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Excellent/Interesting Observations and Questions

Here are the names of the people who got "+'s" on their reading responses for Week VI, along with excerpts from people's observations and a list of the "top 10+" questions asked. (Note: when listing the questions, I'll always copy the wording from the first time the question was asked and put the author's name first in the list of names in parentheses after the question, so that everyone who asked a roughly similar question gets some recognition, but the first person who asked it gets more.)

Week VI: Kingston

Honor Roll: Ryan Barone, Sarah Boyle, Andrea Caccese, Amy Carlson, Adam Di Palma, Noelle Dull, Stefanie Evans, Heather Giambrone, Jason Golubski, Alex Herrera, Beth Karnyski, Rob Lefferts, Russ Leo, Sarah McNaughton, Tom Priester, Jake Proper, Jesse Reiter, Kelly Rosemellia, Megan Russell, Kristen Schoonover, and Karine Torlet.


Top 10+ Questions on Kingston

1. Does she understand what her roots are, or is it still a mystery to her? (Heather Giambrone) How does she perceive her past today after writing her deepest thoughts and truths? (Karine Torlet) Does she want to feel as if she belongs to both cultures or is she trying to eliminate one? Is the purpose of this work to educate others of chinese culture or is it to make herself feel like she is an adequate member of her chinese heritage? (Kristen Schoonover) How do you think the narrator and/or author feels about the Chinese culture? (Ryan Destro)

2. How do the tales intermix and combine within the novel? (Heather Giambrone) Why did Kingston choose to introduce Moon Orchid, and what purpose does her character serve in the novel? (Ryan Barone, Jim DeGolyer) Why does Kingston tell [Moon Orchid's] story from her mother's point of view? How does this illustrate her own opinion of her mother and their relationship? (Jesse Reiter) Why would the author use this type of writing to tell about her life? (Adam Di Palma, Melissa Lancia)

3. In "No Name Woman," the mother doesn't want the daughter to tell anyone about her aunt. By doing this the daughter feels that she is participating in her aunt's punishment. Why do you think she eventually writes about her aunt's story even though it is going against her mother's wishes? (Alex Herrera, Sarah McNaughton) What motivated Kingston to go against her fathers wishes and write about her deceased aunt? (Amelia Vanni)

4. Why does Kingston's mother refer to every non-chinese person as a ghost? (Sarah Boyle, Mike Krauklis, Bryant Loomis, Stephanie Stoddard, Jessica Sandeen, Jamie Coniglio, Holli Neal, William Belscher) What is the significance of this? What is the term "ghost" supposed to symbolize? (Sarah Boyle) Why is she portraying everyone in the world this way? And how is this relevant to the story? (Holli Neal) How do you think the ghosts in The Woman Warrior are significant? (Alex Herrera) What role do ghosts play in this book? (Ryan Destro) What purpose did the author have at calling other people Ghosts? (Adam Di Palma, Kelly Rosemellia) Are the Ghosts in her book used as metaphors to represent Chinese culture? (Sheryl Harvey) What was the significance of the sitting ghost that mother fought off? (Brad Beck, Jim DeGolyer) Is there some prejudices seen in the referal to ghosts? (William Smith) In many of our readings the ghosts have been labeled as lost souls possibly searching for someone or something. In The Woman Warrior Maxine's mother refers to most Americans as ghosts, 'garbage ghosts and milk ghosts'. Is this because Brave Orchid believes that because Americans don't have a strong spiritual backround, they are destined to be lost souls too? (Jason Golubski)

5. Throughout the book, culture, gender and women's roles in socety are key elements. How do you think they influence the stories? (Alex Herrera)

6. I am also not sure what comment is trying to be made, the last sentence is, "It translated well." This seems a direct contradiction to the text because we read how the Chinese have trouble adapting, and how even the language barrier is sometime insurmountable. (Ryan Barone)

7. Was her life as an American Citizen really all that bad when compared to the lives of those in China? Maybe she was trying to express her appreciation of living in America by telling stories aboutr the life of Chinese women. Thus making other women that this country really isn't that bad compared to China. (Adam Di Palma) Why do all of Kingston's stories have an underlying issue about the women's role in the early years, instead of having some progression throughout the story, as women have made accomplishments over the years to defy male dominance? (Amelia Vanni)

8. [During] the brief mention of Kingston's first uncle toward the bottom of page 60, "Why do you have fingerprints on your forehead?" [Kingston's mother] said, "Your First Uncle did that." I disliked the unsureness in her voice. At first I thought this might have some kind of reference to the disgraced aunt in the beginning of the story, but I'm not so sure. Why the unsureness in the mother's voice when speaking about the uncle? (Brad Beck)

9. Did they immigrate to America illegally? (Rob Lefferts) I also wonder how she will raise a daughter of her own and what aspects of chinesse culture she will teach her daughter. Would she teach her chinesse and american or something totally new and different. (Mike Copella)

10. Why was her mother against college when she herself had gone away to school? Why did the author purposely go about trying to get away from her family when nobody else did? Why was the mother so mean to the author? (Noelle Dull) Why do you think Brave Orchids children act so bitter to their mother,and aunt and their Chinese traditions/culture? (Holli Neal) Why did Brave Orchid force Moon Orchid to go see her husband against her will? Why did she care so much when Moon Orchid just wanted to leave the situation alone? (Bryant Loomis, Theresa O'Hern) In the end I wondered if Brave Orchid felt sorry for what she had done to her sister? Making her go looney and sending her to her grave by making her go through seeing her husband and being embrassed by him. (Theresa O'Hern) I have one more question about the mother, does she really want to go back to China? It doesn't seem to me like she totally wants to. (Jessica Scirto) What is the significance of the part where Kingston's mother comes into the bedroom on page 104? Is Kingston's mother looking for sympathy or is she just trying to explain the purpose of her life to Kingston? (William Belscher)

11. Do ghosts or demons possess the people that go insane or crazy? (Heather Giambrone) Were the ghosts in the story(such as the sitting ghost) supposed to be things that really happened? (Bryant Loomis)

12. Did her mom really have other children? If not, why wasn't Kingston named First Daughter? (Jinny Compton)

Top 5 Suggested Part III Essay Questions

1. Choose a retelling or adaptation of a familiar story and compare it to the original. How has the main focus and central theme change between the two. To what, other than base interpretation, do you associate this with? (Russ Leo) Stories are different when they are told from different points of view. Discuss a story that was told from different points of view and talk about how this change in point of view changed the story. (Rob Lefferts) Compare and contrast the effects of cultures left behind and Americanization on the lives of two characters from different works. (Bryant Loomis)

2. Picking two writings studied in the course, compare and contrast the influence that culture plays on the characters and the ghosts? (Sarah McNaughton) How did culture influence how the author used ghosts in the stories we have read so far? (Marcy Gambino) How does an authors racial background influence the way that he/she writes? Give three examples. Compare and contrast. (Bethany Prechtl) What are the parallels between the types of ghost stories told in cultures dissimilar to the standard "American" culture? Choose from: the Chinese culture (as demonstrated in "The Warrior Woman" by Kingston), Vietnamese culture (as illustrated in "A Ghost Story" by Butler), Native American culture (as shown in "Bone Girl" by Bruchac), and African-American plantation culture (as described in "Po' Sandy" by Chestnutt). Differences? (Andrea Caccese)

3. Ghost stories can be used as mini lessons in history--explain. Use specific examples. (Tom Priester) How do the ghost stories we have read in class affect the reader on a social level? What are the meanings behind the messages? (Russ Leo)

4. Compare and contrast the ghosts in Turn of the Screw and Accursed Inhabitants of Bly, especially their intentions and your feelings about them. Why do you feel this way? (Stefanie Evans, Marcy Gambino, Ryan Destro) In the book Chautauqua Ghosts, compare the roles of the mothers in Mary Peabody and Daniel Kenton. (Salim Miller) Compare and contrast the use of ghosts in two different works. (Bryant Loomis) Compare and contrast the simliarities b/w Bone Girls and Miss Linhs motives and cultures. (Lindsay Robinson) How are the ghosts in Woman Warrior different from the ghosts in the stories that we have read in the past? (Mickey Dunning) Describe the function of the ghosts in three stories of your choice. Compare and contrast their different functions. (Jeffrey Ciminesi) Compare and contrast any two ghosts we have read this year and show the significance of each. (Mickey Dunning)

5. Why do different authors portray ghosts in different ways? What are the reasons for portraying ghosts in certain ways? (Jeffrey Ciminesi, Mike Krauklis) In each novel that we have read thus far, the ghosts of the stories have had different functions. Why do you think that the author portrayed the ghosts as they did? (Bethany Prechtl) We are used to the standard definition of a ghost: a dead soul coming back from the dead. Some stories contained ghosts of a different type. Discuss some of the different types of ghosts that were used and back up with examples from the stories we've read. (Rob Lefferts)

M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S

EN 209: Novels and Tales, Spring 1999
Created: 3/21/99, 12:34 pm
Last modified: 3/21/99, 12:54 pm