Everything Happens For A Reason

To start off, this is the weirdest book I have ever read! I usually can predict how a story will turn out but this one confused me a couple of times. I’m glad I took a risk to read a different type of story but wouldn’t recommend it to other people unless they love thinking too much about everything.

After facing the hard truth of racial tension in the South, Jean is encouraged by her aunt to invite the young women for Coffee. Jean loves her cup of coffee but never finishes the second cup according to Hank. She dresses like a lady to please her aunt for the useless talk of these gatherings.

The gathering allows her to confirm how the racist thoughts of Maycomb are. She felt sick hearing good people demeaning black people which showed her how the town has changed since her childhood. Everyone is blaming the conflict on the people of colour and joke about racist things. Jean feels distant from her home because she can’t relate. She got angry but chose to not speak a word since she knows that they won’t change their ignorant perspectives. Racism was not a large issue in New York and it is saying to her, “Jean Louise Finch, are not reacting according to our doctrines regarding your kind, therefore you do not exist” (177).

She is exposed to constitutional racism for the first time and remembers seeing black people as, “they were poor, they were poor, they were diseased and dirty, some were lazy and shiftless but never in my life was I was given the idea that I should despise one, should fear one, should be discourteous to one” (179). In addition, she doesn’t notice the people of colour in New York causing the girls to call her “colour blind”. It adds to the fact that she has been surrounded by racism her whole life but never realized it. She calls on a “watchman” to help her become more aware of the systematic racism that has been going on all her life in America.

“For thus hath the Lord said unto me,

Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth” (95)

Jean later decides to visit her uncle Jack because she is so confused about everything so he tells her confusing riddles. Despite no war, there is tension after the Civil War with racial groups and the Whites are resisting equality because they want to remain attached to their history (*cough* colonialism, white supremacy, etc. *cough*).  What stood out was that, family bonds and community relationships are what claim their identity. He claims that the Civil War was fought to claim their Southern identity but not for morality or equality. Jean Louise is pulling a Gogol on us by having an identity crisis. She has a mindset of a Northerner but the South is where she grew up but she doesn’t know where to identify with. She should be lucky that she doesn’t have to pick between two continents.

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As someone in 2016, I find this odd. As the world becomes more globalized, it becomes more difficult to define “identity”. I like to know about ethnicity and culture so I can learn more about a person and understand their culture a bit more. However, the Southerners seem to use identity as a way to categorize and label people.

I felt like a proud mother when Jean when she snapped at Hank. He might be a sweetheart but he acts as if she can’t take care of herself. Apparently, Atticus went to the meeting to see who the members of the KKK were. Couldn’t he just snoop around? Oh wait, he is a man, therefore he can’t do the job of a woman.

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On a serious note, the talk on privilege was very interesting. Hank can work as hard as he can but once he makes one mistake, he is seen as trash by the community due to coming from a less respected family. He tells her that ,”you can parade around town in your dungarees with your shirttail our and barefooted if you want to. Maycomb says, ‘That’s the Finch in her, that’s just her way” (231). He can’t act according to his beliefs or desire because it might ruin his reputation which Jean finds hypocritical. Jean is being a hypocrite because she claims that the Whites are blind to see their discriminations towards the Black but she doesn’t bother listen to Hank? He smiles when she leaves? He might be the one?

Unfortunately, this relates to white privilege in the media. Many of the prisoners are people of colour not because they are necessarily worse but because they target communities of lower income. For example, the act of 9/11 was apparently done by a Muslim and the rest of the community is blamed for it even though the accused committed a big sin, therefore he is not the best representation of the religion. Everyone knows Bush did 9/11. When a white person commits a crime, his race isn’t brought into it and the writing is less harsh.

Two headlines showing Dylann Roof looking innocent and Jim Jones as some with 'a troubled past'

Surprisingly, I was proud of Jean for snapping at her father. She wants the blacks to have citizenships but Atticus thinks that doing it quickly will bring destruction. She compares him to Hitler but he still claims to love her. She asks him why he couldn’t have, “turned me into a simpering, mealy-mouthed magnolia type who bats her eyelashes and crosses her hand and lives for nothing but her lil’ole husband?” (249).

She wants to be comfortably unaware so she doesn’t have to acknowledge the destruction of mankind. Her father tells her to, “come down to earth” (249). Does this claim that he sees her as a godly figure that has high morals than everyone, because if so, the tables have turned.

I’m glad Harper Lee didn’t go in depth with the relationship between Atticus and his daughter. There is no ending to it since their feelings will change and no family is perfect ,but you will always love them whether you like it or not. The theme of this book? Eat your vegetables and don’t do drugs kids.

P.S. This is my last blog post of the year. If school doesn’t work out, I’ll be a food blogger. I’ll obviously send the link when that happens. Chao!

 

 

Lee, Harper. Go Set a Watchman. New York, NY: Harper, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2015. Print.

 

 

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Should I be surprised or not?

The second part of the book definitely gets heated since lots of racism is shown that would impact me as a black girl. One would expect me to react like

To be honest, the whole time I was thinking to myself, “looks like things haven’t changed but are done in different manners and privately”. Finishing one chapter felt like an accomplishment because the whole time I was annoyed with how unobservant Jean is.

A lot happened but one thing is clear: (everyone including you and I) is trash.

“[Jem] left her when he was sixteen. He dated girls and her only friend is Atticus” (117). It seems that Jean has mostly spent her life working on her academics. One would think that she would be exposed to the truths of the town but everyone likes to think that they are the good people and everything is perfect.

Jean and Hank decide to go swimming at night but their aunt Alexandra didn’t scold them for their bad behavior but was rather worried how the reputation of the Finch family at church when they have a meeting with the “church ladies” . I love how Jean changed the situation into a positive one by claiming that she’ll have to marry Hank. Her father and uncle are interested in her affair but choose to tease her which makes her trust them and depend on them as a source of comfort.

During the church service, the music that is played has a faster tempo and different rhythm from what the Southerners are used to. Many people claim to not like the change but the organist mention that it is how he learned in the North. Jean still protects her church’s traditions despite not being religious and doesn’t like change. If so, she will go experience a rollercoaster ride.

For thus hath the Lord said unto me,

Go, set a watchman, let he him declare what he seeth

The title of the book is mentioned by Mr. Stone and it exactly means what I predicted! Well we should know more about it later in the book because a lot happens such as…

Atticus joining the KKK. I was going to an explanation mark and add a photo but that would give me nightmares. I think they have 10,000 members. Again, I would google the numbers but I’d like to have a peaceful sleep.

Let’s start off with racism. Jean finds out that her father is a member of the citizens’ council in Maycomb that has isn’t beneficial for the community and was reading a pamphlet called the, “The Black Plague”. I will admit the title disgusted me. The books gives nasty (and false) descriptions of African-American such as, “essential inferiority…kinky woolly heads…lower than cockroaches” (108).

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Her aunt still cares about her since she did bother warning her. Jean is from the North so she does have a more liberal view on society than the people of her hometown. One would think that their hatred from ethnic minorities would decrease as time goes but it definitely surprised me. They clearly don’t want black people in their community and all I thought to myself was, “who is trying to pay for our uber ride back to Africa?” because xenophobia still exists.

I felt bad for Jean because she always held her father and only friend in such a high standard.

“She felt sick. Her stomach shut, she began to tremble” (111). At the courthouse, she makes Joseph Goebbels seem innocent compared to the pamphlet because it was more blunt. She is shocked to see that Atticus and Hank supported his ignorant views and can’t understand how her loved ones can tolerate and accept these attitudes.

In the previous book, Atticus demonstrated Jung’s psychological archetype of being The Caregiver. He treated everyone with respect, cared, and protected people despite their race and social status. He is definitely using denial as a defense mechanism for the corruption going on in their town since he knows better than that!

Jean finally begins to doubt her idealized view of her father and returns to her childhood home when everything was better since she had a simple view of morality but feels like a stranger in a place that use to be familiar. I think the unknown ice cream man is Boo Radley because apparently everyone knows each other in the town.

I can relate to Jean because as I’ve grown older, I learned what was wrong with the ideals and views I’ve grown up with. Whenever someone says something that boils my blood (usually anti-blackness since it does exist in every culture), I have to remind myself that I used to have similar thoughts and that I can’t expect people to be perfect or I’ll have no friends.

At the end of part 2, we see Jean indulging herself in joyous memories but it is only making her more lonely. She thinks of Dill but is reminded that he isn’t with her and feels that she doesn’t belong in Maycomb. Her aunt comforts her but it doesn’t work and Jean takes her advice of pretending to be the women Alexandra always wanted her to be. She still can’t accept reality and tells her aunt that she will, “do what every Christian young white fresh Southern virgin does” (122) since she did get her period which I found so funny  and reminded me of Juliet from Romeo and Juliet.

She is definitely disappointed in herself by calling herself color blind. Her innocence as a child was admirable but being naive seems shameful in the current situation since she thought that racial distinctions are insignificant.

What are you thoughts so far, classmates?

 

 

Works Cited

Lee, Harper. Go Set a Watchman. New York, NY: Harper, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2015. Print.

Is God The Watchman Maycomb needs?

Pre-Reading

I’m always excited to start a new book (by my choice) however I was told that this book was disturbing and controversial. It makes sense since it wasn’t supposed to be published and I feel like I’m doing something I’m not supposed to, but I’ll blame my English teacher. My expectations for the world are somewhat low so I can’t wait to be blown away!

Thoughts

I was told that Atticus is racist in this book which made me wonder if it is caused by his arthritis. Apparently, rheumatoid arthritis causes pain with symptoms from forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, and difficulty thinking clearly. He couldn’t have pretended to support Tom because he was harassed and didn’t receive lots of money for defending him. I think that the readers did not everything because we saw things from the perspective from a child but the same tensions and ideals were present.  Maybe I’m too attached to the previous book and can’t accept reality (like Gatsby).

Surprisingly, Jean has been living in New York for 6 years and returns to Alabama to visit her family. She is greeted by Hank- her future husband who works with her 72 years old father.

So apparently, Hank has proposed to Jean a couple of times but she refused. I think the honesty and comfort Jean brings Hank comfort. A quote that stood out was

“She was almost in love with him. No, that’s impossible, she thought: either you are or you aren’t. Love’s the only thing in this world that is unequivocal. There are different kinds of love, certainly, but it’s a you-do or you-don’t proposition with them all.” (Chapter 1)”  

She has become more mature and I would love to hear about her experience in New York. There is tension between her independent city life and comforting childhood. She has known him for a long time but I think marrying him would force her to choose between New York and her hometown. I don’t really ship them because my grade 9 self wants her to be with Dill, her childhood friend who is apparently in Europe?? I like the perseverance she has despite her nagging  aunt Alexandra.

The Original & True OTP3

A quote that reminded me of The Namesake was, “Maycomb expected every daughter to do her duty…Jean Louise would return and make her home with Atticus” (30). I remember that many people thought it was wrong of Gogol to leave his mother alone even for the first time in her life so he can enjoy his second life as Nickhil.

In comparison, Atticus has never been alone since he was with their former nanny and currently Alexandra. It seems that Atticus has pride and confidence in himself to do things alone since he has done so all his life. As a man, one would only expect him to only depend on women for domestic chores and lead the family.

On the other hand, Ashima was forced to live in a foreign country alone since she had depended on Ashoke to do everything outside of the house (ie. paying the bills, mowing the lawn, etc.). Fortunately, she eventually learns to adapt to her new living situation in a country she didn’t consider home before. Despite different cultures and times, people would expect the son to take care of their parent.

I forgot to talk about the title! It has to have a meaning and I’m predicting that it is going to be the T.J. Eckleburg’s eyes. Jean disapproves her hometown since she woke up after 26 years and thinks that they need god. Yep. (Couldn’t we finish Gatsby before starting this because I keep remembering it.)

Final Thoughts

Classmates, what did you think of it? Will Jean join the KKK or will she maintain the archetype of being The Explorer?

 

 

 

 

Scout, Dill, and Jem. Digital image. CNN. Cable News Network, 3 Feb. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.

 

 

Will I Get A Higher Mark If I Like The Book?

I’m kidding! I loved the book but I wouldn’t mind. I finished The Namesake and the ending is the best thing ever but we will talk about that later.

When Gogol marries Moushumi, I thought to myself, another boring cliche ending. I’m so glad that the author showcased that every other relationship is not perfect. Since I am suppose to analyse plot and characters through this blog, it’s important that I display the flaws of their relationship but I feel so guilty. It’s not my position and they aren’t real people! Somewhere in the world, someone can relate to a character in the book. It’s one of the reasons why I love reading and here goes something.

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To start off, “[the] assurance is important to her; along with the Sanskrit vows she’s repeated at her wedding, she privately vowed that she’s never grow fully dependent on her husband, as her mother has” ( Lahiri, 247).

I personally think Moushumi is afraid of becoming what her parents aspired her to be. She wants to escape from their expectations and not depend on her husband like the older generation of wives. She often sneaks out to eat alone or have lunch with her friend Astrid to assert her independence. She doesn’t want to repeat what she sees as her mother’s mistake but the vow she claimed to sets their relationship to failure when she pushes Gogol away.

“[When] the good news came she decided it was easier to decline the fellowship quietly, to file away the letter, not to bring it up” ( Lahiri, 246). She is being a mature woman by considering her husband and marriage. Unfortunately she made an impulsive decision because she was unhappy with Gogol and later divorces him.

It reminded me of Derek from Grey’s Anatomy. He is a talented surgeon and was offered multiple highly ranked positions at hospitals. He turned down the first offer and is constantly presented with the challenge of having a healthy balance between his career and life. This relates to how many people find it difficult to balance the two with increasing working hours. He obtains a position in D.C. as a chief neurosurgeon. He makes a sacrifice by leaving his family and friends from Seattle. Spoiler Alert: On his way back from D.C. to his home, he is hit by a car.

I was so surprised that Moushumi turned down that position because I would’ve ran the moment I received that letter. Moushumi is a Bengali female who grew up in a conservative household and choosing career over family is out of the question. I think the viewers would’ve thought it was weird for a white male to choose family over career because it’s not the norm!

It was interesting that, “it [reminded] her of living in  Paris- for a few hours at Dimitri’s she in inaccessible, anonymous” ( Lahiri, 264). It is similar to Gogol’s relationship with Maxine. She sees her affair with Dimitri as an escape from who she is. She has no obligations or responsibilities with him but it was strange that she denied her one year transfer in Paris so she can “stay” with Gogol.

I have to admit, I appreciate how Moushumi became the narrator near the end of the book. The life of a 1st generation Bengali female is drastically different from the life of a 1st generation Bengali male  due to misogyny in many South Asian cultures. As someone who is enjoying learning french, I liked how the reader got a perspective of France and the culture. Changing locations can definitely change a person and I’m hope to have that experience to fill my curiosity.

I loved how the book started and finished with Ashima. I was so proud of her! She is comfortable, happier, and independent after years of feeling out of place.

Can we talk about the ending? I was crying tears of joy. He showed the world that he doesn’t need a woman to be happy and is at peace with identity. He is enjoying the Bengali gathering he has always hated and reading the book his father gave him. I don’t know what is special about The Overcoat but I’m glad he is happy!

Reading this book made me wonder, where will I be in a couple of years? What will I do? What kind of person will I be. The unexpected events in life make it interesting. Whatever happens, I hope everyone including myself is living a peaceful and happy life.

P.S. If your live was a book, what type would it be?

 

Black Girl Confused Meme. Digital image. Know Your Meme. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

Frog Meme. Digital image. Know Your Meme. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Print

Ross, Ashley. Ellen Pompeo Explains Why Grey’s Anatomy Doesn’t Need McDreamy. Digital image. Time.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

 

Gogol & His Receipts

Gogol. Gogol. Gogol. I know he hates that name therefore I’m using it because he is annoying me. On the other hand, he is on the journey of discovering himself and experiencing his rebellious stage. Now that he is a college student and officially became “Nikhil”, he has become more selfish, disrespectful, and confident.

Nikhil feels like an alter ego of Gogol. This rebellious action of his, gave him confidence to control his identity and achieve the impossible. His trip to Boston represents him letting go of the obedient Gogol living under his parent’s roof.

It was interesting when he told his parents that his name, “is not even a Bengali name” (Lahiri, 99). It is surprising that he still wants to connect to his ethnicity when he is not a fan of his family’s way of living. You’d think that he would want an American name since we don’t see him enjoying his Indian heritage. Despite initially having a unique name, he believes it is the source of the embarrassment and frustration he feels. Even though it is caused by his confusion of identity.

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“[Nickhil] had no ABCD friends at college. He avoids them, for they remind him too much of the way his parents choose to live, befriending people not so much because they like them, but because of a past they happen to share.” (Lahiri, 119).

Unlike his parents, Nikhil doesn’t think of the past but rather lives in the present. His ways of fitting in the American society reminds me of Arnold, a native American, from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Seen as a traitor by his community, Arnold is stuck between two worlds: his life on the reservation and the white high school he attends. The character feels that he belongs nowhere and struggles to create an identity for himself.

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Arnold has a worse situation as he fights poverty, despair, and hate unlike Nikhil. Despite the circumstances, Arnold has the strength to fight and still had hope. Nikhil does not feel comfortable with his Indian acquaintances and Arnold is bullied on the reservation for his physical disadvantages. At Arnold’s school, Reardan, he earns the respect of his classmates and decides to detach himself from his unpleasant life. Meanwhile, Nikhil escapes the expectations and traditions of his family.

Girls. Girls. Girls.

They don’t love you Gogol, but they adore Nikhil. It seems that he does not want to be associated with his Indian heritage since he only dates girls outside of his ethnicity. The reason why I chose the title is because I felt that the author shared things that Gogol wouldn’t want us to know about.

I didn’t like how his relationship with his family became distant once he started dating Maxine. His parents were sad because they couldn’t understand why he ignored them. When Ashoke died, she asks Gogol if he wants to return to New Hampshire and learn to water ski. In my opinion, she is self-centered and controlling because she doesn’t consider the other side of the story. She even told Gogol, that he and Sonia can’t live with their mother forever even though she lives with her parents!

His sadness connects him to his parents’ grief during the death of their parents. The father’s death helped Gogol and Sonia become more mature and prioritize the important things in life. After all, the most painful goodbyes are the ones that were never told nor explained.

I wonder how Gogol’s life will be with Moushumi since it will be a future that he didn’t expect that forces him to accept  his culture and origin.

 

Arnold. Digital image. Proprofs. N.p., n.d. Web.

Confused Jackie Chen. Digital image. Quickmeme. N.p., n.d. Web.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Print.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.

Gogol Should Be Glad That Google Did Not Exist

For many reasons.

I just finished reading the first four chapters of this novel and I have to admit that I like it! The introduction had a slow pace however I appreciated the detailed description of the setting and the character’s feelings. In case I forgot to mention, the book is about an Indian family starting a new life in America and adapting to the western culture.

The book starts off with Ashima and Ashoke first meeting and stages of their marriage. My parents immigrated from Sudan to Canada and I realized that I do not know much about how my mom felt during pregnancy. My parents always talk about our friends and funny stories of us growing up. I do not like to ask her because I’m disgusted by it and she would tease me on why I would want to know….

Gogol is so relatable in terms of identity! I always cringe when someone questions my nationality or/and nationality. I have come to accept the fact that I will never belong anywhere which I don’t mind since I hope to live a nomadic life in the future. For now, I’m Sudanese in Canada and Canadian in Sudan. In terms of other countries, I’m seen as just a member of my race.

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Ashoke feels comfortable but Ashima wants to return home. I do not know if it is me, but they always have this perspective in media. It is annoying. “On more than one occasion he has come home from the university to find her morose, in bed, rereading her parents’ letter” (33) displays Ashima’s dissatisfaction with her new life in America.

It is admirable how she values the relationships with her family and community. Her husband seems to enjoy the American life however she constantly compares her life in the United States to her life in India. She wants to remind herself of home by actively enjoying her culture and feels that she is not suited for America.

A line that was funny was, “He hates having to tell people that it doesn’t mean anything “in Indian” (76). He is really annoyed and self-conscious with his name! I wonder why he allows his name to have such a large negative impact on his life.

I can totally relate because when I introduce myself, people tell me that my name means hi in Spanish. It does not happen as often but it is extremely annoying. At the end of the day, I’m glad I do not have a common name.

In terms of theme, the book emphasizes the food and culture of the family. It is their way of remembering their native country through the meals, clothing, and ceremonies. The food really does bring the family together as they eat with each other. I hope Gogol will miss his mother’s cooking since nothing will taste the same.

 

Immigration to Canada from Sudan. Digital image. Immigrationcanadaservices. Canadian Government, n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2016.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Print.