IO Reflection

  1. What went well
  2. What you still need to work on
  3. Goals for next time


I feel like my individual oral went well in terms of the content. I feel like there was an equal amount of analysis in both texts. However, I still need to work on the 5-minute question part, because I kind of stumbled on that area. My goals for next time is to increase the level of analysis in texts and better the organization of my oral.

An Analysis of the Problem With Apu

Assignment: Analyze the final scene of the documentary, including the transcript (posted on DX). Start at 47.58 and view until the end. Write a blog post in which you analyze the filmmaker’s purpose and how it is achieved. Identify the specific techniques used and analyze their effects on the audience. Include still shots from the documentary as needed, along with quotes, to support your claims.


In The Problem With Apu, the narrator Hari Kondabolu examines the East Indian cartoon character Apu on the long-running TV series “The Simpsons” , and analyzes the normalization of racial stereotyping of East-Indians on television to an American audience. The prominent theme of racial stereotyping of Indians is conveyed through the utilization of a personal anecdote, rhetorical question, allusion as well as film techniques such as jump cuts. The main purpose Kondabolu is trying to achieve in The Problem With Apu is to highlight how the creators of The Simpsons have wrongly stereotyped East-Indians through the character Apu, as well as to inform the general American audience that the characterization of Apu is racist and discriminatory to people of India descent.

In the documentary The Problem With Apu, narrated by Hari Kondabolu, the filmmaker utilizes jump cuts to enhance the purpose of this documentary, which is to inform and help persuade to the general American audience that the Simpsons character Apu is a racist and discriminatory character, and it has to be criticized. The jumpcut to the scene of the ‘racist grandfather’ helps evoke a sense of humor for the audience to lighten the tone of this documentary. The filmmaker’s usage of jump cuts helps grab the audience’s attention causing them to focus on what Kondabolus is saying. The jump cut can be seen on 48:04.

The filmmaker’s usage of Grandpa Simpson helps captivate the audience’s attention again, as well as re-enhancing Hari Kondabolu’s purpose of creating the documentary of The Problem With Apu,  which is to persuade and inform the American Audience that Apu is a racist and discriminatory character. The phrase “the Simpsons is just like your racist grandfather” and the still above of, Grandpa Simpson holding a variety of signs that present extremely racist views of Indian people, alludes back to Kondabolu’s message. For example, two of the signs Grandpa Simpson is holding show ‘brownface’, which is extremely racist and offensive.  Overall, the usage of jumpcut and Grandpa Simpson helps regain the audience’s attention and help allude back to Hari Kondabolu’s purpose of creating the documentary of The Problem With Apu,  which is to persuade and inform the American audience that Apu is a racist and discriminatory character


Futhermore, Kondabolu’s personal anecdote at the end of this documentary (archival footage), jokingly describes the things he and his brother would say to his mother, like, “take that dot off your head?”, “why are you wearing bedsheets outside of the house?” “shut up and go make me food”. These phrases cause the audience to remember the overall theme of this documentary and help allude to Kondabolu’s opinions of why  the character, Apu, is racist and discriminatory.

Lastly, the rhetorical question asked at the end of this documentary, “can you imagine what she dealt with out of the house” helps indirectly cause the audience to remember why the character, Apu is racist and discriminatory, as well as evoking sadness for the audience.

Overall, in this snippet of The Problem with Apu, the usage of personal anecdotes, allusion and jumpcuts help achieve Hari Kondabolu’s purpose of informing and persuading the general American audience that the Simpsons character Apu is a racist and discriminatory character that has to be criticized.






Paper 1 Reflection

In my first paper 1, I feel like I presented my ideas in an organized manner. However, my analysis of the effects of literary techniques was very limited and I should’ve written more of my ideas in detail.  To improve, I should’ve read the text more carefully before I began writing. I also should’ve incorporated more literary techniques in my essay. Furthermore, to improve, I should’ve analyzed more on the effects of literary techniques. Lastly, I should’ve included more sophisticated vocabulary and my introduction and conclusion should’ve been longer.

My target goal for the next Paper 1 is to write a more persuasive, detailed analysis of how language is being used. Another goal is to utilize more literary techniques so that I can analyze more.


“To Live”

This scene occurs towards the end of this movie where Xu Fengxia (the daughter) suffered from Postpartum hemorrhage, where an uncontrollable amount of blood is leaked after birth. I  thought  this scene was very significant because it encapsulated the overall theme of the movie, which is overall about the regrets Chinese citizens had when they discovered the detrimental effects re-education had impacted their lives and others during the Cultural Revolution. The scene where Xu FengXia starts bleeding and the nurses, in a state of shock and panic saying “We’re just students, we don’t know what to do”, clearly displays how  Maoist ideologies, like, getting rid of the educated heavily negatively contributed to the overall wellness of Chinese people.
The mother and father’s facial expression shows tremendous sorrow and guilt which displays their regrets and their realization on the importance of keeping the educated and intellects, like Dr. Wang.  
Zhang Yimou’s utilization of a editing technique called “cutaway” creates a sense of action and heightens the climax of this film. The distinct contrast seen in the two stills above, in a sense, relates to the theme of regrets. Before FengXia suffered from postpartum hemorrhage, her parents were happy that she had given birth to a healthy baby boy. However, right after that, the nurses came running to them, drenched in blood, screaming that they “don’t know what to do,” alludes to the detrimental affects Maoism and  particularly re-education. When the Cultural Revolution began, people were hopeful and excited, however towards the end, many people like the characters in this movie (FengXia and her parents) eventually discovered how Maoism and specifically re-education had strongly negatively impacted their lives and future.