Wednesday, 22 January 2014

ISU Check #2

Sara Banerji's novel Shining Hero revolves around many characters living both the poor and rich life in India and how their worlds collide around a scandal. Throughout the novel, there are many different examples of how Indian culture displays gender and the meaning of family.

Banerji displays this through the marriage of Koonty and Pandu how differently each sex is treated within an Indian family. If it was found out that Koonty had had a child with another man before their wedding, her life would have been ruined. She would not be able to wed, her parents would exile her out of shame and the town would shun her. While on the other hand, Pandu is able to come home every night from a brothel smelling like the perfume of another woman without any consequences whatsoever. There is a clear distinction here on who holds power over who in the marriage based on how a woman is expected to be faithful, proper and conservative and a man can do whatever he wishes. Also, when Pandu dies, the money of the household goes to their 8 year old son because no one would leave money to a woman.

Overall, this novel taught me a lot about Indian culture and how harshly woman can be treated even within their own family

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Does Tuition Compromise Learning?

If you are like me, you have probably thought about your education after high school quite a bit. You have also probably thought about how much of a financial strain it is to continue your education.

Even if you are an intelligent individual, get accepted to a college or university, there still is the question of whether or not you can afford it. Even though there are student loans that someone can use to put them through schooling, they are in debt until they have a stable career and can pay them off. If people wanted to create a brighter future for our generation and the next, why would they compromise our right to continue our learning?

For example, in my family, my parents have 3 daughters that are 15, 16 and 18 years old and they want to pay for the first few years of university for each of us. My first sister is already at university and my parents are already incredibly nervous about saving for when myself and my younger sibling go. It does not just put stress on the students it puts stress on the parents as well. I also have a cousin who went to school off of student loans to become a teacher. He is now in huge debt and is struggling to find a job.

Education for a better future should not be based on whether or not you can afford it. It should be based on whether or not a person has the grades and is willing to further their learning. Tuition should be lowered in order for the next generation to realize their potential.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Mystery Skype

On Tuesday November 26th, our grade 11 class skyped a class that lives on reserve in Manitoulin Island so we could learn about their culture.

1) What did you learn from the Mystery Skype???

Something I learned from the Mystery Skype is how much the students feel singled out when going into the city. Some students said that they feel that the 'white people' keep their distance from them in the city and that they feel judged based on their ethnicity. They also said that the 8th Fire documentary made them sad about how the aboriginals that live in urban areas are constantly stereotyped about things that don't apply to them. Before the Skype call I didn't really think about how much native lives could be more difficult in the city, so that was a really eye opening thing to learn about.

2) What did you like about the Mystery Skype???

Something I really liked about the Mystery Skype would be how each class shared things about their culture. Many things were very similar, like some of the sports we play, and many things were different, like how they use traditional medicine and have different rules compared to us. I think that both classes learned a lot about each other's culture which was really interesting to be a part of.

3) What needs to be improved???

One thing that I think needs to be improved for next time there is a Mystery Skype would be that there needs to be a little bit more organization for making the questions because there was a lot of them and I think that we could have narrowed it down a bit so that the really good questions would not be so hard to find in the list.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

ISU Check #1

Does Sara Banerji have enough knowledge about India to make Shining Hero a credible novel about India's culture? In my opinion, I think she does.

Shining Hero is about two half brothers living in India named Karna and Arjuna. The story highlights how it is to grow up being both a rich and a poor Indian male. It also touches on how hard it can be to hold power in India because it is set in the time when communists are trying to take over.

 The reason I think Sara Banerji is knowledgeable enough to make Shining Hero a credible novel would be because she has lived on both spectrums of social class as an Indian woman. Although Banerji grew up in England she did live in a small mud house with no running water after World War 2. She lets this childhood setting shine through, portraying Karna's young life in poverty.

When Banerji met her husband, that's when they finally moved to India. In India, they ran a dairy farm for 17 years and were very successful. But, ultimately their success was defeated by monsoons and a heavy rainy season. This can be connected back to Arjuna's life where his father was a powerful 'zamindar' and ran a dairy farm himself. The communists in the story ended up taking their cows and killing the 'zamindar'. This can be seen as symbolism, because the communists could be viewed as the storm that wiped away all of Banerji's wealth, taking away all of Arjuna's power.

Overall, I think Sara Banerji's life reflects a lot of what has happened in Shining Hero from the good and the bad.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Costume or Culture?

Can a Halloween costume really be so much of a stereotype that it will offend an entire culture? In my opinion, I think it depends on the costume.

It may be going too far if you dress up in a traditional ghutra and iqal over your head with bombs strapped to your chest, while painting your face black to look like you are a part of a different race. That example is obviously offensive to many different people. Dressing up in a certain way that is making fun of a culture's past, is denying them to move forward and create a new name for themselves. It's like bringing up your worst memory and reliving it over and over again each year, like 9/11.

On the other hand, not all cultural costumes are offensive. Some costumes could even be flattering, like the geisha, people only dress up as them because they think they are pretty. They are not trying to be culturally offensive, they are trying to be different and unique in the particular society they are a part of.

Continuing, some stereotypes are just ridiculous. For example, in the text they talked about a Hispanic guy holding up a picture of a guy wearing a Mexican donkey costume. Compared to a Muslim student holding up someone dressed as a terrorist, I don't think a donkey is very offensive. If anything, it's just a harmless joke. I'm a Canadian and I don't get upset when I see lumberjack costumes for sale at the store.

Overall, I think that we need to draw the line between being offensive and being overly sensitive about the costumes people choose to wear.