Month: December 2020 (page 1 of 2)

Mandarin Oriental’s Celebrity Fan Club: Rami Malek

This is Rami Malek’s fan taken from the Celebrity Fans collection on the Mandarin Oriental website. The collection includes multiple advertisements for the hotel, starring international celebrities. Rami Malek’s fan, in particular, explores hospitality through the motif of relaxation, soft warm tones, images of the beach, and tropical non-diegetic sound.


Annotating the Odyssey

I annotated lines 310-350 of Book 13 taken from the Greek Epic, the Odessey. Homer tells the story of Odysseus and his journey home after the Trojan War. Here, in lines 310-350, Odysseus’s wanderings have come to an end, and he is brought back to Ithaca by the Phaeacians. Dazed and confused by his surroundings as Athena have shrouded him with a protective mist, Odysseus grows irritated and conflicted as he engages in conversation with Athena. This dialogue is crucial in the context of the Epic because it marks a turning point in Odysseus’s journey and changes the pace of the story. With Odysseus back home in Ithaca, the slowing pace signifies a forthcoming resolution and alters the mood from adventurous to hopeful and calm. Themes of hospitality and loyalty are explored; Homer tests Odysseus’s character on whether he will remain loyal to Athena by listening to her plan or act with this heart and betray her. Similarly, Athena proves her loyalty to Odysseus despite past abandonment. The exploration of Man vs. Self internal conflict and Greek xenia creates an opportunity for character development.

“Valentine” Pastiche Poem



I give you a ___.

Although a cliché,

its reaching arms hidden by red velvet

will promise passion

like our lasting love.



take a whiff and

hold its sweetness.

In a room

or in the sun,

brings all kinds of living around.


Care for it.

Its delicate velvet

can’t endure eternal.

It requires attention

and hydration

like a lover.


I give you a ___.

Although overdone,

Its meaning lasts

for as long as we are.

Carol Ann Duffy’s “Valentine”

Upon writing our pastiche poem of “Valentine” by Carol Ann Duffy, we first annotated the poem to gain a deeper understanding of this work.

An Analysis of Liza Donnelly’s Cartoon


“I can’t decide what I’m going to be when I grow up—a good girl or a slut” is a political cartoon by Liza Donnelly, who often deals with political and cultural themes and global women’s rights issues. This cartoon illustrates two young girls sitting on the floor of one of their bedrooms, playing with dolls while discussing their uncertainty of the type of girl they want to be in the future. The cartoon explores the themes of innocence and demonstrates the strong influence society has on forming gender role prejudice in children. Today I’ll be looking at how stereotypes and stigmas surrounding the female gender negatively impact young girls.


Beginning with the illustration, Donnelly uses stereotypically girly and feminine objects to establish the theme of innocence while alluding to the gender role issue. To first create this sense of childhood purity, Donnelly’s style is very minimalistic and two-dimensional. Additionally, the white background, simple lines, and patchy colors almost mimic a children’s drawing. Together, they represent the simplicity of a child’s life and support this theme of innocence by adopting a child’s point of view. The white background creates salience and brings the viewer’s focus to the centered girls who are the focal point. They carry expressions of quiet innocence, which further evokes a sense of purity and naivety. The cartoon only consists of warm tones, which connotes the soft and welcoming nature women are traditionally characterized with and to show how this softness is often seen as a weakness and is what makes them inferior to men. The color yellow is heavily used to create a light and cheerful mood. And the repetition of pink and purple further emphasizes the unwritten rule of pink being a girl’s color. It’s interesting to note that blue, a color associated with boys, is only seen on one object: a clothing article of the doll, which happens to be pants. Again, this reinforces gender stereotypes. The stuffed animal, unicorn painting, dolls, and lacy frills on the bedding, are commonly associated with the female gender; anyone who sees this drawing would immediately recognize it as being a young girl’s room. These components give the audience the idea that the two girls are too young to understand what they are talking about.


Now moving on to the text, the caption juxtaposes the captured image of innocence, demonstrating how society has tainted children’s purity. The choice of diction, “good girl” and “slut” are polar opposites with no in-between; it sheds light on the extreme portrayal of women society has forced upon us. This false portrayal restricts and limits young girls to reach their full potential by creating this mental obstacle, which can be seen as a stereotype threat. Moreover, the word “slut” employs irony, because it’s not something we’d expect a girl her age would say. It starkly contrasts with the physical image Donnelly characterized the girls with, so it shocks the viewers to see them use “slut” so freely and casually. Overall, the caption is conversational, utilizing colloquialism and a blasé tone. The jargon supports the casual setting while highlighting the girls’ disturbing indifference in using this derogatory term. Knowing the prominent role of the media, the audience can see the likelihood of children to casually repeat terms they hear without knowing the meaning. Hence, through the caption, Donnelly addresses the issue of girls being given extreme role models by the media, which limits potential.


Although the caption has a distinct disparity with the illustration, they align and reveal the author’s call for action. Donnelly emphasizes diversity and shows that stigmas surrounding women is a universal issue; this is accomplished by using different skin tones and hair colors for the two girls. The dolls in their hands are a reflection of themselves, which highlights this process of finding and molding their identity. The scattered clothes represent the girls’ uncertainty of what to be in the future given the numerous choices at hand. This is ironic considering society deemed girls can only be either “good” or “sluts” as stated in the caption. Furthermore, this categorization is shown by how the dolls are dressed: one is in a dress, while the other is in undergarments. The contrasting attire is parallel to the caption, where it exemplifies the cliché appearance of a “good girl” and “slut”, while depicting the limited options girls have. Donnelly is a global women’s rights advocate, so the viewers can be assumed she has negative feelings towards the issue. The unicorn, a mystical creature commonly seen in children’s books, is another portrayal of innocence, but is also a symbol for magic and miracles; it supports Donnelly’s negative feelings but also represents Donnelly and the entire female population’s hope for change in eliminating female stigmas.


The debatable issue Donnelly seems to be tackling is how girls are given and presented with extreme role models by the media and popular culture, as well as the dangers their impressionable and naïve nature can bring especially in this digital age. Through the use of color, symbolism, and irony, Donnelly reveals the negative influences these false stereotypes surrounding girls can cause, such as tainting a child’s innocence and creating false perceptions and restrictions.

An Analysis of “To Live”

The film “To Live” follows the life of Fugui, a Chinese citizen, to see the impacts of the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s. Throughout the plot, the author explores the theme of irony. The use of situational irony in the rising action shows how the protagonist, Fugui, adapts to the changing surroundings and reflects communist values.


The film begins with Fugui being a part of the social hierarchy. He lived in a mansion with his wife, daughter, and parents. However, represented in the first scene, Fugui entered a significant turning point. Gambling is a symbol for win and losses, life and destiny. Fugui’s obsession with gambling cost him his all things he cherished: estate, family, father. Fugui believed he “had nothing left” (16:50).

Additionally, the dark streets evoke a sense of forlorn and foreshadow his soon-to-be impoverished life on the streets. The following clip is Fugui, and his mother left with nothing but a few sacks of essentials. The sullen, dejected expressions the characters carry, show their realization that their future in poverty is inevitable. From this moment on, they were forced to adapt to life in the working class. The turn in events shows just how fast someone’s life can change. Within a day, Fugui was robbed from his fortunes. These scenes create the foundation of the irony that occurs later on in the film.


The author’s use of situational irony plays a significant role in revealing communist ideas. The working class was the main supporters of Chairman Mao; they were the heart of the communist party. Long’er having taken every penny from Fugui, ended up getting executed in his place. On the other hand, being poor was the reason why Fugui and his family were able to live and survive the cultural revolution, as well as overcome personal obstacles. At the same time, Fugui losing everything allowed him to realize what he wanted—a stable life with his family.

An Analysis of “American Born Chinese”

This is an analysis essay I did on the graphic novel, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. I looked into the graphics and the climactic point of Jin’s transformation.


The graphic novel, American Born Chinese, provides insight into the life of an Asian American boy, exploring the overarching theme of identity and transformation. Through illustrating three stories simultaneously, Gene Luen Yang focuses on Jin and his journey of accepting his Chinese heritage in a Western environment. The selected scene, page 190 to 191, is particularly significant in the plotline; it works as the climactic point that initiated Jin’s ultimate transformation, revealing Yang’s choice of using simple graphics and how the Herbalist’s wife alluded to the idea that words shape who you are.


Yang created simple graphics through the use of lines and color, allowing the readers to pay closer attention to the words without getting distracted by the visuals. The drawings lack dimensions and details, making it less exciting to look at, therefore allowing the readers to bring their focus elsewhere. This technique is parallel to what was discussed by McCloud in Understanding Comics, suggesting that if characters matter less, what they say will matter more. Rather, the visuals act as a guiding support for the audience to arrive at Yang’s intended reaction; in this case, disappointment in Jin. Facial expression is a crucial way to understand how characters are feeling while also getting a sense of how the audience should react to the situation. Through aspect to aspect and movement to movement transitions, the simple lines reveal each character’s perspective. In the first and third panel, Jin’s downturned eyebrows, avoiding making eye contact with Wei-Chen, and shocked expression, depict him undergoing an internal battle between friendship or being ‘American.’ As the scene progresses, Jin betrays Wei-Chen, evoking a sense of disappointment. While each panel consists of muted colors, the consistent setting at the door and the beige, black background, brings the focus onto the characters who are colored in primary colors. The orange and green of Wei-Chen and Jin’s shirt clash, illustrating their current friendship as tension rises.


Throughout the entirety of the novel, Jin struggles with accepting his Chinese ethnicity and tries to adopt an American identity through imitation. The entire dialogue between Jin and Wei-Chen is a repeat of how Greg treated Jin in the previous scene. Hence, Jin belittles Wei-Chen, stating how they are “nothing alike” (191) and refuses to accept that they are “brothers” and “blood” (190), believing his classmates will accept him this way. Overall, the lack of visual variability between each panel allows readers to zero-in on the moment Jin turns his back against his identity and values. The heavy graphic weight of panel seven is created through contrast, black and white. The speech bubbles take up half the page while the other half zooms into Jin’s aggressive expression. The layout reflects the power and significance of Jin’s words. In the last panel, Yang utilizes emanate and onomatopoeia to illustrate how such violence, a punch, is equivalent to how hurtful and dash those words are. Subsequently, Jin transforms into his American alter ego. The idea of transformation connects back to what the Herbalist’s wife told Jin: “it’s easy to become anything you wish, so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul” (29). Although in the past, Jin changed his appearance to fit in, he never transformed. Only after betraying his friend, did Jin become what he desired.


Through the graphic novel, American Born Chinese, Gene Yang explores many valuable lessons. While teaching readers to love one’s identity and culture, Yang shows us the power of our words and how much they impact others, so much so, that they can transform you.




Mock IO Reflection

In the month of November, I finished my last IO before the final one in December, analyzing the “I’m a Human Being” Liza Donnelly Cartoon, and “A Private Experience” from The Thing Around Your Neck by Adichie. To say the least, it was stressful knowing that this may very well reflect how I do in my final IO. I took great care in preparing for this to receive helpful feedback that will help me improve–annotating the texts thoroughly, asking for peer feedback, and making sure that my global issue is in fact, a global issue. Fast forward to after the IO, I thought I did well as I was able to translate my thoughts clearly. Areas that I need to work on is making sure both works are analyzed in equal depth, especially incorporating a thorough amount of literary terms for the literary text. I also need to remember to tie in both texts to the global issue in a more direct manner. Keeping these in mind will help my IO’s be of higher quality.

Paper 2 Practice Outline

With Paper 2 being removed this year, we wrote an outline to practice our comparison and organization skills. Out of the given prompts, I chose Prompt 3. Discuss how two works you have studied present concepts of good and bad, not as absolute notions, but as a matter of individual perception.



“The Thing Around Your Neck” by Adichie and “The Odyssey” by Homer and translated by Emily Wilson, are two texts that present concepts of good and bad as a matter of individual perception. Adichie wrote “The Thing Around Your Neck” to illustrate the implications of cultural expectations and stereotypes on perceptions of people of color. At the same time, Homer portrays this concept through the gods and their moral code of hospitality.


Body Paragraph: External and individual factors shape perceptions, resulting in corrupted concepts of good and bad.

  • Adichie: uses cultural stereotypes to show it leads one generalize and form stigmas towards the targeted culture.
    • “Jumping Monkey Hill […] The kind of place where she imagined affluent foreign tourists would dart around taking pictures of lizards and then return home still mostly unaware that there were more black people than red-capped lizards in South Africa” (95).
    • Use satire to ridicule people’s ignorance; holds negative connotation; misconception leads one to believe Africa is underdeveloped, deserted, ‘bad.’
  • Homer: Conversely, the external factor originates from ego and aversion to conflict.
    • “‘I did not want to conflict with my father’s brother, Poseidon, who resented you for blinding his son’” (Book 13, Line 340).
    • Athena didn’t help Odysseus when in need, going against the code of hospitality gods go by as well as Greek culture’s emphasis on hospitality.
    • Aversion of conflict, ego-depletion, and risk of damaging status interferes with the rational judgment of what is morally right and wrong.
  • Adichie emphasizes external factors – culture, stereotypes, ignorance of others cause misconceptions, and they continue to spread.
  • Homer focuses on individual factors and self – ego, relationship, status, power.


Body Paragraph: Degree of personal significance influence concepts of good and bad

  • Adichie: Personal experience with specific matters makes topic sensitive
    • “The black South African looked alarmed when he heard ‘lesbian.’ He got up and walked away” (102).
    • LGBTQ community. Through action and descriptors, it reveals that it holds a negative connotation in his culture and is seen as ‘bad.’
  • Homer: Similarly, perception is shaped by the level of personal significance
    • “Poseidon will not cease to feel incensed because you blinded his dear son.”
    • Poseidon views Odysseus as the antagonist since he blinded his son.
  • Both showcase how prior experiences and consequences bias one’s mentality.
  • The degree of personal significance determines judgment.



  • “The Thing Around Your Neck” and “The Odyssey” present how personal perceptions influence our concepts of good and bad through highlighting how external factors and degree of personal significance influence rational judgment. While Adichie focuses on the impacts of cultural representations, Homer addresses the implications of corruption within governing figures.
  • Concepts of good and bad determined by the individual

Transformation Project Part 2: Rationale

For the transformation project, I explored the contemporary relevance of Book 9 to 12 of The Odyssey through a digital illustration of Odysseus’s Instagram profile, followed by a series of posts. Understanding that social media users are often drawn to humor, relationships, food, and exciting adventures, I made sure to incorporate all of these elements through humor, colloquialism, and common images posted on Instagram.

Humor and internet jargon are used in the biography and captions to be in line with Instagram and captivate users. The first caption, “@poluphemus_clops was in for a surprise, but too bad he couldn’t see tho #BLINDsided,” uses slang like “tho” and a pun with “BLIND” that alludes to the storyline of Polyphemus falling for Odysseus’s trap and how he was blinded. It also includes a mention and hashtag to showcase the platform’s features. For engaging content, I chose varying events from the Epic poem and transformed them into current experiences. For example, I drew a romantic stroll on by the beach to focus on the romance between Odysseus and Circe rather than Circe turning his crew into pigs to align with the content seen on Instagram. Other transformed events range from meals to haunted islands to concerts. Besides posts, I added a profile page to utilize Instagram’s unique Highlights feature. I created categories that were relevant to current times and Odysseus’s character. For example, “Greek Life” is a play on words to show how Odysseus is a Greek hero while alluding to Greek life’s modern-day definition—sororities and fraternities. I repeated “epic” in two highlights for emphasis; it refers to the grand adventures, and The Odyssey is an Epic. By utilizing the main features of Instagram, and incorporating humor, internet jargon, and popular images, I explored the seminal text and applied it to the contemporary world.


Works Cited


Homer, Emily R. Wilson and Homer. 2018. The Odyssey. New York; London: W.W. Norton & Company.

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