How Do You Interpret?


                  As I read the chapter “Four Direction” of the book The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, I started to explore the relationship between me and my mother comparing to Waverly and her mother. Since I have found many similarities between Waverly’s and my mother, I started to ask myself that do I also feel the same way that Waverly feels for her mother.

                 When Waverly described that how her mother sees wrong in everything and, how her mother shows her anxieties to her daughter by criticizing her, and how she warns Waverly about the wrong decisions of her life, it forced me to think about my mother. Like her mother, my mother also tries to find fault and shows wariness with all the things related to me.  My mother is also someone who likes to have control over her children’s life as Waverly’s mother does. Like Waverly’s mother who always tried to show that she is responsible for her daughter’s all achievements, my mother always tries to represent herself as the one who is responsible for my achievements.

                    As I have found out that there are many similarities between Waverly’s mother and my mother, I have also found out that there are also much dissimilarity between me and Waverly. The way we interpret our mother’s behavior and the feelings we share for our mother are totally different. Unlike her, I have always considered my mother’s anxieties as a good sign for me. It makes me feel how much she loves me and cares about me. It warns me whenever I am about to take any wrong decision and force me to think about the consequence of all my acts. On the other hand, the way she tries to have control over my life makes me feel protected and safe. I also think that my mother has all the right to get the credit for my achievement as she is the one who always motivate and inspire me.

                    However, one thing I find is common between me and Waverly that like her mother, my mother always makes me feel like a pawn in front of her and plays the role of a queen, who has all control over me, whenever we have any dispute. Like her I also feel very weak whenever I get into any conflict with my mother, whether on any personal decision or any family decision. I think it happens because most of my internal strength and my moral support is from my mother; therefore, I feel weak when I stand against her.

                   Thus, after analyzing the similarities between mothers, I can certainly say that the way mothers show their love and caring to their children is, more or less, all the same. The only thing that matters and the only thing that makes them different from each other is how we children interpret them.

On Marriage

In every country and religion marriage is one of the most important and admired relationships. Through the poem “On Marriage” the poet Khalil Gibran has drawn an image of an ideal marriage. I really liked the way he has portrayed the relation that a husband and wife are supposed to share.  Although it is one of the most intimate relationships, it is also essential to give each other some space in order to make the marriage successful.

Almost in every relation it is very important to maintain some distance, doesn’t matter how close they are. It is also proved that too much intimacy in any relation always become the reason of bitterness. Therefore, the poet has tried to convey a message that even a couple also need to keep some space between them so that their bitterness would have some space to get washed away.

In a marriage, a husband and wife need to be each other’s support but not each other’s weakness. If they become the support of each other, it will help them in the long run. It will motivate them to become successful. However, if they become each other’s weakness, it’ll only give them pain and failure.

They should submit their heart to the hand of life because only life resemblance the existence of heart. As long as the heart is beating, life will support it with great care. On the other hand, if they submit their heart to each other, it might not give a good result in returns. There is always a chance for the heart to get broken, as the human life is unpredictable and there is always a chance to get departed.

They should share their happiness and joy with each other, so that they can give each other some good memories to remember. However, they should also keep some alone time so that they will have time to explore themselves; and thus, there won’t be any chance to lose one’s identity into other.

They need to stay close, but not so close that they together become one pillar for the foundation of their relationship as for any foundation there are at least two pillars are needed.

They Represent Us

           The epic poetry “Iliad” by Homer seems a whole experience of life to me. It describes all the dimensions of life. The poet has skillfully portrayed the images of love, lust, anger, wrath, selfishness, greed and power through the life of the characters of the poem. Although in most of the part it talks about the supernatural powers of god and goddess, it mainly tries to reflect the true nature of human through them.

            Begin with Zeus, the King of Olympus, we can see the human characteristics of love and lust. He mainly represents that how this two factors work over the mind of a man and his perspectives. He is a man who can easily get distracted and seduced by the beauty of a woman. Throughout the whole poem we can see that he is mostly engaged with women and only cares about his lust. Even though he is a god, he reflects the helplessness of a human who gets entangled in beauty, love and lust. Thus Zeus shows the typical characteristics of men as men are normally considered as persons who can easily get lured by lust and the love of women.

            Secondly the human characteristic of   wrath is represented through the character of god Apollo.  When his priest was insulted by Agamemnon, he shows his wrath over the Greek. It reflects that how human shows their anger and rage when their interest and motives get hurt. In order to support his priest he killed thousands of Greeks which shows how human get into fight and war for small reasons. Besides he became clam only when his wish was fulfilled which is another character of human as they only get satisfied when their wish is done.

             Another characteristic that is selfishness is represented through goddess Hera and Athena. They went against Troy and their people just only because the king Paris didn’t choose them as one of the fairest woman. Although they are goddess whose priority needed to be beyond any self interest, they only used their power to take their revenge. This shows the blindness of self centered attitude of human. It also represents the stereotype that women mostly care about their beauty.

            Another evident that represents the greed for power when goddess Hera, Athena, and god Poseidon tried to bind the god Zeus in order to get the high position of Olympus. This is a very common characteristic of human as they always fight with each other for power and greed.

            Therefore, if we analyze all the characters of the god and the goddess, we could find nothing but the reflection of human nature.

On Reason And Passion

In the poem “On Reason and Passion” the poet Khalil Gibran has showed that how our reasons and passions fight with each other. This poem reflects an idea that how we can establish harmony between our heart and soul. The poet has also said that it’s possible to manage the dilemma between these two if we make a good understanding among them.

Although I really like the poet’s style and the way he has expressed his idea, I don’t completely able to agree with him in his point of view of becoming the peacemaker between reason and passion. It’s not possible to be neutral all the time and equally consider the ideas of our reasons and passions. There have been many times in my life where I had to choose between my reasons and passions and although I had tried to become the peacemaker, I failed.

Let me tell you a personal story where I had faced a great dilemma in making the decision whether I would choose my reason or passion. Since my childhood I had a passion to become a fashion designer. After I passed my H.S.C exam, I finally had to choose the subject and university where I would like to study. That’s the time when I really became confused about whether I should listen to my passion or think about my reason. My reason told me to consider the facts that what will be my future if I choose my passion, what impact it will have on my family and friends who expect a lot from me. First of all, it had forced me to think from the perspective of our country where the profession of a fashion designer is not so popular. Moreover, because I was a student of science background, my family expects me to build up my career in the field of science as it is very popular in our country. When I considered all of those things, my reasons win over my passion as my passion had nothing to say in its defense. Therefore, I realized that sometimes the whisper of reason seems so legitimate in front of the scream of passion.

Now, my passion is to become an environmental scientist. Thus, I also make another observation that our reasons also change our passions.

Whom I Actually Belong to?

Since my childhood, I have always considered myself as a part of my parents. I have always believed the fact that I belong to my parents. Because of them I have been able to see the light of the world. They have brought me up and taken care of me since childhood. They have sacrificed their happiness to fulfill my small wishes. Therefore, I also believe that parents have the full just to claim their right on their children.

However, while reading the poem  “On Children” by Khalil Gibran, a different question raise in my mind which force me to ask myself that to whom I actually belong. It’s not like that it has changed my previous thought and now I don’t believe that my parents have any right over me. As my parents have given me birth, I can’t ignore their existence in me and their right over me. In contrast, it has raised an additional spiritual feeling inside me which force me to think about the connection between creation of lives and the reason behind it.

The poet has given me an idea that God has created every life as a media for other life. Our parents are the reason and medium for taking our lives forward. While reading the poem, I also tried to look back the history of my own family in order to understand the concept I got from the poem. As a result, I have been able to discover the truth of the message the poet has tried to convey. I have seen that although my parents are from my grandparents, they are far much different from them. Even in my case, I am also very different from my parents, although they have tried to raise me more like them as their parents tried to raise them. Instead of all this, eventually we grow up as a different person with our individual identity.

As a result, the idea I have got from the poem is that even if our parents spend most of their life to raise us up, they really can’t control our mind and soul, because God has created every individual with different mind and thoughts. The relationship between children and parents is just a process run by God to continue the generations forward. Therefore, now I consider the fact that we belong to our parents is as a temporary concept, valid as long as we live.  Eventually God has the whole control over our lives and God is the one to whom we ultimately belong.

Aging: Going Back to Childhood

When I started to read the poem “On Aging” by Maya Angelou, suddenly I began to reminisce about my grandmother. However, the experience I have with my grandmother and the way the poet has portrayed the image of an old person is quite different.

In the poem the poet has showed that an old person wants to be alone, when he or she can indulge himself. He or she wants to listen to his or her mind and tries to savor the peace of calmness. In contrast, my grandmother always hated to be alone. Whenever she was alone she used to call us to join her. She used to say that when she is alone it reminds her about her old age and the upcoming death. She also tried to imply that her loneliness is a sign of our ignorance towards her.

Secondly, the poet has said that an old person doesn’t need anyone’s help, pity, or sympathy. Although I am not sure whether it is really pity, sympathy, or something else, my grandmother always liked kind words from us. She used to say that it makes her feel with happiness and life, as the way childrens feel  with joy and pleasure when elders show them their affection and love via words, gesture, and gift.

The poet has also said that an old person doesn’t like to seek help from others, even though it is hard for him to do their works by himself. He or she likes to be self dependent as long as possible. On the other hand, my grandmother always showed her great thankfulness whenever we offered her any help to her chores. Also in our religion we have a belief that it is mandatory to help an older person in his or her works, so that the God will bless us. We consider it as a way to convey our respect towards our elder.

Nevertheless, one part truly match with my experience with the poem is the last part. I certainly able to relate that part with my experience where the poet has said that it is not always the last goodbye for an old person. Also the part where it says that the heart of old persons is always remains the same as they were young, except the physical change. I have seen my grandmother always jolly and cheerful like a child who becomes ecstatic with simple things. When I asked my mother about that, she told me that a person becoming older is same as a person going back to his or her childhood. Since then I believe that by heart and soul. However, overall I like the poem which has given me a different perspective of old persons.

Myths and Beliefs

Every countries and religious has some beliefs and myths of their own. These myths and beliefs are not necessarily be true, but still these are so popular that people belief them without any question. When I read the story of Persephone by Laura Strong I also remembered about some of the beliefs we have in our religion. Those are mainly anecdote of our prophets which inspire us to do good things in our life. My mother used to tell them to me when I was a child. While reading the Greek mythology of Persephone, one of the anecdotes of our prophet popped in my mind. This anecdote is related to the creation of human and the beginning of evil. In our religion we belief Allah first created angels to worship him. Then he created human. After he created the first human Hazrat Adam (pbuh), he ordered all the other angels to bow in front of the human. All the angels did the same as Allah said. However, the chief of the angels Iblish disobeyed the order of Allah. He said that he is made of ray n fire, so why should he bow to clay made human. By doing that he developed the feelings of jealousy, greed, and disobediences which raised the evil inside him. Therefore, Allah banished him from heaven. However, before he left, he called for an open war against Allah that he would always try to distract human from the path of Islam until the end of the world. As a start, he began with Hazrat Adam (pbuh) for he was the reason of his banishment. When Hazrat Adam (pbuh) and his wife were enjoying the pleasure of heaven, Iblish secretly influenced them to eat fruit from the forbidden tree.  Thus, Allah became dissatisfied with them. However, when they asked for forgiveness, Allah gave them a chance to repent. They had been sent to the world so they can face the reality of life and earn their livelihood through hardship. Therefore, through this the starting of humankind began. Also that was the beginning of evil which Iblish had promised to raise in every human’s mind and heart. As the evil always tries to manipulate our mind and heart, we belief that best winner is that who can defeat the evil inside him.

My Response to “Once In a Lifetime”

While reading “Once in a Lifetime” by Jhumpa Lahiri, I reminisce many of my childhood incidents. Mostly it reminds me about some experiences I went through with my mother, as the way Hema went through with her mother. My mother always forced me to wear my cousin’s dresses as the way Hema’s mother forced her to wear Kaushik’s clothes. I was the youngest among all of my cousins, and that’s why I always had been offered their small clothes to wear. In spite of knowing that I do not like to wear those, my mother always forced me to wear them whenever I used to go outside. Therefore, this thing always had been a matter of argument between me and my mother. However, now I have grown up, and fortunately I do not have to wear my cousin’s dresses anymore. The other thing that reminds me about my childhood is the way Hema left her room for guests. When I was 13 years old, one of my aunties came to visit us from Sweden; therefore, I had been told by my parents to leave my room for my cousins. My room is always like a small world for me and I always like to spend most of my time in my room. Thus, the idea of changing my room ridiculed me. Nevertheless, I complied with my parents in order to show my obedience as the way Hema did. For me, the concept of changing room for a while was not any less than changing my house for a while. Those days were the most awkward days of my life, when I live in my own house like a stranger. Although I did not say anything, my mother understood my disturbance and never asked me to do that again. However, this thing doesn’t bother me much now. As i am living in AUW, i have to change my room every year; so i think that single change in my childhood  is really helping now me to get use to with all this. I am really thankful to my parents for making me capable of faceing and adapting any sudden change of life.