Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 8 - Hua Mulan vs. Disney's Mulan

I cannot argue with the claim that Disney's Mulan has been westernized. I think that the Disney version of the story is definitely geared toward its audience -- the cartoon is full of song and dance, love, challenges to the traditional gender roles, and sexist stereotypes. While in comparison to Hua Mulan, the Disney version is very westernized, I would not say that it is "too" westernized. The changes made to the story do not strip it of its rich roots in Chinese culture, and the general story is the same. I think that maybe putting Disney's Mulan in more of an inferior role to the men in the army and having her fall in love with a man in charge takes away from the message of women being strong and brave, but in American culture the struggles to remain a secret and to suppress feelings for a man is something of value.

April 18 - Emerging Scholars

I would choose The Breadwinner as your book to teach in the summer program. I really enjoyed this book, and I think that it has good relevance in this day and age when Americans have a real interest/media interaction with the Middle East. I think that teaching this book would help to inform students about some Middle Eastern culture, as well as to show them a strong and determined young protagonist in Parvana. The Breadwinner would be appropriate because it generally deals with a culture and situation that is unfamiliar to American students, and so you wouldn't be singling out any particular race (as in African Americans by teaching Copper Sun, or Mexican Americans by teaching Esperanza Rising).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 22 - Black and White

As I read this book and write an answer to the Blog topic, I cannot help but think of the character Zero from Holes. The crime and punishment that goes on in the story reminds me of that of Zero -- he is the true criminal who tried to steal the shoes that Stanley takes the blame for. In Holes, the roles are reversed, as Stanley is the poor white kid who is wrongly punished for a crime, and Zero is the true criminal who escapes punishment for the original crime, but is caught stealing shoes shortly thereafter. I think that the blame follows Marcus in Black and White for a combination of race and wealth reasons -- while Eddie can afford an appropriate lawyer, Marcus uses one that is provided to him (an example of being disadvantaged due to money).

March 7 - Thompson Article

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February 28 - Fairytales

When I first think of fairy tales, I think of the genre that is made-up of old paper-back books like Rumpelstiltskin or Rapunzel. Although I love this genre today and really enjoyed it back when I was a child (in fact, those two fairy tales were my favorites because they were so bazaar), I do not find it to have a huge affect on my childhood. But when you think of fairy tales like the Disney versions that became movies, it is a different case. Disney's Mulan was one of my favorites and made me think automatically that I could sing, just like Mulan and the rest of the princesses. I would sing and sing all day long, just like the princesses did as they narrated their daily duties. Luckily, I realized that my singing abilities were not great early enough, and I stopped the habit. Other ways that fairy tales affected me would be that they caused me to look for a moral in stories -- when I was really young we did a unit of Alsop's Fables and I learned lessons in the end of each story. Fairy tales like Aladdin and Little Mermaid made me think that all women dressed in tight-fitting and scandalous costumes, and so I was pretty shocked to realize that not all women looked like Jasmine in real life. I remember wrapping myself in my bed sheet really tight around my legs so that my make-shift dress-up costume would look more like the 'real deal' when I was pretending to be Jasmine -- now I realize that Disney was just putting an image in my head and succeeded in making me think that beautiful was skin-deep and that displaying your body was the way to get a man.

February 21 - Park Article

I think that reading a piece specifically because of the author's fame is ridiculous. The celebrity-author craze is a money-making scheme, of course, that has no right to impose upon young readers. I don't think that adolescent literature deserves to be littered by pieces written by celebrities just for the sake of their fame, but if the piece itself is actually good, maybe it should be considered. I do not think that a person's fame should discredit them as an author automatically, but I think that the literature should be able to exist as good writing without the author's influence.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

High School Students Responses to Alternative Value Stances Associated with the Study of Multicultural Literature

This article relates directly to Esperanza Rising because it deals with multicultural texts in the classroom. I think that dealing with multiculturalism through literature can sometimes be difficult because students are not able to see the struggles that the characters face as they cross cultural barriers, but rather they must visualize the conflicts through the reading. I think that sometimes cross-cultural awareness comes easier to students through visual aids, like films. In Esperanza Rising, the use of Spanish language integrated into the text could be a difficult aspect for a young reader to deal with, but I think that the author purposely inflicts this struggle on the reader so that he/she will feel the same outsider-ness as Esperanza. In Anzaldua's works, something that I've been reading for an American Literature course, you see the same use of Spanish language in an English piece for the purpose of oppressing the oppressive society -- the English-speakers deserve to experience the challenges of the Spanish-speakers as they code switch and mingle languages to form "spanglish" and other dialects.