November 24, 2008
Woman Warrior is an interesting book since the book has a writing style that destroys Western literature’s emphasis on the distintinction between reality and fantasy a.k.a interpretation. But even this is too generalized to say about Maxine Hong Kingston’s writing style. Reality is pretty much down to earth: reality is something that can be regarded as “facts” or “evidence” such as names, place, or numbers. However, I think Maxine Hong Kingston does something more while effectively integrating reality and “fantasy.” She integrates different kinds of “fantasy” such as intepretation, autobiography, investigation, and narrative. Therefore, I can understand why the author of Woman Warrior at 30 acknowledges that
it is a book without a genre
In fact I agree with the author of the blog post that Woman Warrior integrates these different genres very simply that even the readers cannot distinguish which is which. One moment I was reading a fact and suddenly I was reading “fantasy.”
But also I have to agree with different critics such as the report from Dartmouth college that Woman Warrior tried too many things at once. Chapter One of Woman Warrior started out nicely by showing Maxine Hong Kingston weaving facts and her narrative and interpretation together. However, as the plot got more “audacious” as the Woman Warrior at 30 said, she put in too much genre. For example, in “White Tigers” she was giving the fact version of Fa Mu Lan and her interpretation of what Fa Mu Lan might have thought and t hen she gives her intrepretation of the story and the she also gives interpretation of others actions and beliefs. Then she ends the book with her interpretation of her own actions. But this gets worse in Chapter 3 “Shaman” when she suddenly throws in different myths about Chinese big eaters and story about her mother’s back-breaking labor and more interpretation from Kingston.
Despite this argument though, I found “White Tigers” very interesting: even more than “No Name Woman” and “Shaman.” This was because I was able to understand what Kingston was trying to do when she said
I made my mind large, so it would have room for paradoxes
according to Woman Warrior at 30. In fact, I was able to see what she was doing in “White Tigers” when said this because I knew what she was going to do: invent paradoxes. Thus I figured it was pointless to spend 10 minutes each paragraph figuring what if the content was factual or made-up.
November 23, 2008
1. What does Kim say is the most likely explanation for the high dropout rate among Koreans?
Kim says the most likely explanation for this phenomenon is lack of integration of American culture among Korean students since they are forced to study rather than participate in extra curricular activities. Kim considers extra curricular activities to be a crucial factor for foreign students like Korean students to effectively adapt to American culture. However, since these students are forced by their parents to choose study over activities, Koreans cannot get used to American life-style ultimately resulting in high drop out rate among Koreans. Kim’s explanation shows Korean parents’ distorted view of extra curricular activities; to Korean parents extracurricular activities are like Internet games rather than development of personal intersts into life-long passion.
2. How does the dropout rate among Koreans compare to the dropout rate among other groups?
Drop out rate among Koreans is the highest among other groups like Americans (34%), Indians (21%), and Chinese (25%). The fact that drop out rate among Chinese is higher than that of Koreans is especially shocking since Chinese and Koreans share similar ambition towards education. Whether Chinese were more aggressive towards the integration of American life-style or not, Koreans have a seriousness weakness that would cost them not only money but perhaps credibility to presitgious colleges.
3. What are you currently doing to increase your own college readiness? Is there anything you think you should do before you graduate from high school to be better prepared for university?
I am currently working on my attitude towards academics and my knowledge to prepare for college-level education. I am trying to work hard in every assignment during 2nd Semester so I could overcome this attitude of “oh-I-do-not-care-because-I-am-accepted-to-college.” In college, it’s not so much as grade anymore- it’s about passion. Although I am not sure I can kindle a sense of passion towards every class I take, I should make sure I get rid of this attitude towards education. In order to do this, I think I will study something on my own about something that interests me. I should try to read more books on various subjects and try having academic discussion with anyone I can find- teachers, friends, and my family.
4. What else do you think about this article?
I think this is a good realistic blow to Korean students and parents. I have been always suspicious about ambitious Korean students going to Ivy League schools because they seem to be too focused on studying rather than socializing. What’s more, these students are proud that they are only studying; when I was in forensics competition where international schools and foreign language schools would compete against each other, these Daewon and Minsago students would look down at us because we do not study 24/7. I thought there was something wrong with that argument and tried to argue back but I just did not have to statistics or solid evidence to back up my evidence. Well, this article will be of good use for me in the future whenever Korean school students “mock” our school for not forcing students to study 24/7.
November 23, 2008
The following paragraphs are responses to three of the questions from Mr. Jones’s Blog for Frontline documentary called Young and Restess In China. After viewing the video, I was quite impressed with the way Frontline portrayed lives of nine Chinese. Some of them fit perfectly into the category of ambitious “new” Chinese while some others fit into other categories.
- Why do you think the Chinese government has nicknamed the young people coming home from abroad “returning turtles?”
- How do you think their work or educational experiences abroad have affected their ambitions in China?
- Why do you think these young people have returned to China?
This is because young turtles return to their birthplace after a period of time to hatch their eggs. This habit of turtles certainly makes an appropriate name for returning Chinese. With their Western education and experience, I think they are some of the more ambitious people in China. In fact, these “returning turtles” do know they have an advantage over other Chinese because they got access to “higher” education and values which means that they will be able to use knowledge that other Chinese do not have to do their business. Furthermore, their educational experiences abroad might have affected them to start their own business. As we see from the film, Ben Wu and Xu Weimin both started their own business. I think this was because they were affected by Western education which has a handful of businessmen who became millionaires after starting their own business. Also, I think the concept of opportunity taught in Western education has boosted up their ambition. Capitalist values instilled in American and other foreign education emphasizes the importance of finding and seizing the opportunity. Historically, we have seen this emphasis of opportunity in American history in California Gold Rush and government advertisement for Oregon and Texas. Thus, opportunity was one of the factors that made these young Chinese to return as we can see from the way Lu Dong talked about China’s 9 million shirt market and the way that he referred China as the land of opportunity. Family and home would be another issue that got these Chinese to return. Just like many professional Indian workers, these Chinese would have preferred to work in their native country where they are much comfortable to work in. They do not have to get used to new values and cultures.
2. In what ways do you think Ben Wu, the entrepreneur launching the Internet cafe, is representative of the “new” China?
Like I said in the previous paragraph, ambition and knowledge would be two of the characteristics that Ben Wu is representative of the “new” China. During this period of globalization, knowledge became easier to obtain and more crucial for success. With opportunities and technology such as Internet and over-seas education, young Chinese are very keen about knowledge. For example, Ben Wu was able to utilize his Western education to design and operate his cafe which became pretty successful. As a result, Ben Wu shows that knowledge is important for the “new” China since knowledge can be used to create something unique, which would eventually help achieve success. Ambition is another characteristic Ben Wu is representative of the “new” China. Ben Wu worked all day long between his job and his Internet Cafe. This would have quickly sapped energy and determination from one’s body and mind, but Ben Wu endured this with his ambition for success. He also used his ambition to look for ways to update his Internet Cafe and build more cafes throughout China. Moreover, I think his ambition helped him to quickly realize China’s way of doing business: bribery and to some extent corruption. Although we do not know if he succumbed to bribery or not, Ben Wu’s ambition made him alert enough to read what was going on. This way, Ben Wu shows that ambition defines “new” China. With ambition, “new” Chinese are able to constantly experiment with new ideas and expand business. In addition, ambition makes these young Chinese alert and “restless.”
3. Lu Dong likens Chinese ambition to a poor kid going into a candy store and grabbing too much candy because he has been hungry for so long.
- Is this an apt analogy about China?
- Propose another analogy to describe Chinese ambition.
I think this analogy is appropriate about China. Since China has been poor for so long, it is natural for these Chinese to scurry for money. China’s poverty has turned on Chinese instinct for success, so they could satiate their thirst for plentiful and comfortable life. This analogy about China distinctly contradicts with Siddhartha’s attitude towards money from Siddhartha. Siddartha got bored of earning lot of money so after earning a lot, he would intentionally spend money. Afterwards, he would start earning money again so he could feel that rush of energy and life. Later, Siddhartha had no attraction towards money whatsoever. This is certainly the opposite of Chinese ambition for success. I would compare Chinese ambition to a bunch of fish living in drying river migrating to another river fresh with water. In this process of migration, some fish would die and some would succeed, just like some Chinese facing failure and others savoring their success.