecdote, rhetorical questions, interesting fact, imagery, observation, and so forth). Many students struggled with coming up with their hooks, so I used Socratic Questioning that led them to an idea. Furthermore, the EAL students were also having difficulty on what to write for their body paragraphs. Therefore, I suggested them to write bullet point on the key ideas that they wanted to be presented in their work. This helped their elevator pitch to be concise and tackle the important concepts at the same time. The card game was also very interesting because not only was it fun, but it also helped improve the student’s critical thinking skills and their ability to quickly come up with arguments. Like always, this week was really educational and fun. I’m really excited to come back next week!

Reflexive Post #9

Because of the Labor Holiday, I was only able to see the EAL students one time this week. Since the weather has been absolutely gorgeous for the past few days, Mr. Sostak decided to take the class outside. Therefore, everyone took a book or any class work that they needed to finish outside. It was a very peaceful session because both the students and the teacher was able to be in a serene setting and work.

Because the students were independently reading, I wasn’t able to help them as much. So I just went around and asked students about what they were reading. It was interesting because I could see that some students were able to focus better outside, while others had a hard time concentrating at a different environment. Since I wasn’t able to interact with the students this week due to the holiday, I hope that I’m able to help the students next week!

Reflective Post #8

Like always, this week has been astonishing. The session started out with students independently reading. I was assigned with Jack to read. We read about how our world is becoming destroyed by poor nature. While reading, we talked about how the SDG could be related to the book. Afterwards, students worked on their survey questions for their capstone project. The common topics that the students were researching were how to reduce food waste, how to save water, problems with cigarettes and so forth. Each student wrote five detailed questions to interview the public. At the next session, students watched a video that girls in America have sent to them. These were high school students who were proposing their plans to empower women. Their proposal included making alarm necklaces for women to press when they are being assaulted. This way, people that are 100 feet or 200 feet away from the assault can help the innocent women. The other idea that was put forward was making a recycle box for people to put their unwanted phones in. The students stated that after these phones have been collected, they can use these devices to connect the impacted women around the world. After brainstorming questions and suggestions, the EAL students were assigned to send a video back to these high school students about their thoughts on the project.

It’s very interesting to see how the EAL students are continuing to relate their activities with the SDG. As I was reading the book with Jack, I learned that the more carbon a soil has, the more fertile it is. Moreover, I also learned why people with high power usually disclaim the idea of climate change. Jack and I found that the book that we were reading connected to many SDG, such as ‘life on land,’ ‘climate action,’ and so on. The knowledge of the SDG helped students create five questions for their Capstone project. Students learned about the different types of questions and I tried to help them use a variety type of questions in their survey. Lastly, it was tremendously fascinating to see how the high school students in America were reaching out to the EAL students. I felt so amazed by the efforts that these American students were creating. I felt that their ideas to empower women was really creative; therefore, I sincerely wanted to help them. One of the suggestions that the EAL students and I were discussing was to create a ring instead of a necklace because rings are easier to touch with the fingers. Other suggestions included creating a necklace for men. This way, when other men see women get assaulted, they can alarm the society. Feeling touched by the actions of these high school students, I felt honored to be able to share the ideas that the EAL students and I made together because I believe that these small actions will eventually make a huge difference.

Reflective Post #7

This week, many of the activities were based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). First, students got into two groups and researched about the concept of think tanks. They discussed the definition of think tanks, why they exist, and how they are formed. Then we put taped each SDG card on the whiteboard and used arrows to show how each of them could be connected to each other. Afterward, the class came up with four main topics for their discussions of the upcoming Socratic seminar. Under each topic, they collaborated about which SDG was connected to the four topics. Then they collaborated with each other to write around three to four compelling questions for the Socratic Seminar.

I’ve never learned about think tanks before; therefore, learning about them were interesting. I learned that think tanks are a group of experts that provide advice and ideas specifically to the topic of politics or economy. Moreover, as we were drawing arrows to see how the SDG goals were connected, my group realized that basically most cards were related to each other. This was an interesting activity because the students, including me, realized that these goals were not separate. We began to become aware that if we start taking action to achieve one goal, it could mitigate the other problems from other goals. These wondering thoughts allowed students to easily write questions for their Socratic seminar. I remember that when the students were first introduced to the SDG, they didn’t really know much about it and weren’t able to discuss the goals. Nevertheless, with all these amazing activities, I realized that students were gaining more understanding of the current goals that experts are trying to achieve. I’m really excited about the discussions that students will do at their Socratic seminar!

Reflective Post #6

After coming back from the spring break, the EAL students started the class by making posters about street art. Mr. Sostak gave the students the outline of the content that was needed in their posters, such as the definition and the positive and negative aspects of street art. The difficult part was that students had to use visual representation to convey their message, which meant that they couldn’t write any letters on the poster. I was assigned to work with Yujin. Together, we collaborated ideas about why someone would do street art, even though it’s illegal, and the benefits and disadvantages of street art. Afterwards, we researched about the work of Invader, who is a famous street artist. The next two classes were really interesting. On Wednesday, students were divided into two groups for a competition to see who could make a better sentence that depicted the two pictures on the board. Each group was assigned to one picture. When we were brainstorming, I led my group by having each member tell me either nouns, adjectives, and verbs that came up in their mind when they saw the photo. After we had enough ideas, we incorporated different brushstrokes with these words. The next activity was also a competition to see which group could create an attractive poster with the greater amount of evidence, points, and SDG goals. The topic of the poster was from a New York Times article on “Why Trees Matters.” At the last class of this week, students practiced making a CER by debating. The resolution was “humans should worry about other things rather than the environment.” I used Socratic questioning to help students come up with points and evidence.

The classes for this week was tremendously interesting. I really liked how Mr. Sostak made the learning more exciting by making friendly competitions. As I was helping Yujin with her poster, I was also learning about the purpose and cause of street art. I’ve always been amazed by the astonishing graffiti that covered the streets, but I’ve never deeply thought about the reason why someone would do this. On the other hand, when I saw Invader’s work, I immediately recognized his piece from the streets. It was really interesting to learn about Invader. Moreover, when students were making sentences to describe the picture, I was very pleased because I saw great improvement in their utilization of the brushstrokes. Additionally, when we were reading the article on trees, I was shocked about the immense amount of benefits that trees brought to us and was happy to see all the students were actively participating to the creation of the poster. On the other hand, during the preparation of the debate, many of the students had trouble coming up with points. I assisted them by letting them critically think about the impact of a bad environment (as my group was the negative team for the resolution). I used the technique of slippery slope to link the horrible consequences that a poor environment would bring to the earth. After giving them an example, I talked to students one by one to help them make a point. I think that the debate was really helpful to the learning process because it allowed the students to practice their public speaking, as well as gain the ability to quickly come up with rebuttals. This week I was able to clearly see the improvements from each student. This has sincerely made me feel so proud of them!