Iliad

After reading the epic poem Iliad, I feel a little sad because the writer ignores the women in the story. He doesn’t tell anything about the women how they feel when they were abducted by other people. For instance, the writer doesn’t tell us how Helen, Chryseis, and Briseis felt when they were taken away from their home. Since the beginning of the world, the women have been neglected by other people. Women don’t get respect from their society; no one cares about them.  However, the amazing thing is that they never fought for their rights. This is the main reason that they are lagging behind the men. Consequently, men are exploiting women and don’t give equal rights to them. We can see their condition by these two examples:

Firstly, Agamemnon refused to ransom Chyseis, his prize, so Achilles said that if he returned the prize (a woman), all armies would collect and redistribute their prizes and he would get three or four times more than the previous one. Just think about the conditions of women in that age when women didn’t have any choice for their husbands. They were distributed like objects; anyone could take advantage of them. However, no one took action against their acts. Many goddesses could have removed this bad social practice, but they hadn’t come forward.

Secondly, in our religious book Ramayana, the wife of Rama, protagonist of the story, had been kidnapped by Ravan, antagonist of the story. Therefore, there was a great war between them and Rama won the war. When his wife came out from Ravan’s prison, Rama said to give Agnipariksha (sit on the fire to make someone pure) to his wife.  He didn’t believe his wife whether she was pure or not. If she had not been pure, then she would have burnt on the fire. At that time, his wife didn’t object to this, and silently sat on the fire to show her purity. If she had objected to him, many women would have gotten courage from that to fight against the discrimination and injustice towards them.

These two incidents are not closely related to each other, but they give the idea that women’s conditions could have been better if our ancestors had taken actions against these customs. However, now women have the same positions as of men. They have made their positions in our society.

Joy Luck club

The ability to presume what is going to happen in the family by observing the changes that are occurring around—that was what Lena’s mother, Ying Ying St. Clair, use to do and in most cases she was correct. Whatever she told turned out to come true! And she had once told Lena that she would marry a bad husband. Lena married Harold and for the first few years Lena proved her mother wrong. She loved him and he did too. But later she gets divorced from him—once again what her mother had told came true. Ying Ying did not like the way they lived, particularly the house and its interior designs and also the way they maintained the lists of items that they buy and the cost of every single item. They lived in the same house and were husband and wife but still maintained their own expenses.

The system of maintaining our own expenses seems good to me, in a way. Why to bother others with your own expenditure. You can see it by keeping yourself in their shoe too. How would you feel if you have to pay for someone else’s cost? Would you like to be responsible for other’s everyday expenditure?  You would not want that, you would prefer to pay for yourself and expect others to pay for themselves too. For once or for twice one would help but again and again, no one would like that. Moreover, paying for someone else would make the other, for whom you pay, be dependent on you in future.

But here in Lena’s case it’s between a husband and a wife and I think they should maintain their personal expenses (if they want to) but it looks unfair, or I better say odd that a couple maintaining bills for the things they purchase. But again here there is slight unequal purchase between them. Lena buys all the stuffs that are used by both like kitchen items, eatables like chicken, bread and other groceries but Harold buys the things that mean only to him like garage stuff, car stuff movies, gas and at times dinner. It is good to maintain such notes of expenditure one makes to keep in track how much you earn and how much you have spend. One can also accordingly plan how much to save for the future too.  But to note of those little things such as eating ice-cream and the price for dinner, etc. would create an uneasy atmosphere. It shows that they don’t trust each other and there isn’t a strong bond between them.

A mother is always a mother.

The chapter “Four Direction” of Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan made me confused about the actual relationship between Waverly and her mother Lindo, two main characters of this chapter.

From the beginning, Waverly was worried about her mother that she would not agree with her decision of remarrying. As her mother always found negative things or faults, which were always right, she was afraid that her mother would change her mind. She tried several times and at last was able to tell her about Rich and her affair. Then she found that her mother knew it and said that she did not hate her future husband. When she blamed her that she never agreed with her, she cried. Waverly was confused with the strength and weakness simultaneously. After that her mother said from here she came and what the significant of his. Though Waverly was confused why she was telling those things, later she understood the meaning of her mother’s word. She realized that she was fighting against herself, not against her mother. Moreover, she discovered that her mother was not completely rude; she also had love and weakness for her mother.

I think that all people and their personality are not equal in the world. Though I cannot imagine my mother’s behavior like Waverly’s mother, I think she also had the same love and adore for her, which my mother has for me. My mother thinks that she does not love her children like other mothers. I also think that sometimes she is rude. However, I feel that my mother is the best mother in the world. This realization did not come to Waverly as she always thought about the negative things about her mother. Maybe she was over rude sometimes; she did those things from her personal and cultural points of view and the thought of betterment for her daughter. A mother never cannot destroy her daughter’s life, even she cannot think of. Therefore, when her mother made her understand that she was worried about herself, not about her, it was clear that her mother did not have any intension of interrupting in her life. Constantly, Waverly was happy and had new feelings for her mother.

In conclusion, I want to say that a mother always thinks for the betterment of her children. Waverly and her mother’s relation is one of the proofs of this fact. However, it is not clear to me that why Waverly said that “I did understand finally. Not she just said. But what had been true all along.”

I think someone will help me to understand that.

True Treasure

This week, we read some parts of a film transcript called Back to School. The film (a documentary I guess) addresses different obstacles which stop children from going to school in the developing countries. One of the seven children whose stories reveal their struggle for going back to school and get educated is an Afghan girl named Shugufa. Many issues like migration, war, gender discrimination, distraction by household responsibilities, stereotypes about uselessness of educating children, lack of teachers and sufficient infrastructure for schools are illustrated as problems on the way of educating Afghan children.

This is very sad, but true. Gender discrimination is one of the biggest barriers that deprives girls from getting the primary education, which is one the basic elements of international human rights charters, in many parts of Afghanistan, especially the southern estates that are mainly home to Taliban. During Taliban regime, women were not allowed to go to schools at all. Despite the fact that now there is a democracy in Afghanistan, and the government tries to provide a free education for all, Taliban in the areas that are dominant make it difficult for women to attend schools by threatening them in different ways. According to the BBC, on 12 November 2008, in a ruthless action some Taliban insurgents threw acid on the faces of 14 schoolgirls in Kandahar city. Those girls lost their beauty of their faces forever but not their faith in the power and brightness that education could bring to their mind. After getting the primary treatments, they all returned back to their schools to show the world, the horrified families and other schoolgirls that nothing should stop women from getting their own rights.

I am proud of those brave Afghan girls who did not let some stone-aged, rotten-minded Talib steal their real treasure, their ambitions, from them. In fact, I feel more responsible than before to help Afghan women get what they really deserve whenever I see how they struggle to prove their existence as a human even if by giving in their facial beauty forever.

Observation and Prediction

When you observe something very deeply you may be able to predict about it, which means you can understand what will be its future. Sometimes it also happens that what you say about something becomes true. Then it will just be a coincidence. When I read the chapter “Rice Husband” of the novel Joy Luck Club, which is written by Amy Tan, I found Ying-ying St. Clair whose characteristic is similar to this characteristic. Ying- ying, who is mother of Lena St. Clair, always predicts about what or who is around her. First of all she says about his husband’s death is that she knew that he will die. It seems that her prediction comes true, but this does not happen in real. Actually she observes her husband very well and she sees him to eat very rich fat food every day. That’s why she understands that it will cause great damage to his health and he will die. Secondly, she also predicts about Lina and her husband’s marriage life. She predicts that they do not have sweet relationship between them. She says like this as she observes their life style (For example, she notices that Lina and her husband make a balance sheet and her husband does not know much about her). Here it can be said that good observation can make people to predict correctly. No one can know what will happen in future, even after 5 minute.

When I was thinking about the prediction which becomes true, one incident of my life flashed in my mind. Once I went to my village with my cousins after my final exam. I did very bad in my math exam and was very worried that I might be not passed in the math exam. During the whole journey I could not sleep, and when I reached in the village I was totally exhausted. After that I went to the village fair and there I found one person who can tell people’s future by watching their hands. I showed him my hands, and observing my hand, he said that I was in great tension and something bad had happened in my life. I was surprised that he knew that I did bad in my exam. After giving him money when I returned to my cousins and told them about it all of them started to laugh. It was because the man made me fool because it was obvious in my face that I was in tension and observing my face he told like this, not watching my hands.

However, it is good if we observe something very well and can predict about it. Good observation can protect us from be harmed by thing.

Unspoken Words

These two dialogues are dedicated to the two characters of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The characters are Waverly Jong and her mother Lindo Jong.

Waverly Jong:

“Ma! Why did not you try to realize my feelings at my childhood? I did not want your extravagant show-off which made me feeling embarrassed. I did not want that because it made me to fill up with anger. Do you want to know why? Because it meant to me that you did not accept my power of playing chess. I know once I was a prodigy as I played chess so easily because of my confidence. But it is you! Yes, you who shattered my power of confidence. I wanted you to tell me something after my bad behavior to you on Stockton Street in front of people. But you said nothing, nothing which I expected. I expected it because I wanted to play chess, because I wanted to take my revenge to you perfectly, because I wanted you to behave with me normally. But you did not do this. If you realized my feelings, then I would not have to give up playing chess, my most favorite game where I won, not you.”

Lindo Jong:

“Meimei, I knew what was your feeling. But I wanted to teach you a lesson. As a mother, I had to teach you something which could make you to realize a fact ‘nothing is easy’. You wanted me not to show-off. You wanted me not to interfere in your game. I did not do this. But then what was happened? You wanted to take revenge, but it reflected on you. You had to give up playing chess, not me. Were you happy then? You wanted not to abide by my words…but you were off from your right track. A mother always wants well-being of her child. If you realized my thought, then you would not have to suffer a lot…” ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Maybe they wanted to tell these to each other, but they could not because their cultures were different, Waverly got used to live in American culture, and her mother had her Chinese origin. Though they were mother and daughter and shared the same blood, the language of their blood relationship became changed which made a gap between them. Thus, they were never able to communicate properly as they wanted because they made translations to understand each other, but the matter was that they could not; in translation, there was something missing which weakened their communicating bond. What is your opinion? Was that their fate?

Lena’s Rice Husband

In the chapter “Rice Husband,” of The Joy Luck Club, the main character, Lena, eats furiously scouring every grain of rice to avoid a poke-marked man to be her husband in the future. This concept is given by her mother in order to persuade her to eat properly. In contrast, Lena perceives it quite seriously and believes it is a good method to avoid Arnold, a boy with many pokes as big as rice grains size, and whom she hated a lot for his mischiefs. However, her thinking changes when she sees a movie in her school about the people who suffer from leprosy. As being a naïve child, she thinks that a person who suffer from leprosy and dies is the result of his wives’ half plate eating habit. Therefore, she decides not to eat. She doesn’t wish Arnold to die, but she wants to escape the prospects of him being her future husband. Coincidently, Arnold suffers from measles and dies after some years.  As time elapses, Lena realizes that it was her foolishness to believe taking every piece of rice at the end of her meal brings the misfortune to marry a bad husband. However, her eating disorder continues causing her to suffer from anorexia. Finally, when she is 28, she marries Harold, who tends to be a real bad husband contrasting to Arnold who was her “wounded love”. Harold, her mercenary husband, spoils her married life which makes her realize that whatever she gets is what she deserves.

Amy Tan, the author of The Joy Luck Club, symbolizes ‘rice’ as a person. ‘Rice husband’ is for Arnold who used to love her and who would really be nice to her if he was alive, but she has lost the opportunity to spend her life with a good man. As Lena tried to do bad to Arnold to avoid him to be her future husband, she had to suffer a bad husband. Rice is also used as a symbol to show that if a person wants or intends to do badly to others, then he or she has to suffer similar kinds of action in return.

In my view, this is a very significant way to make the readers aware of the consequences that a person has to suffer if his or her intentions are to harm others.  In my view, the way Lena portray as a brutal woman shows that if a person wants to demolish others, then sooner or later the person will suffer pain, which may be similar to his or her bad deeds.

The power of a Mother

                When I read the chapter “Four Directions” of the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, I am surprised of the power of a mother. Waverly describes thoroughly about her mother’s contributions in her entire life. For her whole life she thought her mother as her enemy, and she accused her mother of her bad luck. When she used to play chess, her mother liked to show off her to the people. Waverly couldn’t accept that, and she thought that her mother claimed all credits of her winning in the chess. In order to hurt her mother she gave up some chess matches, but her mother was quite indifferent to her. Later, when Waverly had decided to play chess again, she lost her talent for playing chess. Waverly realized that one secret of her talent was her mother’s love and support. When she lost it, she lost her talent too. Again, Waverly says about her first husband Marvin whom her mother used to criticize all the time. Later, Waverly divorced him, and she believed that her mother’s constant criticism towards her husband destroyed her marriage. She wanted to marry her boyfriend Rich, and she was afraid of her mother that if her mother disliked him. When she went to tell her mother the news of her marriage, she realized the most crucial truth of her life. She realized that she had always blamed her mother for her misfortune, but her mother was the one who always wished good luck for her life.

            The whole story describes how a mother’s love, support, blessing and blame influence one’s life. I know the truth why Waverly failed in the chess. I know how strong the power of a mother is. This story reminds me some moments about my mother. I noticed that whenever I disobeyed my mother, I failed in my exam. I learned about this power of mothers from my religion Islam. According to my religion, “if your any kind of behavior hurts your mother, you will suffer in the long run.” Waverly hurt her mother by neglecting chess game and married a man whom her mother didn’t like, so she suffered for all of these faults. Finally, I want to share a story about my mother and my eldest sister.

             Once my eldest sister was going to face a job interview, but before going for the interview she didn’t touch my mother’s feet. According to our culture, it’s mandatory to touch elder’s feet asking their blessings before leaving home for any good purpose. My sister didn’t get the job, and my mother said to me, “I knew she would not get the job. She didn’t ask for my blessings, and she just ignored me. However, I prayed for my daughter, but Allah’s punishment is always obvious.” I was so surprised that I told everything to my sister, and she asked for her forgiveness. Later, surprisingly, my sister got the same job. How strange!

            In conclusion, my request to all of my friends- please, never heart your mother. Although they scold you, their love and blessings are always with you!

Abortion

          Abortion means the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnency. According to the Muslim religion aborting a baby is equivalent with thirteen murders. Though abortion means killing a baby, it is logical in some certain reasons. Additionally, woman has the right to choose what happens to her own body is markedly flawed; on the other words she has the right to decide whether she wants a baby or not and. According the law before 20 weeks abortion is legal. Abortion has both advantages and disadvantages. Actually, it depends how people use it. Moreover, sometimes it helps people to control some bad situations.

         Firstly, if a girl, who is teenager, is raped by a man or cheated by her boyfriend and become pregnant. Then what will she does? Does she give birth to the baby? Does she give the baby a life without a father or give a bad future? A society like ours in Bangladesh doesn’t accept an unmarried girl with a baby. They always consider the baby illegal. In this regard, for saving that teenage girl’s life aborting this unwanted pregnancy is logical.

          Secondly, one woman already has four children. Her husband is the only person who earns money and he is facing hard time to fulfill all the basic needs of their children. Therefore, now her husband is economically unable to afford another child. But unfortunately she became pregnant again. In this situation abortion is logical.

           Thirdly, abortion is rational for preventing the birth of a child with birth defects or severe medical problems. Such defects are often unknown until routine second-trimester tests are done

            Lastly, if the mother is not physically prepared to have a baby and this pregnancy can be caused for her death, than abortion is necessary.

             Unfortunately, people often use abortion in bad reasons. However, young generation often have sex before marriage and try to get rid of their unwanted pregnancy by doing abortion. Sometimes people take decision to abort baby only because the baby is a girl. In those cases, abortion is not logical and is similar to murder.

Small and Great

          In the chapter “Rice Husband” of THE JOY LUCK CLUB by Amy Tan, the character Lena told stories about her mother’s special abilities to see bad things before they actually happened, about the process that she got anorexia, and about her marriage that seemed balanced on the surface. After I finished the reading, I found that all of these were related to small things, which were often ignored but had unbelievable power to make the problems become great afterward.

            Lena always believed in her mother’s special abilities. In fact, her mother– Ying-ying – had these amazing abilities due to her great power of observation. For example, Ying-ying had found that her husband’s unhealthy eating habits, so she knew that there must be something bad happened to him (Tan 162). From which Tan shows us the great impacts of small things – unhealthy eating habits lead to death. Similarly, Lena’s eating disorders were the causes of getting anorexia. In addition, in the case of Lena’s marriage, Harold didn’t really understand Lena; he even didn’t know that Lena could not eat ice cream. Because this kind of things seemed so small, Harold didn’t concern about them, then, their marriage was falling down in the end.

            I remember a scene that when Lena told Harold that she loved him in a morning, he just gave a brief and emotionless response that he loved her too (Tan 174). It seemed like a small thing that would not affect their relationship, but indeed, it did. Connected with the real life, we are often indifferent to something that we think it is small, such as saying “thank you” to parents or saying “I love you” to our family members. To some extent, our unconcern causes some changes that we do not realize until it becomes serious. One more instance of this is we may don’t care some bad habits we have; then, when those habits result as diseases or some unpleasant consequences in the future, we will find the power of those small things we don’t care now.

          I really like the Chinese term that Tan uses in this chapter – Chunwang chihan – which was defined as “one thing is always the result of another” (Tan 161). I want to add something that Tan doesn’t mention – this term gives people a suggestion that to pay attention to each small thing because it is always related to a great thing in the end. If anyone wants to have the special abilities as what Ying-ying had, he or she may have to pay closer attention to small things in his or her life.