Thursday, November 17, 2011

Response to Amanda Hillary's Letter to Ms. Silko

Ms. Silko,
I recently read a letter written to you by Amanda Hillary. There were many points she brought up that I think are very important. Some of these points, I would like to re-emphasize to you and some of them I have a different take on. After reading your story, I got an image of border patrol that I have never really  had. I have heard many news stories about all the problems with border patrol and security. However, I have never heard a story from someone that actually went through this trouble. When you say "There was an awful feeling of menace and violence straining to break loose. It was clear the uniformed men would be only too happy to drag us out of the car if we did not speedily comply with their request"I just cannot even imagine the fear you must have had. As Amanda briefly talks about, I too can see why the border patrol employees have to inspect people coming across borders. Today, there are many problems with border patrol and the previous lack of it has hurt our country. Also, as Amanda says, there is no reason at all for the brutal treatment of people trying to cross the borders. Personally, I have not experienced any kind of hatred like this. However, in high school, I was friends with a girl who was from Pakistan. All four years of high school, the school went on a trip that involved flying. It never failed that every time we went through security at an airport, she would be the one who was "randomly searched". This really upset her and I can only imagine why. At the same time, though, it was people from the same country she is from that tore our country apart on September 11, 2001. Unlike Amanda, I believe that there are not problems with brutal treating of people trying to cross the border now, especially not to the extent that you experienced. I'm sure those who don't comply with the officials are treated a little harsher though. Thankfully, we have laws against that kind of treatment of humans now. Unfortunately, that certain level of racism involved in border patrol is still present and many people are required to be searched because of their ethnicity. I hope our letters to you have enlightened you a little bit about how border patrol is today just as your story enlightened me so very much on the horrible extent of brutal treating you received. Hopefully someday our world will be able to live peacefully and these horrible border patrol problems will be non existent.
Elyse Nichols

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blog #14: The Things They Carried

      After reading the short story The Things They Carried and being asked what I would carry in my bag if I were in Lieutenant Cross's unit, I had to think a little about it. This is such a broad question. There's so many things I would WANT to take. However, there are also many things I would need to take. The men in Lieutenant Cross's unit carried a broad range of personal things. For the most part, they all carried the necessary gear needed for protection. The men also had sentimental things. O'Brien also mentions some of them brought things based on superstition. Of course, all of these men also had mental baggage they brought with them.
      Before reading the short story, I read the prompt for this writing, the first thing that came to mind that I'd want to bring with me is my Bible. After reading this, I knew without a doubt this would be something I would HAVE to bring. I cannot imagine the stress and tribulations these men had to go through on a daily basis. So many of these men had to deal with their unit members dying, such as Lavender dying and the men having to deal with this. I believe that in order for me to get through situations like this, I would need my Bible to read. There is advice and inspiration within it that would cover any issue that came my way.
        Aside from this, I would also bring the necessary equipment needed for survival, just as most of these men did. I would bring guns and ammunition to go with them to protect myself. Many of these men brought a pancho. Instead of a pancho, I would bring some sort of a thick rain coat that would serve the purpose of both keeping me warm and keeping me from getting wet. Because I am such a cold natured person and have a hard time getting things accomplished when I am cold, I would also bring a warm hat and a few extra pairs of socks. I would also want to bring a canteen along to keep water in to make sure I am always hydrated. The men also talked about bring a compression bandage. I would also want one of these just in case I got injured.
       There are also a few things that are not necessary for survival that I would want to bring along. I would bring a toothbrush. Not being able to brush my teeth is something I cannot stand. Oddly enough,  another item I would want to bring with me is some sort of candy. In the short story it says: "Rat Kiley carried brandy and M&M's candy" (O'Brien). As soon as I read this, I thought to myself that this would be me(The M&M's not the brandy!). Everyone that knows me knows how much I love sweets. I really think I would get through much day a little easier if I had a little candy everyday. I would also want to bring a picture of my family members and closest friends. I would also want to bring some letters, possibly words of encouragement, written by those I am closest to.
       As far as the emotional baggage I would carry, I am really not sure because I have never been in this type of a situation. I would obviously carry a sense of fear. I think it would be very tough knowing both myself and the people I was always with were risking their lives everyday. There's also a feeling of loneliness I know I would feel. It would be so tough being away from the people I care most about for such a long period of time not knowing if I'd ever get to see them again.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog #13: Response to Amanda Hightower

After reading the preface to this story and the story it's hard to determine my stance on whether or not this is one of the American Dream coming true. In contrast to Amanda's thinking, I do think she achieved the American Dream to an extent. However, I do not believe it was completely it ever, though? 
Amanda talks about how horrible her life in this white school was. She talks about "the Americans forcing her to change". Yes, she did face many hardships in her childhood schooldays, but didn't everyone? Everyone must go through trials in order to appreciate success later in life. Also, how could a person achieve the "American" Dream without becoming "americanized"? Which is what I believe the aim of most of her school experiences were. There are still very strict private schools today that don't allow hair to be longer than a certain extent and have very strict rules. 
Also, although Zitkala-Sa often mentioned crying and being very unhappy at her white school, the short scene when she's back home over the summer involves her crying and being unhappy.. "as I sat restless and unhappy in my mother's cabin" (Zitkala-Sa 435)... "That moonlight night, i cried in my mother's prescence when I heard the holly young people pass by our cottage" (Zitkala-Sa436). This shows that is was not only her experiences in school causing her troubles like Amanda seems to think. She's crying in a place she longed to be while upset at school. 
Another thing I kept thinking while reading Amanda's article was, achieving the American Dream doesn't typically happen to children. However, her childhood experiences are what Amanda claims are proof of her not achieving the American Dream. As an adult, Zitkala-Sa says she "was the proud owner of my first diploma", "ventured upon a college career against my mother's will". This shows that she was an independent woman and able to achieve very very much, despite her trials and tribulations. She achieved much more than many Indian women during her time... including an education, which was a very valued thing. 
In conclusion, I disagree with Amanda for the most part. I do think Zitkala-Sa's story represents an American Dream coming true. Especially because I know how much she achieved past the point of the story. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blog #12

"I have had more calls for my music than I could possibly supply."-  Chapter LIV: My Literary Occupation
There were many sentences throughout this reading that could've been picked out as important; ranging from sad to happy. I picked this positive one because it shows the strength of a woman in the 1800's. This story was very intriguing to me because I had never learned of Hawaii having this monarchy. It's very neat to read about a young woman who talks about not being welcomed by her in laws and various struggles she had. However, she was still able to be a great family member, queen, writer, and singer. Prior to this sentence she is talking about the demand she had to be at different social events all over the world and then it goes on to talk about how highly demanded her music is. This is just very intriguing to me!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog #11

After reading Pauline Hopkins' "As the Lord Lives On, He is One of Our Children" and Claude McKay's six poems, I was constantly wondering how someone from our country could be so cruel to hang another human. I cannot imagine having enough hatred in my heart to hang another person. I've always just heard the facts of the African Americans being hung, but I've never read actual stories about it happening. This was obviously quite a large issue since it is brought up in both Hopkins' story and a few of McKay's poems. In Hopkins' story lynching is mentioned several times, in fact it is mentioned that it was a major concern.. "The only way you can teach these niggers a lesson is to go to the jail and lynch these men as an object lesson" (Hopkins). This is so appalling to me. I have always wondered what these people thought they were accomplishing by hanging the blacks. First, the blacks were not doing anything wrong in the first place, the whites just didn't want them doing what they were or having any kind of freedom at all. Second, hanging them doesn't seem like a good punishment because they just killed them, they couldn't change what they were doing because they were already dead. Also, in both author's pieces it is mentioned that the bodies were just left hanging for everyone to see "Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view/ the ghastly body swaying in the sun"(McKay). I just cannot see the justification in any of these actions or why anyone would be able to do this.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Response to Lacy McGrath

Like Lacy, I also drew many political connections. The first thing I noticed was the similarity between the War on Terror and the Civil War. I underlined the same passage on page seven that Lacy did. This was a very intriguing similarity. I also noted another contemporary similarity in relation to what Lacy mentions. The passage says: "Even as the nation mourned, it struggled with questions about how and under what terms to unite the North and the South" (page 4). It reminded me of September 11 which is what triggered the War on Terror. It made me think of President Bush's speech announcing we were going to war. It was so hard as a young girl to accept more violence, but it was what had to be done to protect our country even though it seemed hard amongst all the mourning. In response to Lacy's questioning of what will happen after we withdraw our troops.. I really do not think the result here and now will be the same as it was during the Civil War. During the 1800's, the South had no way to efficiently protect themselves after the troops were withdrawn. Now, during the 21st century, we are very blessed to have the technology to protect us that we do. We are capable of having security screening equipment at airports, we have x-ray capabilities, metal detectors, etc. Also, the United States is so powerful and such a world power that we do not have to worry about people coming over here and trying to start a war. No other country could or would even try to win a war here. I also believe that if we withdraw from the War on Terror while in the lead, both the countries we have been fighting and other countries will realize just how serious we are when it comes to protecting our country and the citizens within it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blog #8

An apparent belief in both "John Brown's Last Speech" and in Henry Garnet's "From a Memorial Discourse" is that in order to completely get rid of slavery and in turn, accomplish the American Dream,  there has to be many lives lost. There will be fighting and bloodshed. Garnet says he is constantly asked the question "when and where will the demands of the reformers of this and coming ages end?" His response contains has many elements that involve fighting..."when our brave and gallant soldiers shall have justice done to them." Garnet also mentions having to be forgiven for "national sins". In many people's eyes, in order to achieve the American Dream, one must be freed of their sins. Garnet says "Great sacrifices have been made by the people; yet, greater still are demanded ere atonement can be made for our national sins." This is basically saying that sacrifices have always been a part of achieving something and they always will be.
Similar to all of this is John Brown's speech. Brown is on the verge of sacrificing his own life for the sake of not backing down on his view of slavery. He is willing to die in order to help the slaves. Towards the end of his speech he says "If it is deemed necessary that  I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and inject enactments, I say let it be done." This quote not only shows Brown's compassion towards the issue, but also the compassion of "millions" of others who have also laid down their lives for the issue of slavery.
One of these pieces was written by a white man and one was written by an African American who had been freed. This shows that it was relevant to not only the blacks, how difficult it was to achieve the American Dream. Someone will always be having to lose their life in order for someone else to live or be free. If someone in the north were to be reading these pieces of writing, I think it would really show them how bad this issue was in the South. Also, for a southerner who was a slave holder to read about a white man giving up his own life for slaves, it had to make them think about what they were doing at least a little bit.