Monday, September 30, 2013

Question on Turtle Soup by Marilyn Chin

Exploration of the Text

1. Notice the author's choice of the word "cauldron" in line 4. What images or connections does this word evoke? Why might the author have chosen "cauldron" rather than "pot"?

Cauldron is what usually used by witches to cook their potions of nasty ingredients in. The image that the author tried to portray here might be the idea of the mother cooking that turtle itself is considered witch like act or socially unacceptable to the American culture as seen in this line:- 

(who knows what else is in that cauldron)

The line suggested as if the persona rhetorically questioning what else is in that pot/cauldron and it suggest that the persona is disgusted with things in the cauldron/pot because usually witch is associated of using horrible and disgusting ingredients in making their potions/cooking etc. 

2. Chin refers to "the Wei," "the Yellow",  "the Yangtze." Why does she reference these rivers in China? Why not include the Nile, the Amazon,  or the Mississippi?

It is suggested in the poem that the persona's mother came from the main land and it is easier for the persona to make a point if it is related to something closed and dear to mother instead of something foreign or alien to her.

3. What is the tone of the poem?

The tone may be considered as ridicule.  The 'argument' that happened between the persona and the mother might suggest a few other tones. I may be strict as both of them are standing their ground. As the argument got intense up to the point where it made the mother cries. It may also suggest anger, shown through the argument they had.

Ideas for Writing

1. "Sometimes you're the life, sometimes the sacrifice." Write about this quote within the context of an immigrant family. What might a family gain or lose by moving to  a new land?

What one may say regarding the stated quote, in the context of an immigrant family are the culture and everything that they ever knew regarding their motherland. One may find it hard to simply forget about their memories back in their motherland, but that is all, just memories. When an individual moved or migrated to another country, they automatically lose their citizenship and that is something big to give and needs a thorough thought put to it. Losing citizenship is one thing, giving up your culture is another big thing to consider. Sure one can still practice their culture in their new land, but will it be socially accepted? For example, Malaysian likes to pay a visit to their closed ones, while in The States, they would regard that action as an inappropriate gesture as one should only come to another home if they are invited.

If we ought to talk about something that the immigrant gain, they may gained a better life abroad, get a good job and settle down. That IF they get the opportunity. Again, using The States as an example, the phases 'America, the Land of Opportunity', 'The Land of the Free', and 'the American dreams' may sound tempting, but those words have been thrown around so much lately that they have come overrated. What has the world witness for the past years in The United States? Immigrant left to rot. Unemployed and a sore eye to the nation hence the outside world. In other word, remember what one gives to gain something else. Is it worth it going through the troubles just one could buy a car that eventually polluted the environment? 

Relating the quote "Sometimes you're the life, sometimes the sacrifice" to the an immigrant family, "Sometimes you're the life.." means the new land that offers new life for the immigrant, new hope and dreams to be achieved while the sacrifice is the culture and identity that one or in this case the family has to give in order to survive in the new land they called home or at least be accepted in the new land. Giving up something that has been thought or familiar to you and adapt or assimilate something that is so contrast to your culture or identity is something to ponder about. In the poem Turtle Soup, the persona's mother came from the Main Land which holds more than 5000 years of civilization while The States is a relatively new land. Adapting to their culture will surely be a challenge to the mother as it is something foreign to her and something that she would not simply forgotten. If one willing to trade his or her culture for another, then by all means, go ahead but if hesitation comes as a big wall of brick, one should ask his/herself, are you ready for this?

Group members : - Yvonne
                             - Izu
                             - Mira

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