Seeing Art As Molded Through Oppression – Langston Hughes’ “Bop”

Throughout history, there have been instances in which art springs from centers of oppression, and when we look into music, we’ll find that the blues genre sprouted in the vegetable and cotton fields as slaves toiled the land and sang their song of pain, and later inheriting this sad song onto their descendants.  In Langston Hughes essay “Bop,” the character Simple asserts that bebop or early modern jazz was born out of police brutality.  As if the strike of the billy club brought about bebop much as the often hellish and depressing environment of being a southern plantation slave can inspire the artful mode of music, which has branched out setting the groundwork for genres such as Rock’n’Roll, Rhythm and Blues and Hip Hop or Rap.  Seeing immoral acts in life can become a very inconvenient truth that people have to process in some way – some process it by creating art.  As Langston writes that “They think it’s just crazy crazy.  They do not know that Bop is also MAD CRAZY, SAD CRAZY, FRANTIC WILD CRAZY – beat out of somebody’s head!  That’s what Bop is.”  This quote from Langston is the author trying to demonstrate that the art is the product of what has been beat out of the person.  They have been changed by the abuse of their environment, and the artwork is a reflection of that prolonged abuse.  Every hit over the head by the police officer cannot beat down the artist or musician, but instead alters them and their work as all living things learn to adapt in light of the predators in their environments.  Their art then becomes a response to the oppression, and this can as well be frantic, sad, mad, wild and crazy.  Yet, so much beautiful art and expression arises from experiencing the living hell of the world.

If you’d like to see the article I read, which informed me about the origins of the blue genre, then you should check out this link:

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/a-brief-history-of-the-blues-by-ed-kopp.php

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Craft Exercise: Richard Rodriguez’s “Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood”

Directions:

Note the ideas, or themes, that Rodriguez advances argumentatively in these passages from “Aria.” Write them down in a complete sentence or two. Next, identify passages in the memoir in which Rodriguez addresses the same themes more evocatively through autobiographical reminiscence. Then, offer in a complete sentence, or more, your thoughts on how the two work together: how, together, do the expository argument and the personal reminiscence 1) advance Rodriguez’s argument and 2) produce the emotional or other effect of the memoir. Finally, consider, in writing, how effective you find this autobiographical approach to be, both as a whole and in any of the individual instances in which you find it more, or less, effective.


Many years later there is something called bilingual education – a scheme proposed in the late 1960s by Hispanic American social activists, later endorsed by a congressional vote. It is a program that seeks to permit nonEnglish-speaking children, many from lower-class homes, to use their family language as the language of school. (Such is the goal its supporters announce.) I hear them and am forced to say no: It is not possible for a child – any child – ever to use his family’s language in school. Not to understand this is to misunderstand the public uses of schooling and to trivialize the nature of intimate life – a family’s “language.”

***

Supporters of bilingual education today imply that students like me miss a great deal by not being taught in their family’s language. What they seem not to recognize is that, as a socially disadvantaged child, I considered Spanish to be a private language. What I needed to learn in school was that I had the right – and the obligation – to speak the public language of los gringos. The odd truth is that my first-grade classmates could have become bilingual, in the conventional sense of that word, more easily than I. Had they been taught (as upper-middle-class children are often taught early) a second language like Spanish or French, they could have regarded it simply as that: another public language. In my case such bilingualism could not have been so quickly achieved. What I did not believe was that I could speak a single public language. Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid. I would have trusted them and responded with ease. But I would have delayed – for how long postponed? – having to learn the language of public society. I would have evaded – and for how long could I have afforded to delay? – learning the great lesson of school, that I had a public identity.

***

Today I hear bilingual educators say that children lose a degree of “individuality” by becoming assimilated into public society. (Bilingual schooling was popularized in the seventies, that decade when middle-class ethnics began to resist the process of assimilation – the American melting pot.) But the bilingualists simplistically scorn the value and necessity of assimilation. They do not seem to realize that there are two ways a person is individualized. So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality. The bilingualists insist that a student should be reminded of his difference from others in mass society, his heritage. But they equate mere separateness with individuality. The fact is that only in private-with intimates-is separateness from the crowd a prerequisite for individuality. (An intimate draws me apart, tells me that I am unique, unlike all others.) In public, by contrast, full individuality is achieved, paradoxically, by those who are able to consider themselves members of the crowd. Thus it happened for me: Only when I was able to think of myself as an American, no longer an alien in gringo society, could I seek the rights and opportunities necessary for full public individuality. The social and political advantages I enjoy as a man result from the day that I came to believe that my name, indeed, is Rich-heard Road-reeguess. It is true that my public society today is often impersonal. (My public society is usually mass society.) Yet despite the anonymity of the crowd and despite the fact that the individuality I achieve in public is often tenuous – because it depends on my being one in a crowd – I celebrate the day I acquired my new name. Those middle-class ethnics who scorn assimilation seem to me filled with decadent self-pity, obsessed by the burden of public life. Dangerously, they romanticize public separateness and they trivialize the dilemma of the socially disadvantaged. My awkward childhood does not prove the necessity of bilingual education. My story discloses instead an essential myth of childhood – inevitable pain. If I rehearse here the changes in my private life after my Americanization, it is finally to emphasize the public gain. The loss implies the gain: The house I returned to each afternoon was quiet. Intimate sounds no longer rushed to the door to greet me. There were other noises inside. The telephone rang. Neighborhood kids ran past the door of the bedroom where I was reading my schoolbooks – covered with shoppingbag paper. Once I learned public language, it would never again be easy for me to hear intimate family voices. More and more of my day was spent hearing words. But that may only be a way of saying that the day I raised my hand in class and spoke loudly to an entire roomful of faces, my childhood started to end.

***

In recent years there have been attempts to make the language of the alien public language. “Bilingual education, two ways to understand … ,” television and radio commercials glibly announce. Proponents of bilingual education are careful to say that they want students to acquire good schooling. Their argument goes something like this: Children permitted to use their family language in school will not be so alienated and will be better able to match the progress of English-speaking children in the crucial first months of instruction. (Increasingly confident of their abilities, such children will be more inclined to apply themselves to their studies in the future.) But then the bilingualists claim another, very different goal. They say that children who use their family language in school will retain a sense of their individuality – their ethnic heritage and cultural ties. Supporters of bilingual education thus want it both ways. They propose bilingual schooling as a way of helping students acquire the skills of the classroom crucial for public success. But they likewise insist that bilingual instruction will give students a sense of their identity apart from the public. Behind this screen there gleams an astonishing promise: One can become a public person while still remaining a private person. At the very same time one can be both! There need be no tension between the self in the crowd and the self apart from the crowd! Who would not want to believe such an idea? Who can be surprised that the scheme has won the support of many middle class Americans? If the barrio or ghetto child can retain his separateness even while being publicly educated, then it is almost possible to believe that there is no private cost to be paid for public success. Such is the consolation offered by any of the current bilingual schemes. Consider, for example, the bilingual voters’ ballot. In some American cities one can cast a ballot printed in several languages. Such a document implies that a person can exercise that most public of rights-the right to vote-while still keeping apart, unassimilated from public life.

It is not enough to say that these schemes are foolish and certainly doomed. Middle-class supporters of public bilingualism toy with the confusion of those Americans who cannot speak standard English as well as they can. Bilingual enthusiasts, moreover, sin against intimacy. An Hispanic-American writer tells me, “I will never give up my family language; I would as soon give up my soul.” Thus he holds to his chest a skein of words, as though it were the source of his family ties. He credits to language what he should credit to family members. A convenient mistake. For as long as he holds on to words, he can ignore how much else has changed in his life. It has happened before. In earlier decades, persons newly successful and ambitious for social mobility similarly seized upon certain “family words.” Working-class men attempting political power took to calling one another “brother.” By so doing they escaped oppressive public isolation and were able to unite with many others like themselves. But they paid a price for this union. It was a public union they forged. The word they coined to address one another could never be the sound (brother) exchanged by two in intimate greeting. In the union hall the word “brother” became a vague metaphor; with repetition a weak echo of the intimate sound. Context forced the change. Context could not be overruled. Context will always guard the realm of the intimate from public misuse. Today nonwhite Americans call “brother” to strangers. And white feminists refer to their mass union of “sisters.” And white middle-class teenagers continue to prove the importance of context as they try to ignore it. They seize upon the idioms of the black ghetto. But their attempt to appropriate such expressions invariably changes the words. As it becomes a public expression, the ghetto idiom loses its sound – Its message of public separateness and strident intimacy. It becomes with public repetition a series of words, increasingly lifeless. The mystery remains: intimate utterance. The communication of intimacy passes through the word to enliven its sound. But it cannot be held by the word. Cannot be clutched or ever quoted. It is too fluid. It depends not on word but on person.

***

I learn little about language and intimacy listening to those social activists who propose using one’s family language in public life. Listening to songs on the radio, or hearing a great voice at the opera, or overhearing the woman downstairs singing to herself at an open window, I learn much more. Singers celebrate the human voice. Their lyrics are words. But animated by voice those words are subsumed into sounds. I listen with excitement as the words yield their enormous power to sound – though the words are never totally obliterated. In most songs the drama or tension results from the fact that the singer moves between word (sense) and note (song). At one moment the song simply “says” something. At another moment the voice stretches out the words – the heart cannot contain!—and the voice moves toward pure sound. Words take flight. Singing out words, the singer suggests an experience of sound most intensely mine at intimate moments. Literally, most songs are about love. (Lost love; celebrations of loving; pleas.) By simply being occasions when sound escapes word, however, songs put me in mind of the most intimate moments of my life. Finally, among all types of song, it is the song created by lyric poets that I find most compelling. There is no other public occasion of sound so important for me. Written poems exist on a page, at first glance, as a mere collection of words. And yet, despite this, without musical accompaniment, the poet leads me to hear the sounds of the words that I read. As song, the poem passes between sound and sense, never belonging for long to one realm or the other. As public artifact, the poem can never duplicate intimate sound. But by imitating such sound, the poem helps me recall the intimate times of my life. I read in my room – alone—and grow conscious of being alone, sounding my voice, in search of another. The poem serves then as a memory device. It forces remembrance. And refreshes. It reminds me of the possibility of escaping public words, the possibility that awaits me in meeting the intimate. The poems I read are not nonsense poems. But I read them for reasons which, I imagine, are similar to those that make children play with meaningless rhyme. I have watched them before: I have noticed the way children create private languages to keep away the adult; I have heard their chanting riddles that go nowhere in logic but harken back to some kingdom of sound; I have watched them listen to intricate nonsense rhymes, and I have noted their wonder. I was never such a child. Until I was six years old, I remained in a magical realm of sound. I didn’t need to remember that realm because it was present to me. But then the screen door shut behind me as I left home for school. At last I began my movement toward words. On the other side of initial sadness would come the realization. that intimacy cannot be held. With time would come the knowledge that intimacy must finally pass. I would dishonor those I have loved and those I love now to claim anything else. I would dishonor our closeness by holding on to a particular language and calling it my family language. Intimacy is not trapped within words. It passes through words. It passes. The truth is that intimates leave the room. Doors close. Faces move away from the window. Time passes. Voices recede into the dark. Death finally quiets the voice. And there is no way to deny it. No way to stand in the crowd, uttering one’s family language.

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No Name Woman – Brian’s Response

“-could such people engender a prodigal aunt? To be a woman, to have a daughter in starvation time was a waste enough. My aunt could not have been the lone romantic who gave up everything for sex. Women in the old China did not choose. Some man had commanded her to lie with him and be his secret evil. I wonder whether he masked himself when he joined the raid on her family.” (Kingston)

Women were held in such high regard to control their sexual desires, be models of purity so much that when they divert from the norms, they become punished heavily.  And since, women mostly didn’t chose their sexual partners, it is quite likely the man who impregnated her had done so against her own will.  There is a continuing theme of the ruined woman; ruined through sex and sin, disturbing the fabric of the family and of the community – and especially during times of great hungry within a village, this transgression can turn hostile against the transgressor.  She covered up the identity and responsibility of the man involved with impregnated her while her husband was away, but he didn’t come to her side when she became a pariah in her community and even (and most especially hurtful) within her own family. There’s nothing romantic about your freedom being restricted so much, so that when you violate the unwritten law of the village and household, you become an outcast and left out into the lonely void outside the family and community, where you must walk alone and wallow in your own despair.  This alienation can be too much for some to bear like this no named woman, the author’s aunt, who plunged to her death, since she dishonored her family and became forever effaced from the family tree.  The man who impregnated her might as well been one of her attackers (he could very well have been); he too abandoned the author’s aunt at a time when she was the most hurt and cut off from the people she loved in her life.

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No name woman

Maxine Hong’s memoir of her aunt and her hardship in China fascinated me. I would have never expected being a woman in a family such as hers would bring such hardship. Her aunt had been suspected of being pregnant,and even Hong’s mother didn’t suspect that she was until time showed, with her stomach growing the same as other expecting mothers. It was this essay that immediately reminded me of the “Joy Luck Club”, a movie about four Asian women retelling their younger days in China before immigrating to America. One of the women retells her daughter when she met a wealthy young man, handsome, rich, and who had been quite fresh in seducing her. They married and soon she beared his first-born son. However, while being married to him, he went out, and often brought women home. Although she was the first wife, he treated her as if she was nothing. It was during one night, when she was giving her son a bath, that her feelings of hatred that she harbored for so long, were finally let out, unfortunately taken out on her son, that when she came to her senses, she realized she had drowned him, and held his lifeless body in her arms as she cried the rest of the night. This connects to when Hong’s aunt committed suicide right after she gave birth to her newborn. Death involving water seemed to connect these two events.

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Aria: a memoir of a bilingual childhood

Growing up in  a  family that spoke both Spanish  and  English, I fully sympathize with Rodriguez’s struggle to learn a new language. The English language is one of the most complex languages to learn in the world, with complex vocabulary, not to mention slang words that seem to pop up like daisies each week. As a kid, whenever I’d tell people what my background was, they’d immediately jump to conclusions and assume I spoke perfect Spanish. If only they knew. Rodriguez recalls having entered a classroom, only knowing “fifty stray words.” That line resonated with me; I had many difficulties trying to learn a language that was supposed to be native to me; I was supposed to magically translate what was being said in English. I’d listen carefully, trying to decipher the words, listening to the speed, the tone of the conversation, the emotion that was being put into the words coming out of their mouths. Once I got an idea of what was said, I roughly translated it. On lucky occasions, I was right, but most of the time I wasn’t as correct as I thought I’d be. Most people said I should have learnt the language, or try; that it’d give me pride. I felt as if they were silently scolding me behind those words. Feeling ashamed, I fell silent and said nothing else, as if the next thing I said would have sounded like an excuse. Rodriguez  and I share the same conflict: growing up as a Latino in America.

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Maxine Hong Kingston’s “No Name Woman” — Thematic Analysis

Directions:

Read all of the excerpts provided from Kingston’s “No Name Woman.” Reread them. As your read and reread, note recurring language by writing it down. Note recurring ideas, phenomena, and actions by writing down a world or phrase of your own to express the nature of that idea, phenomena, or action. Review your results. Look for relationships and patterns. These are themes. Articulate these themes in a brief composition of a paragraph, or two, or three.


“You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you. In China your father had a sister who killed herself. She jumped into the family well. We say that your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born.

***

She could not have been pregnant, you see, because her husband had been gone for years.

***

The old woman from the next field swept a broom through the air and loosed the spirits-of-the broom over our heads. ‘Pig.’ ‘Ghost.’ ‘Pig,’ they sobbed and scolded while they ruined our house.

***

“Don’t let your father know that 1 told you. He denies her. Now that you have started to menstruate, what happened to her could happen to you. Don’t humiliate us. You wouldn’t like to be forgotten as if you had never been born. The villagers are watchful.”

 

Whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one, a story to grow up on. She tested our strength to establish realities. Those in the emigrant generations who could not reassert brute survival died

young and far from home. Those of us in the first American generations have had to figure out how the invisible world the emigrants built around our childhoods fits in solid America.

 

The emigrants confused the gods by diverting their curses, misleading them with crooked streets and false names. They must try to confuse their offspring as well, who, I suppose, threaten them in similar ways-always trying to get things straight, always trying to name the unspeakable. The Chinese 1 know hide their names; sojourners take new names when their lives change and guard their real names with silence.

 

Chinese-Americans, when you try to understand what things in you are Chinese, how do you separate what is

peculiar to childhood, to poverty, insanities, one family, your mother who marked your growing with stories, from

what is Chinese? What is Chinese tradition and what is the movies?

 

If I want to learn what clothes my aunt wore, whether flashy or ordinary, 1 would have to begin, “Remember Father’s drowned-in-the-well sister?” I cannot ask that.

***

-could such people engender a prodigal aunt? To be a woman, to have a daughter in starvation time was a waste enough. My aunt could not have been the lone romantic who gave up everything for sex. Women in the old China did not choose. Some man had commanded her to lie with him and be his secret evil. I wonder whether he masked himself when he joined the raid on her family.

 

Perhaps she had encountered him in the fields or on the mountain where the daughters-in-law collected fuel. Or perhaps he first noticed her in the marketplace. He was not a stranger because the village housed no strangers. She had to have dealings with him other than sex. Perhaps he worked an adjoining field, or he sold her the cloth for the dress she sewed and wore. His demand must have surprised, then terrified her. She obeyed him; she always did as she was told.

***

She told the man, “I think I’m pregnant!’ He organized the raid against her.

***

My mother spoke about the raid as if she had seen it, when she and my aunt, a daughter-in-law to a different household, should not have been living together at all. Daughters-in-law lived with their husbands’ parents, not their own; a synonym for marriage in Chinese is “taking a daughter-in-law!’ Her husband’s parents could have sold her, mortgaged her, stoned her. But they had sent her back to her own mother and father, a mysterious act hinting at disgraces not told me. Perhaps they had thrown her out to deflect the avengers.

**

The heavy, deep-rooted women were to maintain the past against the flood, safe for returning. But the rare urge west had fixed upon our family, and so my aunt crossed boundaries not delineated in space.

 

The work of preservation demands that the feelings playing about in one’s guts not be turned into action. Just watch their passing like cherry blossoms. But perhaps my aunt, my forerunner, caught in a slow life, let dreams grow and fade and after some months or years went toward what persisted. Fear at the enormities of the forbidden kept her desires delicate, wire and bone.

**

Unless I see her life branching into mine, she gives me no ancestral help.

**

On a f arm near the sea, a woman who tended her appearance reaped a reputation f or eccentricity.

***

He used to put his naked penis on the dinner table, laughing. And one day he brought home a baby girl, wrapped up inside his brown western-style greatcoat. He had traded one of his sons, probably my father, the youngest, for her. My grandmother made him trade back. When he finally got a daughter of his own, he doted on her. They must have all loved her, except perhaps my father, the only brother who never went back to China, having once been traded for a girl.

 

Brothers and sisters, newly men and women, had to efface their sexual color and present plain miens. Disturbing hair and eyes, a smile like no other, threatened the ideal of five generations living under one roof.

***

Attraction eludes control so stubbornly that whole societies designed to organize relationships among people cannot keep order, not even when they bind people to one another from childhood and raise them together. Among the very poor and the wealthy, brothers married their adopted sisters, like doves. Our family allowed some romance, paying adult brides’ prices and providing dowries so that their sons and daughters could marry strangers. Marriage promises to turn strangers into friendly relatives-a nation of siblings.

 

In the village structure, spirits shimmered among the live creatures, balanced and held in equilibrium by time and land. But one human being flaring up into violence could open up a black hole, a maelstrom that pulled in the sky. The frightened villagers, who depended on one another to maintain the real, went to my aunt to show her a personal, physical representation of the break she had made in the”roundness.” Misallying couples snapped off the future, which was to be embodied in true offspring. The villagers punished her for acting as if she could have a private life, secret and apart from them.

***

When she felt the birth coming, she thought that she had been hurt. Her body seized together. “They’ve hurt me too much,” she thought. “This is gall, and it will kill me.” With forehead and knees against the earth, her body convulsed and then relaxed. She turned on her back, lay on the ground. The black well of sky and stars went out and out and out forever; her body and her complexity seemed to disappear. She was one of the stars, a bright dot in blackness, without home, without a companion, in eternal cold and silence. An agoraphobia rose in her, speeding higher and higher, bigger and bigger; she would not be able to contain it; there would no end to fear.

***

“Don’t tell anyone you had an aunt. Your father does not want to hear her name. She has never been born.” I have believed that sex was unspeakable and words so strong and fathers so frail that “aunt” would do my father mysterious harm. 1 have thought that my family, having settled among immigrants who had also been their neighbors in the ancestral land, needed to clean their name, and a wrong word would incite the kinspeople even here. But there is more to this silence: they want me to participate in her punishment. And I have.

 

In the twenty years since I heard this story I have not asked for details nor said my aunt’s name; 1 do not know it. People who can comfort the dead can also chase after them to hurt them further-a reverse ancestor worship. The real punishment was not the raid swiftly inflicted by the villagers, but the family’s deliberately forgetting her. Her betrayal so maddened them, they saw to it that she would sufFer forever, even after death. Always hungry, always needing, she would have to beg food from other ghosts, snatch and steal it from those whose living descendants give them gifts.

***

My aunt haunts me-her ghost drawn to me because now, after fifty years of neglect, I alone devote pages of paper to her, though not origamied into houses and clothes. 1 do not think she always means me well. I am telling on her, and she was a spite suicide, drowning herself in the drinking water. The Chinese are always very frightened of the drowned one, whose weeping ghost, wet hair hanging and skin bloated, waits silently by the water to pull down a substitute.

 

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Reading Response: “Aria…”

Rodriguez has such a connection with communication that his entire childhood is intertwined with learning how to speak another language. I could not help but draw a lot of similar information I’ve learned in another class (anthro 104). A second language is most easily learned at childhood when the language acquisition faculty is still present. Non native speakers can also recognize the accents and dialects of a different language (the high nasal notes of middle class American speech). Also, the personal notes of cultural identity are not unique to Rodriguez and his family. Spanish was his comfort zone, his security blanket during childhood. It was familiar and “private”. The household became a safe house from the alienated English speakers (or everyone).

Once English is learned well enough to become his primary language, Rodriguez felt a disconnect from his heritage, almost ashamed of abandoning his pleasant childhood home life. But as he grew older he heard more varieties and dialects. He comments about certain groups developing dialects because of their desire to feel separate from public opinion. Overall it is easy to assume that Rodriguez had a large period of soul searching, trying to label himself as bilingual and almost forgetting that the everyone else around him is growing as well. He finally finds contention by remembering that the relationships are more important than what language they speak. Stand outs: His father saying gringo pronunciation rather than Spanish. Military drum roll for the Spanish rolling “r”.

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No Name Woman

Kingston writes about an aunt whose existence is a mystery. Her mother brings the idea of her aunt up. But we never really know if the aunt exists. Kingston uses this story from her mother to also show different sides of her Chinese culture. One of the central themes discussed in this essay is femininity. Kingston illustrates how her aunt may have exaggerated her femininity in hopes of seducing a man. She also juxtaposes this luxurious image of her aunt with the image of the other women in the village who often wore conservative hairstyles. She goes on to explain that women were not supposed to put too much effort into their appearances. Throughout this essay a lot of emphasis is put on this idea of being too feminine and how much attention it would draw. Kingston explains the delicate balance that needs to be maintained to be an accepted woman in this village. On one hand women basically do not exist without men. There is no reason that a woman should be associating with a man unless there is a reason for it. At the same time, this gives all the power to the men and they are able to treat the women however they want. This begs the question: Did Kingston’s aunt seek this man out? Or was it the other way around? Kingston illustrates her aunt with a lot of imagination as she is given little information to go on. Kingston uses the cues of her culture to put the pieces of her aunt’s story together.

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“No Name Woman”- Response

In the essay “No Name Woman” by Maxine Hong Kingston, the reader is given a peek into Chinese Culture with a disturbing story. The story is about her nameless aunt who became pregnant after her husband went to America. Since the aunt had committed adultery, the whole family was disgraced and assaulted by the villagers. The villagers slaughtered the family’s animal and raided their house for the aunt’s actions. Kingston does a great job in painting scenes when talking about the riot by the villagers. The aunt committed suicide a day later, after the uproar by the town. The aunt’s family decides to not recognize her existence after that day. The aunt’s actions had brought too much disgrace onto the family. This was an eye opening look into traditional Chinese families. In the Chinese communities men and women were expect to act a certain way. If you didn’t fit into the guidelines set by the people, then you would be shunned by them.

The author’s mother was the individual who recounted to her this story. Kingston in the essay was aware of the reasoning for her mother to bring up this story. Kingston mother didn’t want her to walk down the same path as her aunt. I don’t know if this story is fiction or not. The reason I think this is because of the moment her mother decided to bring it up. The author was beginning to enter womanhood. Possibly it was her mom’s method for telling her not to bring embarrassment to the family.

 

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Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood by Richard Rodriguez

Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood by Richard Rodriguez was a very relatable reading because I am actually bilingual too, to a certain extent. I thought it was rather interesting the way the author makes certain connections between his native language Spanish and this sense of intimacy that revolves around his initial mother tongue. Furthermore, Richard progresses into developing a sense of identity within himself when he is immersed with the English language. Although Richard is an American citizen there is a disconnection when he socially acquires his role in society. There are some very crucial scenes where the author places much focus on the way he perceives sounds and the exquisite detail that he captures when listening. He also mentions that upon entering the academic world in school he spent most of his time listening to the people around him because he felt foreign from everyone. There is a sense that the author developed this intimacy with Spanish because it was a way to freely communicate at home with his parents. Richard Rodriguez also mentions that after the nuns from his Catholic school came to his house and asked his mother and father to speak English at home, that there was a drastic shift. The house became silent and the romance between Spanish and the connection with family was diminished. There are a couple of crucial points that I would like to disagree with in Richard’s work which is the myths that are mentioned that Bilingualism can cause delay and even damage the amount of knowledge that Richard could have gained     in his child development stage. Through my personal research I have discovered studies and research that provide insight that learning another language can actually enhance the learning and development of growth. As I mentioned before I can relate to this reading because I am an Ohio born American citizen, who is fluent in both English and Russian. When I was growing up similar to Richard we spoke only Russian at home because my grandparents’ were refugees in this new country they did not understand the language. It was ok because in all reality my grandparents never really had to learn the language they were content with living in Russian neighborhoods where everything was clearly accessible within their communities. But I would like to note that my brother and I grew with a Russian speaking childhood and we are just a fluent in Russian as we are in English. I don’t think bilingualism provides a delay for students on the contrary I feel as though this increases people’s knowledge and ability to connect through a means of communication.

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