Monday, June 25, 2018

For Tuesday: Boo, behind the beautiful forevers, Chs.10-13

Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: Discuss how one of these chapter titles really acts as a "thesis" to the ideas that follow. How did it help you understand and appreciate each story? Remember to consider the titles not merely literally, but also as symbols/metaphors for the characters and their inner dramas. 

Q2: Why are people so callous to pain and suffering in the city considering they can relate--and often face the same suffering themselves? Consider the man hit by a car at the beginning of Chapter 10 who everyone--even Sunil--ignores and leaves for dead. Indeed, the only attention paid to the man is when he's long dead and his corpse is disturbing small children." You might consider Zehrunisa's quote at the beginning of Part 4 which reads, "Don't confuse yourself by thinking about such terrible lives."

Q3: Manju and her friend (from the Dalit caste), Meena, often spend time in the public toilets for a little "girl time." Reflecting on these moments, Boo writes that "The minutes in the night stench with Manju were the closest she had ever come to freedom" (185). What does this say about the life of a young girl of the slums, even in the "New" India? Why is she so unenthusiastic about her future--so much so, that she often contemplates committing suicide? 

Q4: Abdul writes that "Even the person who lives like a dog still has a kind of life" (198). According to him, why is suffering, scavenging, and neglect still a worthwhile life--if not the best one? What does his time in prison allow him to see about the world of the slums? And does this strike you as a strictly Indian perspective (like doing one's duty), or is it more universal?

Friday, June 22, 2018

For Monday: Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Chapters 5-9

Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: What does the title “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” refer to (hint: we learn in these chapters). How is it not only a literal title, but also a metaphorical one? What are the “beautiful forevers” offered by modern India—and who gets this happy ending?

Q2: Why is there so much tension between Fatima and Zehrunisa? What kind of relationship do they have, and how does this lead to the climactic fight which puts Zehrunisa’s family “in a trap”?

Q3: In Chapter 7 Boo writes, “The Indian criminal justice system was a market like garbage, Abdul now understood. Innocence and guilt could be bought and sold like a kilo or polyurethane bags” (107). Why is this? How can justice and guilt be simply a matter of bribes or beatings? What is the role of the police force in Mumbai, according to the book?

Q4: While in prison, Abdul falls in love with the teachings of a “Master,” who tells him, “Be generous and noble. Offer up your flesh, agree to be eaten by the eagles of the world, and justice will come to you in time” (132). This echoes the idea of the Bhagavad Gita, which tells people to do the work of their caste, no matter how humble, and suffer the indignities of life for a better birth tomorrow. Do you feel this is good advice for someone trying to make it in modern India...or is it propaganda by the government to keep lower class workers in their place?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Paper #2 Conference Schedule (Thursday)

Be sure to come for your conference tomorrow (Thursday)--it's my last chance to discuss what you need to work on to revise this paper, and to work on for the final paper which we'll do NEXT Thursday.

10:00 Eli

10:10 Bryanna

10:20 Joshua

10:30 Ashley

10:40 Noah

10:50 Cheyenne

11:00 Ethan

11:10 Makenzie

11:20 Mary

11:30-11:50 Open

12:00 Tisha

12:10-12:20 Open

12:30 Sarah

12:40 Kaitlyn 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

For Wednesday: Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Chs.3 & 4

Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: Where do we see the clash of the New India and the Old India (as we discussed in class on Tuesday) in these chapters? What else makes it difficult for India to move past old prejudices and cultural beliefs? 

Q2: Though to most outsiders Annawadi is just one sprawling slum, how do the people who live there see it? What are the different parts/regions of Annawadi, and how are they distinguished? 

Q3: What does learning English and English literature mean for Manju? Though India has so many different languages and dialects, why has English (the language of its former colonizer) remained so important to them? Do you think a country that uses a borrowed language like this can ever be truly itself?

Q4: What are some of the dangers and temptations that children have to face in the slums? Besides merely engaging in illegal activities to live, why is it so difficult for children to escape the slums intact? You might consider how this relates to the children in Born Into Brothels as well. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

For Tuesday: Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Prologue-Chapter 2

Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: Abdul’s younger brother tells him, “Everything around us is roses...And we’re the shit in between” (xii). According to the book, why does the government tolerate the illegal settlement of Annawadi? And why do people stay there if they’re treated like “shit” by the entire world?

Q2: How does the Indian idea of privacy compare with what we read of China in One Person Means Alone? How might this lack of privacy—and the utter impossibility of being alone in a crowded city or slum—shape how their society views the world? Do you think the author realizes this, or wants us to be shocked by it?

Q3: According to the book, Annawadi is “one of the most stirring success narratives in the modern history of global market capitalism, a narrative still unfolding” (6). What do you think she means by this? How could a slum be a success story? And what does this say about its place in the world-wide web of capitalism (which implicates us as well)?

Q4: In one passage, Boo writes that “As group identities based on caste, ethnicity, and religion gradually attenuated, anger and hope were being privatized, like so much else in Mumbai” (90). While most people would applaud the removal of the old rules of caste and race, what has replaced them? Why might Boo suggest that even abstract things like anger and hope can be “privatized"?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Paper #2 Assignment and Research Tips (Paper #2 due Monday by 5pm)

Remember, when doing research for Paper #2, start at ECU's website!

1. Go to the "Library" tab first 
2. In the bar at the top, click on the "articles" tab and then use the appropriate search terms: "immigration," or "reparations for Native Americans," or "Muslims in US history," etc. 
3. Click on "Full Text" to make sure you get the entire article delivered to your computer.
4. Find articles that expand your knowledge of the conversation and offer naysayer perspectives as well. The more you read about the subject, the easier it is to write about--since you only have to respond to what you know. 
5. Remember, too, that on the right hand side of the EBSCO website it has a "Cite" function, that shows you how to cite the article. 

In general, when citing on-line sources, list the author, the article title, the source of the article, and the date you accessed it (the URL is optional for me). 

You can also find great sources through Wikipedia but ONLY IF you ignore the article itself and instead, look at the Links and References at the bottom. That will help you find authored and well-researched sources to help your conversation. 

Here are some useful articles I found when exploring:

Bollinger, Stephanie. Between a Tomahawk and a Hard Place. Brigham Young Education and Law Journal. 

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. "The Case for Reparations." The Atlantic.

Mogelson, Luke. "The Impossible Refugee Boat Lift to Christmas Island." The New Yorker. 

Smith, Zadie. "The Embassy of Cambodia." The New Yorker. 

The Paper #2 assignment is pasted below:

Paper #2: The Cultural Conundrum

Choose ONE of the following themes/passages to respond to in your paper. The goal of your paper should be to write a persuasive discussion about your point of view balanced with other voices on the subjects (and at least one naysayer).

Option 1: “As many immigrants can tell you, sometimes a story about leaving turns into a story about staying” (Schulz 238). If America is a nation of immigrants, how do we define “American”? Is American defined by birth, by race, by language, or by philosophy? Does ‘Citizen Khan’ belong just as much as Citizen Billy Bob? And what if the “immigrants” have been here longer than we have? Who gets to decide who stays, and who goes?

Option 2: “Was laughing a sign of our complicity, or was it a strange way of seeking karmic forgiveness for the atrocities that some of our ancestors had committed against them?” (Griest 42). Do we need to make reparations for indigenous peoples and other groups who were mistreated in the past? Or is the past past? How do we make up for past sins to these groups? Through money? Museums? Or simply by treating them with respect (and how do we do this if we don’t already)?

Option 3: ““Even when sponsors and refugees become enmeshed in one another’s lives, they do not fully know one another. Not every family is open about its history, and many sponsors would like to know the worst but do not want to ask” (Kantor and Einhorn 100). How do we learn to accept and respect other cultures when we don’t speak the same “language”? Should we demand that immigrants and other groups assimilate into our way of speaking, thinking, and being? Is it their responsibility to learn to speak to us? Or do we have to meet them half way? What is the price of learning to communicate?

SOURCES: I want you to use at least TWO of the essays in class in your discussion, as well as TWO SECONDARY SOURCES—other articles, websites, or even a video that contributes to this discussion. Use one of them to introduce a naysayer to the party, a view that offers a different perspective than your own. A true conversation has many sides, and your paper should hint at a least a few of them.

  • At least 4-5 pages, double spaced
  • At least 4 sources (2 primary, 2 secondary)
  • Proofreading and attention to detail
  • DUE MONDAY, June 18th by 5pm (or in-class)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

For Thursday: Kantor and Einhorn, "Refugees Hear a Foreign Word: Welcome" (pp.93-106)

Here's a link to the actual article so you can see images of the families:

Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: According to the essay, why are Canadians so supportive of the refugee program--to the point that a newspaper called them, "an angry mob of do-gooders" (95)? What seems to distinguish the Canadian response to immigration to our American one? You might consider what the author hope we (being Americans) might learn from the Canadian mindset...or if we should be more like Canadians at all.

Q2: Toward the end of the essay, Mr. Ballani says something very poignant: "A human life has value here...You can feel it everywhere" (104). This is something we often take for granted, but what does he mean by this. How can you see in Canadian and American society that we value the life of an individual more than in his home country, or in many of the war-torn areas of the world? How does it "show" in our culture and society?

Q3: The essay compares many of the host families to "helicopter parents," which can make assimilation and independence difficult for the immigrants. How do well-meaning hosts often get in the way, ignorant of the immigrants' culture and language? 

Q4: In general, what do you think immigrants/refugees owe to their adopted country? If they are taken in by a  host family and given support, money, etc., how do they repay this debt? Does it require them to assimilate, learn the language, adopt the culture, beliefs, and values of their new country? Do the hosts often expect too much from their guests--and expect it unfairly?