Friday, October 26, 2007

Outside Reading Literary Analysis Essay

Maria Blanek (-- =indentation)
4th hour
Everyone Can Succeed

-- Chinese Cinderella was written by Adeline Yen Mah to show her readers that they can be successful in life under any conditions growing up. Chinese Cinderella tells that through the hard times, an unloving family, and loneliness, everyone can be successful in life.
-- Adeline Yen Mah went through her whole childhood with series of hard times, yet she kept trying to be successful and she was. Adeline was always the smart one in school and was even elected the class president numerous times, yet while she was seen as really cool at school, it couldn't have been more opposite at home. She was always neglected at home by her father because her mother died shortly after giving birth to her so she was seen as bad luck, and no matter how hard she tried and tried to be noticed, she just wasn't accepted by her father. 'At the time of birth, big sister was six and a half years old. my three brothers were five, four and three. They blamed me for Mama's death and never forgave me' (page 4). This shows that they really do believe that she was the source of their mothers death, and it is really hard for her to have to live with that thought. Adeline was successful in life, even though she was going through hard times constantly for an issue that she didn't even have any control over.
-- Following the hard times was the fact that she had a very unloving family that she couldn't get the acceptance from. Her mother died when she was two weeks old, and a year her father remarried to a beautiful French-Chinese woman who had two kids with her father. These two step-siblings received all the attention and love from their mother and father, while he just ignored Adeline and her blood siblings. '"What gets me," Big sister said, "is the blatant inequality between her children and us. I wouldn't mind if all seven of us were treated the same way. If they really believed in traditional clothes, then all seven of us should be wearing them, not just the five of us"' (page 43). This is a quote said by Adeline's older sister when they were talking about their clothing that they received for the Chinese New Year celebration and how it was so monotonous in comparison to their step-siblings outfits. 'Since no one had ever come to visit me (let alone brought me an egg), it was humiliating to sit there morning after morning looking on, knowing my number would never come up. During one of these sessions, I usually pretend to be deaf and preoccupied' (page 163). This is explaining Adeline's experience at her boarding school every morning when there are eggs given to children whose parents bring to them as a special treat, and Adeline never has gotten one. On this same day, she received her first egg, and later on overheard her friend saying that she changed the number on her egg so that Adeline would get hers instead. Adeline grew up in a household where she received no credit for her hard work and got no acceptance or love from anyone yet still managed to give and show her absolute best through school, where she was successful.
-- Since Adeline was neglected by her family and was not allowed to be involved with any friends, she was always lonely. Adeline spent most all of her time away from school alone in her room and because her siblings always picked on her, she even tried to steer clear of them also. One time, a family friend came over and presented each of the seven kids with baby ducklings which they kept as pets. Adeline named hers PLT which stood for Precious Little Creature, and PLT was her best friend for a long while up until it was killed by the guard dog in a game that her father wanted to play and carelessly let PLT be killed. 'The tension seemed palpable while I hoped against hope that fate could be sidestepped in some way. Then PLT cocked her head in that familiar way of hers and spotted me. Chirping happily, she waddled unsteadily toward me. Tempted beyond endurance, Jackie sprang forward. In one powerful leap, he broke away from Father's restraint and pounced on PLT, who looked up at me pleadingly, as if I should have an answer to all her terror' (page 82). This occurred after dinner one night, Jackie being the guard dog, and Adeline was traumatized for the rest of her life over this reality of losing what was a best friend to her, yes, the next morning PLT was dead. Adeline was a very lonely girl because she was always ignored or picked on and she was not even allowed to have friends, and still, she was successful in the end.
-- Chinese Cinderella is a memoir that shows a true story of survival through hard times, hatred in family and loneliness can still lead someone to success when they get through it all. Adeline went on to college in college with her brother after she was in boarding school and got through to her father by winning an international children's play wright contest, being the first chinese child to win. Anyone who grows up a terrible regretted childhood can be just as successful in the future as anyone who grows up a perfectly shaped life.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Outside Reading Homework Section #5

Chinese Cinderella

It had been three days since Adeline's Aunt Reine had taken her out of her boarding school, and she was still very nervous becuase she knew that Niang didn't know of this news yet, and would most liekly be furious and blame her. Claudine and Victor, her step-cousins that she had never met before, are really nice and she likes them a lot more than her own siblings. They are getting on a ship to travel to Hong Kong to get away from the comunists that are taking control quickly of the whole northern part of China and advancing further south. On the ship, the three kids would spent most of their time playing hide and seek, but they also liked to go to the library and play Monoply, which Claudine was very good at. Adeline felt like she was a part f their family and not always getting the short end out, she even imagines getting adopted by them and never having to see Niang ever again. On their first night, there were only two beds in the girls' room and Adeline just assumed that it was for her. But then her Aunt Reine said "oh no, it's share and share alike in our family," and they drew papers to determine who was to sleep on the cot. Claudine ended up drawing the paper that showed 'cot,' and she slept there without any fuss at all. When their ship reached Hong Kong, the family was expecting Adeline's family to be there waiting to brig them to their home, but they were no where. So Reine called their house and they were home and told them to get a taxi to their house. When they arrived, Adeline's siblings were all gone except for her step-siblings, and no one greeted her. When she got inside, har grandfather was there and she was very happy to see him, and she thought that there was something different and familiar about him at the same time, and she figured out that he seemed defeated. The first time Niang derectly addressed Adeline was the next morning and she told her to stay home and give her Ye Ye (grandfather) a neck and back massage while she took Reine and the kids shopping. Adeline was happy for this and thought that maybe she had been foriven from Naing's wrath. When Adeline was talking with Ye Ye in chinese, she could hardly remember many words any longer because she had been in an english emmersion for so long.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Outside Reading Homework Section #4 Part 2

Chinese Cinderella

Adeline's friend, Wu Chun-mei, had been bugging her and wanting her to come over to her house for a long time, so finally she agreed to go over to her house for her birthday party on a special school holiday. Adeline wanted to do it then because she knew that she wasn't allowed to go to friends houses at all, so if Niang thought that she was just going to school like any other day, then she would get away with it. So Adeline went to her house on that Tuesday, and while she was there, they were about to have lunch, so she said that she was supposed to go home for lunch instead of eating there (since she always went home lately because the school can't afford food due to no more rations from America). She went home and she was a little to early and Niang was in her room when she got there, Niang asked her why she was home so early and she replied saying that they got let out of class early, then Niang asked her what she had in her pocket (Adeline had been flipping a silver dollar coin in her hand in her pocket) and she said nothing, so Niang grabbed it and got really mad. She claimed that she had stolen it or that her aunt had given it to her and spoiled her too much, and she didn't like that very much, Adeline didn't tell her that aunt Baba had given it to her in award for her stellar grades and performance in school. Then Wu called her house, since Adeline had absentmindedly given her house number to her earlier, and so found out that Adeline had been at a party and that there was no school that day because of a special holiday, so she made Adeline stay home after that and when her father got home, she got whipped by him with the dog's whip. Adeline was told by her parents that she was going to be moved to Tianjin away from them in Shanghai and to a school. She was very sad and disappointed with herself because she was sure that she would never see her friends ever again, and she would not probably see her aunt Baba for a long time if ever again. She flew to Tianjin with her father and Niang, and while they were on the flight, her father had to fill out a card for her to be on the plane, and he needed help because he had forgotten her name (HIS OWN DAUGHTER'S NAME!!!!!) and her birthday, she obviously knew her name, but she didn't know her birthday, because since she was a step child, her birthday was not celebrated, let alone acknowledged. Then they arrived in Tianjin and they dropped off Adeline at her boarding school. There were very few children because a different dynasty was taking control of China bit by bit, and Tianjin was soon to be on their map, and therefore all of the residents in the areas and towns that they were taking over were being persecuted or imprisoned. Pretty soon, all of the other children at this boarding school had been brought home by their parents and most likely moved away, and so Adeline was the only person there except for the sisters (nuns). One day Adeline was playing outside of the school throwing a ball up against a wall trying to get it to go as far as she could through it up, when Mother Marie said that her ant had come to get her and bring her to hong Kong the following week. Adeline was so excited that aunt Baba had finally come to get her, but when she got to the front door, it was not aunt Baba. This lady was her aunt from Niang's side, Niang's sister. So she brought Adeline to a place where they were to stay until they left for Hong Kong next week. The lady was really nice Adeline thought and she had two kids, a daughter of age 9, and a son of age 10. Adeline asked her if Niang knew that she had gotten her out of the boarding school, and she said no, that she hadn't had the chance to get a hold of her at all. Adeline was so afraid of what Naing might do when she saw her, she couldn't think of anything worse than going back to her family. They didn't want her anyways.

Outside Reading Homework Section #4 Part 1

Chinese Cinderella

Quote #1
'They had tossed me aside like a piece of garbage.' (p. 127)
Quote #2
'Now they knew the pathetic truth! Unloved and unwanted by my own parents! How long did it take
for a person to die of shame.' (p.115-116)

Said by Adeline Yen Mah's thoughts in Chinese Cinderella, these quotes show how much she really feels and is neglected. The first quote is used when Adeline had been dropped off at the boarding school, and Adeline had the realization that they were abndoning her there and didn't care about her enough anymore to even want her in the house. Then the second was used when Adeline's friends had come to her house after school and were congratulating her for winning and being nominated the President of her Class by her classmates, and all of her friends had thought that she had a loving family like the rest of them sinse she had kept her faimly issues to herself, and they saw that her step-mother beat her, and so now they all knew that and she had not wanted her friends to know any of that. These are important because they show what she is going through and how she feels in response to the actions her careless and hateful family.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Reflection

I really have no opinion on whether I actually like the book, Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but because of the fact that we had a certain amount of it schedueled to read through a class every night for homework. It was just another assignment to worry about and I didn't enjoy it that way. I enjoy reading books, but this one truly is a different story from some of the other ones I would choose to read, and it's hard to tell if it is in a good or a bad way. The book overall was good, but it was obnoxious to me in that it was written in the style of jumping to and from the past and his prior experiences in life. I did not much like that, mainly becasue I cound never figure if he is having a dream, recalling a past experiance, or just better in the future and out of his locked-in syndrome. I know that he otherwise wouldn't have had much of anything to say at all, but just his stories of him in the hospital, and the people visiting him there could have been a better book for me to read. However, I did really like the fact that he was making it almost a comedy at the same time a tragedy. It was good that he could have fun with the story and be humorus; accepted the fact that this was the condidtion he was in, yet still at that same time, he did not ever want to give in to his paralysis. He was very good at comparing experiences and feelings to real life concepts and even items, things such as the fact that his body was a 'diving bell' yet his mind was a 'butterfly.' I think that that really helps a reader like me see and imagine what he is going through and feeling, and that is a hard concept to pull off due to the fact that he is the one with locked-in syndrome and has issues such as not even being able to tell his own children that he loves them too. So overall, I could say that I did enjoy reading the book and getting a taste and a feel for this different style of a book, I guess that it has to do with the fact that it is a biography, and that is the feel of one.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Outside Reading Homework Section #3 Part 2

Chinese Cinderella

So far in the book, they have introduced all the characters of Adeline's family, the ones she likes and dislikes. How they get along and function as a family. All the children, except for their step-siblings, have hated their step-mother, Niang, and she has notoriously been the reason for all the commotion and anger among the family. The children's grandmother, Nai Nai, passed away when they were still living in Tianjin, and that was after father and Niang had disappeared somewhere and didn't come back for well over a year. Then they all moved to Shanghai, which was where father and Niang had been living for a year so that he could get away from the Jap Soldiers that were demanding to be his business partners. Now they lived there and went to school, Adeline had a few good friends, but they couldn't be so close because she was afraid she would get into trouble with Niang if she were to get caught playing with anyone of them. Then a few years later, big sister got engaged to be married to a man that their father had known his father.
I really feel moved by this story, mainly in that their idea of family is so much different than my experience of a family has been and my impression of a family. It really gives you a sense of what some other families and children are going through around the world, or maybe even right here in our own country. I can really connect with the fact that she had a pet duck that she was practically best friends with, not that I'm best friends with a pet, but I have a dog and a turtle that I too talk to sometimes which she quite often did. I can't really connect with the idea of hating my family though which she did, and that makes me sad and wonder what it would be like living with people that you can't wait to get away from and don't get any attention from ever. I also don't think I could live with the idea that I can't ever be with my friends outside of school because of fright that I will be punished in a big way from my step-mother, and that my biological father wouldn't do anything or try anything to help me or any of my siblings out at all.

Outside Reading Homework Section #3 Part 1

Chinese Cinderella

Summary of Section 3
At school, Adeline met one girl named Wu Chun-mei, and she was the most athletic girl at the school. They became very good friends and since Adeline would never accept a ride to or from school, out of fright that Niang may catch her and punish her, Wu Chun-mei would walk with her if she saw her on her way to or from school. Then America won World War II in 1942 when they bombed Japan, so China was now free of the Japanese soldiers that used to occupy everything. The US soldiers would come, and the children from school would go to greet and welcome them. After a little while, Hollywood came to China, so all the American actors and people became faces if China also. Then Wu Chun-mei loaned Adeline a book called A Little Princess which she'd said was one of her favorites. Adeline read the book and it was a story about a girl who was an heiress and then was on her own and with no money because she'd lost her father. One day, some family friends brought seven ducklings for a present to the children. Adeline named hers 'Precious Little Gift' or PLT for short. She grew very fond of the duck and the duck recognized that Adeline was there to take care of her and she could trust her. Then one day, she was digging up worms for PLT, and the dog bit her in the arm. Then later that same day, the dog attacked PLT who got a broken leg and died by the next morning. Her father and Niang had been going out of town on business, and had been bringing big sister with them, who later got engaged to a man she had been introduced to on one of the business trips. She had a grand wedding ceremony, during which Adeline overheard her Grand Aunt tell Niang about the necklace she had given Aunt Baba to give to big sister. Big sister had gotten the necklace and didn't want Aunt Baba to tell anyone, especially Niang, about the necklace so that she wouldn't have to give it to her. So Adeline went to tell big sister that Niang now knew that she had the necklace, who in turn went to Niang and told her that Aunt Baba had told her to not tell anyone that she had the necklace so that she could keep it. So she got Aunt Baba in trouble because she didn't want to get in trouble.

About the author
Adeline Yen Mah was born on Tianjin, China. Her mother passed away two weeks after Adeline was born. She was considered bad luck to the family because of that. Her father remarried a few years later to a beautiful French/Chinese woman, who took over the house and was mean to all the children except for her own biological children. She is now a physician and a writer. She lives in London, Hong Kong, and her home is in Huntington Beach, California with her husband and her two kids.

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