Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thoughts on The Namesake By Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake is a New York Times Bestseller novel written by Jhumpa Lahiri. The book starts off with a woman, Ashima Ganguli, and her experience of giving birth. A third person narrates this story of a family of three, two immigrants and their first generation child. Personally, I thought that the narrative shifts greatly so far throughout the book. At the start, I was confused because I expected the book to be about a boy but it was about two married adults. As the story unwraps, the narration starts focusing more on Gogol, Ashima and Ashoke's son. The narrative takes some unexpected turns that I never would have imagined from the start of the book. So far, the book is so exciting and full of vivid description.
Personally, the book felt really relatable to me. As an immigrant from another Asian country, I felt the same things Ashima felt living overseas in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The vivid descriptions of the change in setting and Ashima's inner feelings really spoke to me. A friend pointed out a quote to me that initially resonated with me but I didn't pay much attention to. Rereading it again, I realize that it is hard to find more accurate descriptions of how I feel at times to this very day. The quote is: "For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy – a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been ordinary life, only to discover that that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding" (50). Although I have yet to experience pregnancy, I could perfectly relate to her experiences of waiting and feeling out of place. You always think it's temporary until you suddenly realize that in front of you is what your life is now. Another interesting fact is the similarities of the rice ceremony and a ceremony celebrated in my culture. In Chinese culture, when a baby turns 100 days old, the family will usually host a large lunch. Part of that lunch is setting out some items and seeing which the baby grabs onto. I grabbed the scissors. I found it interesting that countries that are actually not that close in geography can share such similar customs.

Here is a photo I found online from the Namesake movie. You can click on the photo watch the trailer! On the left is Gogol. As you can see, Gogol dresses like any other American teenager, but his parents, especially his mom, still wears her sari. It makes you wonder, can immigrants truly ever fully immerse into a culture?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Romanticism and Art

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog - Caspar David Friedrich
Friedrich is trying to show us his lenses of the world(1). I think that this work of art is representative of the Romantic movement because it captures the idea of focusing on the individual to impact others and the essence of Romanticism –  "uncontrollable power, unpredictablity(2)". This man is standing on the peak of the mountain. His position on the peak invokes a feeling of awe and wonder. The man standing above all else is representative of power; the ability to overlook and see everything. I can draw a connection between this painting and this quote "I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills" from the poem I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud. I feel like this painting is a very accurate representation of this quote.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Somebody Gonna Love You" – The Color Purple

I selected the soundtrack "Somebody Gonna Love You" from The Color Purple Original Broadway Soundtrack to listen to. This song is sung by Celie and occurs when Pa takes Celie's baby to "get rid of". I think it fits into the mood of the novel, the sadness and regret a mother feels when parted from her baby. The mood of the song is kind of gloomy but not entirely hopeless, signifying that there is still hope for the baby to live a happy life, although that life is not given by Celie. You can listen to this song here. Hope you enjoyed this post and see you all next time!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

First Post!!

My name is Elaine and I am currently a student. This blog will be for all of my readings and writings for and related to said readings. You can expect a new post on this blog every once in a while! My blog will be filled with enthusiasm and heartfelt comments!

My favorite book from my childhood (and also the only one I can prominently remember) is the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. When I was a mere toddler or a little older, one of my teachers read it in front of the whole class. I loved the story, but it was the colorful illustrations that really caught my eye. However, the main reason I remember this book is because it kept coming back. Although I did not read it many times personally, I always saw the book laying around. You can find the book here at Amazon:

Thank you for reading this and see you all next post!

(image source: Penguin Books Australia)