Global Issue Presented in “The Nest”

As we studied the poem collection Green Rice, we each picked a poem to analyze. The poem I chose is “The Nest” and below is my interpretation to it.

 

The strand I will be focused on is Beliefs, value and education.

In particular: How education plays a role in the growth of children.

The poem mostly states how the egg, representing the child, stays alone during the process of hatching, and linked that to how the nest made with straw and grass, indicating knowledge and books, enriches the child’s life and ensures him/her to healthily grow until hatching. The poem is written in chronological structure, where the egg first “rises” (7), then becomes something for the nest, and finally hatches into “insistent life” (32). Throughout the process, the state of the nest is constantly brought to attention. At the start of the poem when “Mysterious silence deepens” (1), Lam uses the word “shake” (3) to represent the effect of silence on the nest. The word “shake” could be associated with the emotion of fear, and if the nest represents the knowledge as a whole, it is suggesting that knowledge left alone is vulnerable in the sense that it could be easily lost. This explains why the nest “shake[s]” as its been left alone. Then, as the egg appears in the nest, the knowledge is being acquired and thus the silence is replaced with “chanting voice” (6). On the egg’s (child) perspective, it gains knowledge from the point of birth and slowly turns into a “full” (10), “beautiful” (26) egg. Here the relation between education and the child is specified, and Lam points out how they help each other as they both gain benefits from the relationship.

The poem constantly mentions the symbol of “strands of straw and grass” (13), in my interpretation they could be books. Unread books are worthless and thus has no purpose of existing, this idea is illustrated in the fourth stanza of the poem where they are “woven without soul” (14). However, as the egg touches the books, as the child grows to a stage that he/she can read, the books “become musical strings” (15) both themselves and to the child. The next two stanzas describes the relation between the egg and the nest in more detail as Lam used similar structure to indicate the complexity of how they are affecting each other. The symbol of life and death is also significant as the poem progresses. The idea of an “ivory egg” in line 5 indicates that there are lots of sacrifices made by other people in order for the egg to exist. Furthermore, the exact phrasing appears again in line 26, but this time accompanied with the descriptions of “Dry grass and straw” (25) , as well as the direct statement of “death supports life” (27). In this case, the death could be seen as the knowledges that is already being learnt, and the life could be how new knowledge, new values are formed within the child. Finally, at the end of the poem, Lam further expresses the hope that is put towards the egg. Lam uses a simile comparing the hatching of the egg to “a sprout splitting a seed” (31) to indicate the continuation of life. The power of nature is appreciated and associated with the hatching of an egg, which on itself would be part of the cycle of nature. Thus, Lam extends the hope into “Many skies will fill with life” (34) at the end to emphasize the continuity of Vietnam and Vietnam people.

Overall, this poem “The Nest” models the relationship between education and the child, and thus expanding and connecting to the formation of any community.

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

Reflection:

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.

Global Issue Discussed in Chapter 4 of ‘Grendel’

In chapter 4, the author addresses the global issue of educational propaganda. Gardner uses Grendel as the narrator and carries out an extended metaphor of how people are undergoing biased education and blindly believing it. Gardner does this by portraying the Shaper as the educator, the king Hrothgar as the learner, and Grendel as a character from a different culture who has different believes than the students. The author first creates a contrast between the ideas of “a glorious meadhall whose light would shine to the ends of the ragged world” (Gardner, Chapter 4) and “The thought took seed”. The idea of an eternal meadhall is really abstract and impossible to accomplish, yet the Shaper made it sound so real that a king as “great” as Hrothgar is believing it. This action of implanting false information into the learner’s mind while the learner has no idea of the validity of that information. For example, if you read about dihydrogen monoxide with no prior knowledge of the component of water, you would’ve fall into the trap of believing that this substance is actually harmful. When other people whose not involved in this situation, in this case Grendel, see this, they will easily find out the absurdity in the education. Grendel points out the flaw by understanding the most basic motivation of the educator, “by changing men’s minds [the Shaper] makes the best of it”, but then contradicts himself with “and it wasn’t true”. This shows a sense of concern that Gardner has towards the reason why people are doing this false education but somewhat have an idea of that; more importantly, Gardner points out the irony and raises awareness of this problem through Grendel’s realization of himself being affected while being a side-listener. Later on the chapter, Grendel says to the audience that he “knew very well that all [the Shaper] said was ridiculous”, but Grendel “was swept up” by what the Shaper has said. By introducing this part, Gardner addresses the chain effect that will occur with the educational propaganda: one victim may spread this false information to many others and thus create a “snowball” effect. Gardner, again, emphasizes his awareness and concern about the educational propaganda that is happening in the world.

Global Issue Discussed in Chapter 1 of ‘Grendel’

 

In chapter one Gardner addresses the issue of racial discrimination. He reveals and emphasizes this idea in the paragraph where Grendel meets the doe and, despite the fact that Grendel has “never killed a deer in all his life”, the doe immediately runs away after it recollects its consciousness. This scene is a sarcasm towards the racial discrimination that is happening in our world nowadays, where Grendel was judged and labelled a “monster” simply by his appearance and identity. This judgement outlines the unfairness of how certain groups of people are being treated. Furthermore, Grendel, in this scene, had no harmful intention towards the doe even after he was repelled; all Grendel did was “bawl at the splintered sunlight” for the “blind prejudice” that acted upon him. The word “bawl” carries a connotation of helplessness, where Grendel craves for the acceptance and acts in the best way he could, but eventually receives nothing. This choice of word reveals how Gardner is sympathizing with the isolated race and wants to bring awareness to this issue. Moreover, Gardner highlights Grendel’s way of treating different species through the phrase, “but no more dislike than I feel for other natural things”. The author emphasizes the innocence of Grendel, in this case representing the innocence of the discriminated group. With the above description, Gardner’s concern towards the discriminated group is revealed.

How and Why Do We Study Literature?

Literature is a special form of expressing emotion, a way to abreact one’s feeling about a specific topic or event. This process of expressing ourselves exists not only in literature, but also in our everyday life when we feel or generate a distinct opinion about something in our life, and this opinion often comes with a special emotion. According to psychology, the emotion that we remember are mostly going to be pessimistic. When we have these negative emotions, what we want is someone to talk to, something to sympathize with, or someone to understand the situation that you are in. In this case, literature would be one of the best way to accomplish this, for it describes the smallest sorrow in one’s life and expresses it through a series of carefully selected language, and this expression makes the reader feel that they are understood. It is that part of understanding, the fact of knowing that someone else in the world is also suffering or withstanding the similar situation, knowing that oneself is not alone in this world, creates a resonance between the reader and the writer’s intention of writing the literary piece. From the ideas above we can conclude that the reason why we study literature, is to find the type of comfort, acknowledgement, and resonance.

 

Having said that, to achieve these goals for studying literature, readers need to understand multiple aspects of the piece, which include but not limited to the time period the piece is created, it allows a more thorough understanding of the piece and the author’s intention; the place, geographically, of where the piece is created, it gives a clearer picture of what specific issue or problem the author was facing while creating this piece and defines the culture which the piece was written in. Moreover, the most important part, readers need to understand the true purpose of the author, what message, or say “theme”, the author is addressing and communicating with the reader through a literary piece. The message, to me, is the most important part of constructing that resonance between the reader and the author. To conclude, it is fairly important for the reader to understand the multiple aspects of one literary piece to truly understand the meaning of it.

 

With the points above said, I feel like I am in a pretty strong agreement with the new IB rubric on the areas of exploration in terms of studying literature.

Literary element – Kite on the football pitch

 

Rationale

The element I chose to study about was symbolism, most of the symbols in the play address the theme of, maturity or inequality. The product I chose to create is a four-panel comic where it tells a story of two different colored people playing a football match, then a kite off string flown by, they stopped playing and waited for the kite to pass by. Lastly, the two race walked off the pitch together peacefully.

People live in a world full of influences and other voices, just like how a soccer player perform on the pitch, where every move they make are judged. Sam, through the event of flying a kite, taught Hally a lesson about it. He told Hally to stand in the crowd and be proud of what he’s got, as they flew a kite made of tomato box and old stockings beside a whites-only chair on the hill. This meaning of kite flying is expressed through the size of the white person on the pitch, how he’s purposefully drawn smaller than the black person to represent the concept of standing against the society and believing in what is correct.

The concept of “a world without collisions,” formed by dancing, was brought up towards the end of the book. The second picture in the comic represented conflict, between the characters and the two races, how the white race, Hally, was taking up more space as he’s flying in for the header from the right side. The black, Sam, raised from their ground and fought back for their rights (vertical jump). The crowd disappeared because, in the conflict, the feeling of the others will be neglected, or damaged. In the book, Hally abreacts the anger produced by him and his dad on Sam, an observer, a person of the black race. Sam, however, stood for himself and talked Hally through the conflict.

The kite had a jean as its tail, representing maturity. The idea of wearing long pants was related to maturity, so were understanding the true meaning of kite, where the adult world seems to be smooth and without collisions. In the comic, the football game stopped and both players looked up to watch the kite, as Hally ultimately understood the lesson from Sam and accepted him. The football, representing the conflict of two race, were left aside untouched. The norms of the society, at this time, became unimportant as the two characters followed their minds. The four picture, where the two race walked off pitch peacefully, equally, next to each other, with racism behind them.

Short story

In English class, we were asked to create our own story based on the characters of Romeo and Juliet. I chose to create a big image on the family background of the nurse.

From mother to nurse

Angelica started her “new life” as a cleaner. But it was too tough for a mother who just gave birth to a child ten months ago. Two weeks into the job and her whole body was aching and could not bear the job anymore. She thought about her adorable child every night, her name was Susan. Susan had crystal blue eyes, the transparent blue reflects the marrow of their love. It was one more month until Susan’s first birthday, she had to go back home and celebrate.

She quitted her job as a cleaner a week before Susan’s birthday and was heading back to the exquisite house beside the farm.

Inside the Capulet mansion. Lady Capulet watched the new-born baby, she was 11 months old but still small as a hand, “’tis time to find our baby a nurse, she needs more care and attention.” Lord Capulet walked over beside his wife, “I set posters around our region in search for a nurse, it has been a few days since, all we have to do is wait for a response.”

Angelica walked on the street of Verona. The golden sunlight spilled on the roof tops on each house, “Let fate treat people the same way as sun.” She prayed to herself. She noticed lots of posters on the street lamp and walls saying that the Capulets are needing a nurse.

The mother kept thinking about her child on the way back. She must have grown a lot; would I be able to recognize her? All sorts of worries started to appear in her mind, she didn’t realize that she was walking faster and faster. Finally, the outline of the house appeared in her eyes. The color of the plants around their house gradually weakened, it felt as though the house was draining all life around it. Angelica started running, her eyes were wide open and full of fear. The door wasn’t locked and she rushed in, the house from inside looked just like before, tables organized and windows cleaned. But all sense of life had been removed, the plants on the windowsills were removed, all the leftover mosses were gone. She went outside and saw her husband far away in the farm. Angelica yelled his name. He looked up, ran toward her.

“What happened, my dear?” Angelica asked eagerly, she looked up to the pale man. He was aging faster than the growth of the baby.

The man didn’t say anything, grabbed her hands and leaped into the room. “Only one month after you left, Susan caught a flu, I tried to bring her into the doctor downtown, but the medicine he gave did not work out. I… I didn’t know what else to do, Susan… She didn’t make it through.” The man’s canthus fell, his eyebrows cannot hold its position, the edge of his mouth started shaking.

Angelica gently walked up to him, wrapped him in her arms as though cradling a baby, little sobs escaped from both of them.

She recalled the Capulet posters of requesting a nurse. “I think I know what job I can take, good husband, I will be gone for a long time. Wait for me in peace.”

 

Animal farm connections

Have you ever thought of yourself, being equal to a pig, a dog, a horse or any kind of animal? The book Animal farm is focusing on the idea of communism; the whole story was an extended metaphor. Animal farm is a big community which includes different kinds of animals, they desire different types of food, has different ability to work and learn. But the one thing that is common with all of them is that they are all “equal”, in the farm, the pigs are apparently the smartest animal in the farm and so gathered the most attention. The main concept of the book was animals working in harmony with each other under the govern of the pigs. The pigs kept on making rules and setting goals which are for “improvement” of the animal farm. The whole story was about the political choice made by the leaders of the society and the people who are working blindly for the goal. It gives an Irony about the government at the time which Orwell wasn’t satisfied with. This reminds me of the attitude my mother has against China’s new government system, of how Xi Jinping tares out all the buildings on a street and replaced with big red signs that has the main concept of the government on it. My mother is really disturbed with this action yet couldn’t do anything to make a change, this is becoming the most common attitude people have against any types of governmental activities and in my opinion is causing lots of hidden negative emotions. When these emotions accumulate, compresses and finally come to the break out, another round of rebellion is going to arrive and the cycle continues (above are all speculations). the donkey in the book can represent this position in the political event. The character which gives me the most emotional appeal was the sheep. They followed the leader blindly and used the only sentence they understand to subside the negative voice about the decisions made by Napoleon. In reality, these kind of people triggers me the most, they give suggestions biased to the believe they have not considering the consequences and whether the suggestion is correct or not. Finally, the major dramatic question throughout the story was will the farm continue to function properly?

Rick and Morty plot analysis

This is the first time for me watching this “TV” show so my approach may be different from the others who are already familiar with it. It was season one episode one. At the start, the audience is introduced to the two main characters, called Rick, and Morty, obviously. Rick is a crazy grandfather who makes ridiculous inventions and pulls Morty out of school to have different adventure with him. In this episode, after math class, Rick came to school and invited Morty to a different dimension to collect a type of seed called the mega seed. By now the audience is introduced to the major dramatic question. Which is will they get the mega seeds.

The mega seed is located in a different dimension and they have to go through the portal to get it, the portal was generated by one of the invention of Rick. During the process of getting the mega seed, Morty’s leg was broken so Rick had to go to the future to get the medicine for that, and he accidentally stayed in the future for too long that the portal generator ran out of battery. In result, they needed to go through the “interdimensional customs”. Although, they needed to hide the mega seeds so that it will go through the security. They managed to find a way to hide it, but there turns out to be a new searching device in the custom. Rick refused to take the search so the guards started chasing Rick and Morty. They manage to find a portal generator in the custom and successfully got home.

But at home, there is this problem with school, which is probably carried through the whole show, that Morty needed to focus more on studying… As we can see, the major Dramatic question is answered by the fact that they actually got the seed and successfully brought it back to Earth.

 

Video link:

http://www.iqiyi.com/v_19rrl0kpr0.html?vfm=2008_aldbd