Altruism: The Best Human Attribute

My feelings were fluctuating while reading the story “Best Quality” by Amy Tan. It made me bitterly indignant at first. I was so angry when Waverly was insulting June at her own house. How can she forget that she was a guest there? June, on the other hand, retorted to Waverly’s comments, but could not continue to do that for long. She just quit the conversation. Moreover, her mother supported Waverly when she said that June was not sophisticated. Then I was wondering that how a mother can be like this! She always wanted her daughter to be better than Waverly, now she is admitting with her that her daughter is really not sophisticated! But after clarification in class, I got to know the actual meaning of mother’s comment. She took the insult on her by saying June was not born the way.

Later in the story June’s mother appreciate the way she is. From the very childhood she had been coercing her to be someone special like Waverly. At the end, she realizes June’s altruism when she chooses the crab with the broken leg. On the contrary, Waverly chooses the best crab for herself and her family, which shows her selfishness. She does not even know how to behave like a guest.  Though June was not talented like Waverly, she has better characteristic than her. She has altruism, which is the best attribute of human. Altruism is such a good characteristic that makes our life important to others. That’s why, June’s mother gives her the pendant to make her understand the importance of life. June has always been thinking herself worthless, but she never recognized the precious part of her. Her mother used to wear that pendant, which had touched her skin.  So, she gave it to June so that it touches her skin too and she gets to know her importance. We, ourselves make our life important by our good characteristic. Following others footstep has nothing to do with it.

At the end, the altruistic character of June reminded me of my mother. She always picks the best piece of chicken and fish for my father. After serving my father, me and my sister, she keeps the smallest piece for her. Then suddenly, my father picks his piece and put that on my mother’s plate. After that both of them argue with each other for some time and then decide to divide their pieces in two and share. That’s the way they show their altruism and love to each other.

Response to “Two Kinds”

How do you feel when your parents compare you with others? If I were you I would feel very indignant because I love to be the way I am. I guess most of you will feel the same as me. That’s what came up in my mind when I read “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan. In this story, Jing-Mei is a normal girl, who has not any natural talent or extraordinary ability. Still her mother keeps on pushing her to become something on which her mother can feel proud of. It was like a competition with her friend’s daughter Waverly Jong, who is a brilliant chess player. Literally, Jing-Mei’s mother never compares her with Waverly, but she wants Jing-Mei to be something like her. The force was for more for a show-off than Jing-Mei’s benefit.  On the contrary, Jing-Mei pretends to be obedient to her mother, but eventually she likes the way she is.

Fortunately, I have never faced things like that. My parents never compared me with other girls, but it does not mean that I am a flawless girl with extraordinary girl. I am an ordinary girl, just like Jing-Mei. When anyone of my cousins or someone from neighborhood achieves something, my parents never suggest me to be like her or him. They are happy with what I have achieved till now. They truly believe in me and let me decide what to do with my life. While it is me who sometime sees others achievement and wonders, “I wish I could do it!”. Then my parents inspire me for that and advise me to listen to my heart. On the other hand, I feel so awkward when anyone from neighborhood or relatives tell their children to be like me as I am not worthy of that. One of my aunts (father’s sister) has strictly told her daughter to follow my steps, who is much more brilliant than me in every aspect.

In my opinion, this tendency of comparison in parents has both negative and positive effects. Sometime the child feels too much pressure to fulfill their parents’ expectation when they are compared with some super talented kids. The child gets lost on the extra efforts and loses his or her own identity. On the other side, the comparison does well to some extents. It sometimes inspires the child to do something and brings out the latent talent. Moreover, every parent expects their child to be a genius, which is not a bad thing. But sometime their over-expectancy makes the child frustrated and indifferent to everything.

The Apple of Discord

As soon as I read the background history of the Iliad, The first I thing that I memorized was “the apple of discord.”  I had read this idiom in one of my grammar classes in junior high school. The idiom means a reason for a dispute. I did not know the myth behind the idiom then. It felt good when I got to know the myth. The myth was too funny. In the myth of Persephone I got to know that Greek Gods are not supposed to be virtuous. Their acts and behaviors were just like normal human-being. However, the epic oh Iliad shocked me again where I saw Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena, three of the Goddesses fighting for a simple golden apple. It was such a childish behavior of them. I have seen children only to fight for something like that. Again, Paris decided to help only Aphrodite, which made Athena and Hera furious. Again, they are goddesses of several things, such as –beauty, wisdom and battle. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, but I do not see her acting wisely. A goddess of wisdom has to be a wise person I guess, but the way she fought for the apple. In this case, she really proved that she is the goddess of battle b fuelling the war. All of  the gods were selfish and just eager to get their own benefit. I haven’t read anything about their serving the subjects yet.

However, this negligible incident of throwing the golden apple gave birth to a huge war. Personally, I do not believe in any myth because it seems to me like fairy tale. In this case, it is okay if the gods are not virtuous. Eventually, I guess there is a moral of this myth. Sometimes, we argue on a very simple matter that turns out to be a mass later. This happens with my parents always. They start to quarrel suppose on buying grocery and at a point that argument becomes so severe that they don’t even talk with each other for several days. So, it is better to overlook unnecessary matters to keep a harmony in life

Flashback

The book “When My Name Was Keoko” gave me a flashback of the liberation war and the language movement of Bangladesh. The novel, written by Linda Sue Park, reminded me of the several novels I have read about the liberation war of 1971. The story is written in the plot of 1940, when Korea was under the control of Japan. As far as I have read the novel, Japan used to dominate Korea fully. Korean people had to speak in Japanese in public and study in Japanese medium. The condition of Bangladesh was about be to so in 1952. Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan, which was dominated and governed by West Pakistan. The people of East used to speak and study in their mother language Bengali, but suddenly the government planned to impose Urdu as the national language of Pakistan. They tried to snatch the freedom of speech from the people of East, but the Bengali speakers didn’t tolerate like Koreans. They protested against it. They even shed blood to gain their freedom of speech and that’s how we got back our language Bangla. One more thing I found weird and ridiculous that the people of Korea had to change their Korean name to Japanese name. During 1971, the condition of East Pakistan was sort of like that. People were not forced to change their name, but those whose name were in Bengali used to be abused by the oppressors.

The character of uncle reminded me of the freedom fighters who don’t have arms but a heart full of patriotism that gave them the courage to fight against the oppressors. He used to make plans against the Japanese army secretly inside his press. In the same way, our freedom fighters used to make plans and handmade arms to fight against the Pak army.

Moreover, I have found out some gender discrimination in the novel. As the novel is written in the plot of 1940, it’s pretty straight forward that there would be gender discrimination. Women have no right to interfere into men’s business. Keoko’s father only shares the current condition of the war with his brother and elder son. Though Keoko is too eager to know about the war, she’s not even allowed to listen to them. Instead of that, she is engaged to household works. As far I have read the novel, I have discovered that previously, cultures and values were all the same in different countries and there are similarities in the histories. There history has got war, oppression, domination, injustice, but at last patriotism prevails above all.

Response on “The Moon Lady”

I got mixed feelings while reading “The Moon Lady.” From the first part I got an image of a child who is raised among luxury and comforts, but I also observed one thing that she was mostly accompanied and pampered by her nurse, not her mother. I have noticed this in other stories and films that those children who belong to rich families are mostly brought up by their nurses or maids. I really don’t understand this matter. Is it because the rich mothers remain busy for other social responsibilities, or they just don’t feel that urgency to look after their children? A maid is indeed a maid; she can never be a mother.  I should also mention that I am not talking about working mothers here.

I felt pity on Ying Ying when she lost herself. I could realize Ying Ying’s feelings while getting lost because it took me six years back from now when I also lost myself in a museum. In 2005, I went to a trip around Dhaka city with my sister and one of my cousines. After visiting all the floors of the musuem, I was looking at some paintings. When I am done with the paintings I looked around and could not find my sister and cousin. Then I just went through the exit door and waited at the main gate. For a while, it seemed to me that may be my sister and cousin have already left without me. Various thoughts were striking my mind at that time. I was nervous and felt like to cry. After sometime, I saw my cousin’s face in the crowd. Then he took me to my sister who was about to cry. She scolded me for being so careless, but getting lost was more shameful to me because I had been born in Dhaka and I didn’t know much of it. My cousin, who was new in Dhaka had said that he thought of me a very smart girl who can never get lost. Through this incident he got to know that I don’t know anything of the city. That day I realized that what is my ability and how far can I go by myself, but I am happy as I am much independent and can travel anywhere by myself now.

I have also some confusion about the story. The part when Ying Ying gets lost is quite superficial to me. When some fishermen rescue her and asked her family if they have lost anyone, her family members make fun and denies. Why did they do like that? Were they not concerned about their daughter? Did they want to get rid off her?

Response to The Red Candle

When I read “The Red Candle” by Amy Tan, at first I was at a fix at the idea of betrothal at the age of two. I read that paragraph twice to make that clear. Again, I have to consider that the story is written in the plot of a period approximately 100 years ago. Early marriage is also a common phenomenon in Bangladesh, or should I say “was” a common phenomenon, but I have never heard of getting betrothed in such an age. Isn’t it too much? Childhood is the most wonderful period of a human being. How can parents think about their marriage when it’s time to play for the child? One thing also teased my mind that, after getting betrothed, family starts to treat with the daughter like she is not their daughter at all, she is a property which belongs to other. In my opinion, a girl is at first a daughter to her parents. Later she becomes a wife, a daughter-in-law, a mother and so on.

Moreover, in the story we see that Lindo can memorize those moments when she was two and her mother-in-law came to see her along with the matchmaker. Is it really possible to memorize anything from that age? And how did she understand the identity of the two ladies? This seemed to me a bit superficial.

The rural people of my country are much superstitious. I think they were more superstitious in the past than now. While reading the story, I found out that Chinese people were much more naïve and superstitious than us. Lindo’s mother-in-law was easily fooled by her lie about the dream of ancestors, and that drove the lady to take the major decision of letting Lindo go and marrying off her son with a servant! In addition, the ritual of burning candle was also a superstition.  Again, I also accept that every culture and community has their own rituals and superstition which I respect as well.

In the end, I would like to say that I liked the character of Lindo a lot! She is not superstitious like others and she is committed to her parents. She kept the promise that she would be an obedient wife no matter how hard it was to be. She did everything to make her in-laws happy. At last, she took a clever step to get rid of all those toils and lead life in her way.

Do you want to live forever???

A few days ago we read about some technologies about immortality. After reading all those researches and technologies the thing that came up in my mind first is, “What’s the need of all these researches and technologies????” I understand that most of the people do not want to get old or die. That’s why; scientists are busy in inventing new technologies and medicines in pursuit of immortality. They may think that most people die for getting old, but there are lots of people who meet with an untimely death caused by accidents. Suppose, scientists have become successful to discover medicine for immortality, but will that medicine give guaranty about accidents? What if they are run over by a car, or get collapsed under ruins after an earthquake, or suddenly their home catches fire? Will they survive from these accidents just for having those medicines or using those technologies? I have heard that Michelle Jackson used to sleep in an Oxygen Chamber to live long, but we all know what had happened to him in the end. Suddenly he had to die at the age of 51 only. So, in my opinion, the time, energy and money that scientists are spending is nothing but wastage because no one can say that when he will fall victim to an accident.  

Moreover, what a person will get by living forever? We all know that today or tomorrow we are going to die. That’s why we work hard to survive as long as possible. We search for better lifestyle to enjoy our short life to its fullest. We have certain goals and ambitions to fulfill by ourselves and make a haste to accomplish that as soon as possible. So, when someone will get to know that he is going to live forever, he is never going to die, he will never feel the zeal to make his dream come true. Life would become meaningless and aimless as well to him. In addition, it is difficult to see our near and dear ones die in front of us. The more we live, the more we have to endure the pain of losing them. I, myself don’t want to live longer for this reason. I would like to leave the world before my parents. Again the necessity of living forever varies from person to person. Some people want to live longer to serve the human being and have lots of new experience, which is a great idea. It is also okay if we just defer with nature and accept the truth that we have to die, either naturally or accidentally! 🙂

Response to the Greek Myth of Persephone

The Greek myth of Persephone introduced me with different perspectives of human being. I can see love, betrayal, deception, affection of a mother, power of wealth, lust, and tragedy in the story compiled by Clare B. Dunkle. At first, I observed that Zeus was the most powerful among his brothers because of his wealth. His wealth might have allowed him to sleep with other women. Before reading the story, I used to believe that Gods are supposed to be virtuous or spiritual. They are not supposed to be lustful and use their power in a wrong sense, but the story changed my point of view.

Again, Hades, the God of death and brother of Zeus fell in love with Persephone. Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Goddess of grain. Though Persephone is Hades’ niece, he didn’t hesitate for a moment to kidnap her and coerce her to be his queen. After her kidnap, her mother Demeter starts to mourn and stops bestowing the nature with grain and fruit. It resembles the affection of a mother that can make her forgetful of her duties. When people and animal started to starve for not having food supplements, he ordered Hades to set Persephone free so that Demeter forgets her mourn and concentrate on her duties. It seems to me that Zeus had no affection towards her daughter. He ordered Hades to set her free because of the welfare of his objects, not because of Persephone’s wellbeing or Demeter’s grieve.

Next, I discovered that Gods can be deceptive too. When Hades pretended to set Persephone free, he made a plan with his friend Hermes, the cleverest God. Hermes made her eat pomegranate of the underworld which kept her in the Land of the Dead forever. It means, God can deceive for their own benefit too. All these things seemed to me very weird.

In the end of the story, we see that whenever Persephone visits her mother, crops grow and flowers bloom. Except those days, there remains a bare look of nature. Here I found a slight similarity with my mother. My mother also can’t visit her parents’ home very often but once in 2-3 years. Whenever she visits, there used to be a festive mood in the house of her parents, and they grieve at her departure too.

Finally, I used to think that there is a huge difference between human and God, but after reading this, I got to know that there’s no such difference; especially in Greek myth!

Response to “year’s End”

The short story “Year’s End” by Jhumpa Lahiri reminded me of my father. My father also faced sort of the same things that happened in Kaushik’s life. When he was in the age of Kaushik, he also left his parents and went to India. He stayed there for ten years and rarely contacted with his parents or other relatives. He was sort of a vagabond that time, but as he grew older, he started to realize the importance of parents in life. So, he decided to move back to his country along with his family consisting of wife and a daughter in 1984. In a stage of life, sometimes we feel like to be a vagabond, forgetting our parents. I believe, we change our mind to be that when we grow elder, when we realize that it is our parents who brought as in this world.

However, after 23 years, in 2007, my dad lost his mother who died for having several diseases. After 3 years of that, everyone realized that his father, I mean my grandfather needs someone to be looked after by because he was already old enough to depend on others. Then one of my uncles advised to get him married as he was living alone in his home. At that time, my father and his other siblings highly opposed this decision because they can’t see anyone else in their mother’s place. After that, one of my aunts (father’s sister) came forward and decided to live with him.

In contrast, I can see many differences between my family and Kaushik’s family too. In the story, Kaushik’s father removes all the memories of his wife after her death, but my grandfather has been preserving his wife’s each and every memory. He doesn’t even want to leave that house and move somewhere else because he feels her presence there, whereas in the story, Kaushik’s father moves to a different house with his second wife. It seems to me very weird that Kaushik’s mother, whom Kaushik and his father used to love very dearly, wanted to get rid of all of her memories after her death. May be her memories used to disturb them and make them realize that she was not with them anymore. On the contrary, it’s also true that when our near and dear ones leave us, it’s their memories that can take us closer to them and make us feel their presence. In the end, I have realized one thing that the feeling of loosing someone is not the same in everyone; it differs from person to person.

Hi!!!!!

Hello guyz!!

This is Farah. I hope you all know my group. Welcome everyone and myself as well to this blog. I think this is going to be an interesting activity introduced by our dearest ma’am Ms. Fatema. Thanks a lot to ma’am for this innovative idea!

Thanks everybody and have a great weekend!!!