Green Rice and Its Background

As we are finished with the novel Grendel, the next text that we are going to study is a collection of Vietnamese poems written in the period of warfare by a female poet Lâm Thị Mỹ Dạ. The translated version along with the original pieces are made into a book called Green Rice. When I first read the introduction without any prior knowledge to the background information of the history of the poem, I didn’t really understand the importance of the poems and the true emotion that they contain. It was until the first class, when we went through a few articles about the detailed content of the Vietnam war that happened between 1955 and 1975, did I start to have a spark of interest on discovering more of what people were experiencing and feeling at that point. Unlike the historical texts, reading poems written by an ordinary citizen is a more effective way of understanding the case as a whole. What I took from that lesson was that Vietnam people really have a strong emotional bond with their country, many of them joined the war simply because they wanted to protect their believes and faith.


With that knowledge in mind, I went back to the introduction again and really appreciated many methods the translator incorporated to make sure the hidden emotional message was well communicated. Taking consideration of the English level of the author, the translator spent a mass amount of time with the author Lâm Thị Mỹ Dạ to communicate and get a better understanding of the living habits. Moreover, he worked with local citizen to make sure the cultural elements were taken into consideration, they wrote literary analysis for most of the poems that were translated to make sure that they understood the actual meaning behind it. The translator also mentioned the consideration of rhyme schemes, rhythm, and musicality of the translated text; the author was only able to retain a small portion of that. This connects to the same translation unit that I have been studying in Chinese, where it is really hard to convert texts, especially poems, into a different language while taking account for all the elements. A similarity between Vietnamese and Chinese was the lack of words that clarifies the logical relationship between words and sentences. As written by the translator, that aspects was one of the major problem she faced during the translation process.

Paper 1 reflection

PP1 Tight-Rope Walker


The thing that I am satisfied with this paper is my planning and how I stuck to the plan while I write. The three points listed were well followed and developed as I wrote the paper, and from the process, I came up with a bigger point which made my conclusion relatively strong. The success of this time is because I didn’t rush my reading section based on my relative slow reading speed, I took my time and tried to understand the text as much as I can before summarizing up the annotations and forming them into points. Also, the time management was pretty well sorted, I had 2-3 minutes at the end to proof read my paper and I found a few places with grammar or spelling mistakes. Aspects that I didn’t do so well are the connection between the question, in this case “tension”, and my points and my reasoning explaining the points. Starting with the connection, I forgot to take in mind the questions while I annotate and plan my paper. It could be caused by the lack of interpretation of the deeper meaning of the text, in other words, I am only reading the plot of the text but not the intention of the author upon writing this text. As a consequence of that problem, my points may be deviated from the message of the text, which then makes it hard for me to form a strong reasoning based on the points. Another possible cause of that problem may be because of the lack of vocabulary, for example, in this text I interpreted the meaning of “meadow” as a type of bird that’s similar to an eagle where it actually is a grass field. However, this isn’t a big problem because as I read more book and practice for the SAT test (cough cough…), my vocabulary is going to improve. Ways to improve the problem of interpretation would be to take my time on interpreting the text and think more on the point of view of author-reader relationship when annotating and planning. Also, I need to be more aware of the stylistic features (the “style” part of the given guiding sheet of annotation) as it helps me to understand the intention of the author and thus deepens my point. If a target needs to be set for the next paper, I would say to focus my point as much as possible on the guiding question and to keep up with the planning and time management.