PTI Check-In Paragraph Response: What is Juniors Most Significant Conflict?

In Sherman Alexi’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Junior feels powerless on his indigenous reserve and faces a plethora of conflicts. Junior’s most poignant conflicts are the stereotypes set for him. These stereotypes push him to be someone he is not, shame him for being himself, and invalidate every emotion in his faultless heart. Junior is constantly pressured to “[try] and look tough,” but his mellow and noble nature stops him from sinking to the level of his barbaric classmates (64). The communities he is placed in pull him in different directions, meaning every time he fulfills an expectation, he empties another. The students at Rearden expect him to be “something less than less than Indian,” yet his reserve believes he should fulfill his destiny as a “zero on the rez” (16 & 83).   In an attempt to conform to society’s standards and blend into the background, Junior is constantly trying to defy these stereotypes, but the labels for indigenous peoples are carved so deeply into the grain of societythey seem insurmountable. Despite being very well rounded and bright, his teachers see Junior as nothing but a helpless primate with little focus. Although Junior seizes his future in his own hands by going to a more modern school off the reservationhis indigenous peers only see him as a fool and a traitor. Because of Juniors differences, physical and intellectual, no matter what he does, good or bad, those around him always find a way to see his choices as witless and rash decisions. He does not get praised, respected, or even acknowledged for any of his accomplishments yet he receives an immense amount of judgement, ridicule, and hatred for his mistakes. Junior is a hard-working boy who is trying to satisfy everyone’s standards, but in the process of caring for others, he is losing himself.  Junior fights to be his authentic self but struggles to stay afloat in a sea of societal judgement and limitations. 

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Statement Response: How I Identify With My Ethnicity

My ethnicity has always been part of the building blocks that make me. I don’t believe that someone’s skin colour makes them who they are, but I do believe that culture shapes personalities and it keeps people grounded. Being a biracial person, I often have people ask where my parents are from; although many find this tedious, I love explaining my ethnicity and my familys origin story. Knowing all the hardships my ethnicity has gone through pushes me to carry on tradition and to work hard for the life my ancestors fought for. Hearing the racist encounters my family has endured makes me see how lucky I am to be living in a time where I can be authentically myself. I feel as though if I were to hide my culture, I would be belittling the battles they have fought for me. After the hate crimes, wars, and racial slurs Chinese people have experienced, the very least I could do for my people is to share my culture with pride. When I was in elementary school, the ignorance of my fellow students allowed me to notice the disadvantages placed upon me for my ethnicity. I felt as though white people had far more than I could ever have, but Being a minority allows me to see a world through a lens a Caucasian person can’t. I get to experience being stereotyped and shamed for the colour of my skin, yet I believe that this builds my character and makes me a wellrounded person who would never do these things to others.  I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t identify with my ethnicity because I am so proud to be Chinese. 

The Field Awaits You

Atop a hill you can see the field. Your feet stumble in front of each other walking towards the silent misty labyrinth. As your hapless shadow enters the maze, an unforeseen chill rolls down your spine like an avalanche on a crisp winter’s day. The glacial conditions become unbearable and you can feel your skin tighten as you wince at a shrill holler, like a fork scratching a dinner plate. You can smell the rotting secrets in the dirt. You fall into a trapdoor of panic as light breathing drowns your ears. The breathing becomes panting like a dog, as humidity builds on the back of your neck getting warmer and warmer. You whirl around to see what was lurking behind you, but it seems your mind has fooled you. The haunting stalks grasp desperately at your ankles and wrists, longing for you to come back and save them. You gasp for a breath of relief and carry on – trudging down the nightmarish path. The ground below you is giving out after every step you take, escaping the mass of your ponderous steps. With nowhere to go you fall into the layered depths of the field. Your throat swelling up from your painful wailing. Buried alive, you are now part of the maze, that moments ago was grasping at you.  The ground croaks above you as footsteps patter into the field. It’s your turn to pull at the hands of victims to warn them of their fate, but it’s no use. The field awaits them just as it awaited you. 

Etta James: The Queen of Soul

When I look out at the people and they look at me and they’re smiling, then I know that I’m loved. That is the time when I have no worries, no problems.” – Etta James

I am drawn towards Etta James because I aspire to defy all odds as she did. She had the power to command her audience through her music, to defy expectations, break stereotypes, and rise above the limitations set for her; all these things being my life goals. Her singing could tell a story and I feel like we share that passion. We are both females and minorities, which motivates me to achieve as much as she did. I use music writing as an outlet for my feelings; when the world around me gets to be too much for my brain to handle, the only way to let it out is through music. I think that we share this quality. The biggest differences between us is that I live in a time of acceptance and freedom and she had to fight her way to achieve things I can get so easily. She was also religious. Although, her faith doesn’t bother me, because even if what we believe is different, we both have our own core values, whether that come from religion our how we were raised. Etta knew that she wanted to bring her style of music to the world, and no one was going to get in her way. I would like to gain the type of independence and drive she had while I am in TALONS. If I can implement her confidence into my work, I will be far more accepting of myself. Although her independence was her strength, it was also her weakness. Her intense personality and drive intimidated people, causing doors of opportunity to close. Etta did not just break the mold, she broke barriers that society built for her. As an abused child of colour in the foster care system, hopes not high for her, but her voice and confidence carried her to the top. She was verbally and physically abused by her vocal coaches but ,singing through the pain, she performed anywhere she could and finally became the star society led her to believe she could never be. It is important for people to research Etta James because she reminds us that you can have bad days but if you find a way to release your stress into something you’re passionate about, you will be truly happy. She will be remembered for pouring her soul into song and letting people see that vulnerability makes groundbreaking music, her emotion affected the music industry in a way that will never be reversed. No longer will music be hollow and meaningless, a good tune will need to have depth and history.  I believe she is worth researching because not only she was on fire herself, but she was also the spark that started the flame of many others. Etta James was eminent because she changed the music industry through her passion; she put her heartbreak on the radio for the world to hear, and because of her impactful sound, she influenced successful musicians such as Adele, Beyoncé and Diana Ross. She gave these women hope that even if we come from nothing, we can become something prodigious. She was inspiring, but she was also inspired. She was influenced by Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Rosetta Tharpe, who were also all eminent women. She expected herself to follow her idols and fill their monumental shoes. This seemingly unattainable goal was not just achieved by Etta James but surpassed by the one and only “Queen of Soul”.

Bibliography

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Etta James.” Encyclopædia BritannicaEncyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Dec. 2016, www.britannica.com/biography/Etta-James.

Deming, Mark. “Etta James | Biography & History.” AllMusic, 2018, www.allmusic.com/artist/etta-james-mn0000806542/biography.

“Etta James.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 28 Apr. 2017, www.biography.com/people/etta-james-9542558.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Etta James Influences.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008, www.shmoop.com/at-last-etta-james/influences.html.

“Who Is Etta James? Everything You Need to Know.” Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline, 2018, www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/ettajames-5452.php.

 

 

 

Anne of Green Gables Scene One Response

Anne impresses me by being confident in herself and optimistic about humanity despite all the unkindness she has encountered in her young life. Even though Marilla is firmly resolved to send her back to the asylum because she is “not [the] boy” they expected and “nobody want[s her]”, Anne believes she has skills the Cuthbert’s could use(27/45). She was rejected and moved from home to home, and yet she still assumes that “they [mean] to be just as good and kind as possible” (47). She fears returning to a life of isolation because she is an amazing storyteller and she wants an audience who will appreciate, rather than mock her wild imagination. She is conflicted internally because her lively imagination gives her joy yet is the cause of her ridicule; she struggles to either celebrate her gift or hide it from judgement. I can relate to Anne because I also do not conform to the norms of the ideal girl who is expected to be dainty and helpless. For example, I have strong opinions and I am often judged for vocalizing my thoughts. If I had suffered rejection like Anne had, I would not have the same strength and determination to prove my worth or be able to see a common pond as “the lake of shining waters” (23). Anne’s ability to love herself and her positive view on life are appreciated by Marilla and Mathew and she earns a family and a home at Green Gables.

The Hidden Consequences of Lying

Happiness gained from a mistruth is delusionalmeaningless, and ultimatelyunsustainableSam’s lie seems wrong; for me, the pros of this situation are not worth the emptiness of the cons. There is a significant positive impact on Dave and Morley’s wellbeing because of Sam’s declaration that his “dad is dying,” but that boost of self-esteem Morley and Dave feel when “[n]eighbors started showing up” dropping off “spinach lasagna” and compliments was hollow.  If they find out about the truth behind the kindness, they would feel patronized. In fact, the accidental positivity from their neighbors may damage their sense of self even further; their prior self-doubt has not been addressed at all.  Carl’s claim that Dave “look{s} great” comes from a sense of obligation, not truth.  Even though there was no ill will in their intentions, I still feel like there is something ethically wrong about leading people to believe something that is untrue. Dave feels old and unattractive, and the compliments he receives help him regain confidence and make him feel youthful again. Little does he know that those “compliments” are simply a bandage for someone who is believed to be a dying man. If I was lied to, I hope I would have the ability to see through the forgery. If I was being pitied, I would not feel confident; I would feel demeaned. Dave and Morley’s emotions are in fact being manipulated because the compliments and gifts they receive are tokens of pity and not genuine regard. Maybe Dave’s ignorance to the situation made him believe the lies, maybe he believes his neighbor’s words because he wants them to be true. After all, he does not have the context I do to make an informed inference. Although sometimes it’s easier to believe false platitudesself-improvement requires the truth.

Alex: The Ideal Camp Partner

Although on first glance Alex seems like the polar opposite of me, if you dig a little deeper, we have more in common than you think. Alex is a jack of all trades, being someone who enjoys basketball, reading and art. Since she is such a complex person, she could relate to a plethora of people. Because of this, when making conversation with Alex, we could talk about something we have in common, or she could talk about something I may have never heard of. She brings the best of both sides of the personality spectrum. One of the main things that I would like to do on the retreat is to gain new insights. Her being so skilled in many subjects, gives me the opportunity to learn new things while on the retreat. I personally am not an athletic person, but maybe Alex could expand my horizons and give me a new way of looking at sports. We could teach each other and leave camp with more skills than when we arrived. Overall, Alex seems like every good quality of a friend blended together and I think that getting along with her would be effortless.