Reading log #6 Paper Menagerie  (In Progress)

Student Name: Christina Lamb

Text Title:  Paper Menagerie 

Author/Director:  Ken Liu

Text Type :  Short Story

Date Finished:  31st of August

A brief outline of the plot (2-3 sentences):  

Jack’s mother creates paper animals to communicate with her son. But when he grows up he stops talking to her as she cant converse english. After a loss, he goes on to discover her story and her hidden messages. 

What theme/s are addressed in the text? How is the theme explored in this text? Use specific examples/quotes

How does this text connect with the rest of the world (socially, culturally, politically, historically) Use specific examples/quotes

How/What does this text teach us/you about society and the world we live in (setting/themes/characters/plot) Use specific examples/quotes

How/does this text connect to your personal experiences or viewpoints?

Explain why you would recommend this text (writing style/ideas/structure/language features used) Use specific examples/quotes

Creative Writing…

Statement of Intent: This Creative writing is written as part of the standard AS91101. It includes figurative language to capture the readers attention and to describe a coastal place in Canada. 

Slowly sinking rays make their way down the smooth rugged bank. Small, green lanterns sprouting from engraved branches gleam from the fading light. Glowing, the rock face is turned into a luminous show highlighting the assorted leafy colors. Spiky like a pineapple top, staggering larch trees climb up the rock face, running from the Beaufort Sea. Birds’ silhouettes flutter across the peachy sky, slicing heaven with their delicate wings as they fly. They scatter a stream of flowing tunes that dance around dressing the air with a summer ballad, soon to be consumed by the darkness of tomorrow as dawn looms.

Concrete-like layers of sun-kissed charcoal crepes, reach for the citrus Canadian sky, almost falling off the never-ending azure platter. Blemished, bites, brush away, plunging into the infinite rippled sheets of sequins. The rock crepes slowly eroding, like the precious memories of today. Soon to be nothing left but a deserted plate with colossal crumbs, sinking to the bottom.

A perfect peach, floating on the surface is cut in half by the edge of the horizon, scattering splashes of tangerine, coral, and bronze onto the blue-royal canvas. Scrambling for the rocks, the clouds are like cotton candy, blushing from the touch of warmness, oozing out of the star in all shades pink and orange, turning the atmosphere into a festive show of vibrant colors. Sinking, the orb of amber leaves behind a trail of frail rays, that gradually fade into the background. Disappearing, like the grains of time falling to the bottom in an hourglass. Remaining threads of light slice the gritty sea. Broken, shattered, like a  mirror, a merged painting of today’s moments is left abandoned on the rough glass.

Rows of rustling, prickly, pine trees, release a delightful scent of freshness that brings back precious memories of the cold-white festive season. Christmas. Sweet and luscious, the perfume of maples,  swirling around the emptiness like a kite gliding through a clear day. Overwhelmed by the aroma of trees, the seas salty tanginess, mingles through the forest developing an interesting smell, that sends shivers into the wind. Sweeping away into the rock side, the breeze picks up wrinkles of water from the surface that skims onto the shore,  erupting into a silver spray of moonlight.

In the distance, a pearl coloured yacht is blown along by the gentle wind from yesterday’s whispers; chasing the never-ending horizon and its days to follow. Its enormous sails as divine as the neatly, carved, dove petals on a rose, capturing the vanished words of the soothing gust. Its solid oak ripping through the water, separating the sea like a zip being undone. The yacht lets out a boisterous sigh, that echoes its harmonies through the thick emptiness, stretching for miles over the lonely shores.

As today’s colorful hues fade way, tomorrow awaits to see the blues of the day. Waiting, for its time to shine as bright as the stars, that scatter across the night skies. As the hours fade by and seasons flow in, the months will keep rolling like tides coming in.

The Kite Runner Essay

In this novel, The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini uses the effective language feature of symbolism to help develop the theme of the book which is guilt and redemption. The author uses symbolism, foreshadowing and narrative point of view to represent Amir’s life and how he betrayed then tried to redeem his relationship with Hassan. The first paragraph is about how the author uses Kite running as a symbol for how Amir betrays Hassan and then tries to redeem himself. Secondly, The pomegranate tree is a symbol of Hassan and Amir’s relationship and how it changes over the years. Finally, Hassan’s dream is a representation of what is to come in the future.

Throughout the novel, Khaled uses kite running to represent the themes of the book which is betrayal and redemption. At the beginning of the novel when Amir and Hassan first enter the kite fighting competition it all seems very innocent and fun to both of them, but as the book goes on Amir is constantly reminded by kites on just how he betrayed his only friend Hassan in the Ally 20 years ago and used the kite to try and prove himself to his father as well as earn his pride and love. Baba has always wanted a sporty, tough son; the opposite of Amir, so he sees kiter running as an opportunity to achieve just that as it is the biggest event in Afghanistan.”We won! We won!” was all I could say. This wasn’t happening. In a moment, I’d blink and rouse from this beautiful dream… Back to my old life. Then I saw Baba on our roof…pumping both of his fists. Hollering and clapping. And that right there was the single greatest moment of my twelve years of life, seeing Baba on that roof, proud of me at last.” This quote is after Amir made the sacrifice for a closer relationship with Baba that will only last for a brief amount of time. Instead of helping Hassan his only ‘friend’ who was getting rapped but actually found the kite. The choice Amir made that day to leave Hassan will go on to haunt him for the rest of his life. Another example of kite running as a symbolism is at the end of the book when Amir adopts his nephew and is on the road to redemption.“Do you want me to run that kite for you…For you, a thousand times over, I heard myself say. It was only a smile, nothing more… A tiny thing… But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.” This quote is at the end of the novel after Hassan dies and his son becomes an orphan, Amir adopts him and takes him outside to do kite flying. At this point, Amir feels like he has redeemed himself because he couldn’t talk to Hassan and apologie to him so instead, he did the activity Amir and his best friend once loved with his nephew. Therefore the kites are also a symbol for redemption throughout the novel, as they go through Amir’s journey of how innocent they both were at the start, how he lost Hassan and become filled with guilt, then at the end when Hassan is gone and Amir has once and for all redeemed himself. 

The second symbol used in the novel is the pomegranate tree which is a representation of Amir and Hassan’s friendship and how it slowly died and fade away over the years just like Hassan.

CHAPTER 1 TO 11

The importance of setting

Explain the importance of the setting (historic, social, cultural, political) and its influence on how the narrator (Amir) tells his story.

Social Castes :

  • Amir (high caste, Pashtun)
  • Hassan (low caste, Hagara)

Historical:

  • Just before the Russian invasion

Cultural:

  • Islamic Country

Political:

  • Baba was a powerful figure in Kabul society

The first three chapters of the novel tell us the basic facts of the story such as who the major characters are, their backgrounds, and what their relationships with each other are like. The section also establishes a context for the information: Amir, our narrator, is an adult living in the United States and looking back on his childhood years in Afghanistan. In fact, history is an important theme in the novel, and looking back on the past is a recurring motif. That’s because, for Amir, the past is not over. He believes it to be a fundamental part of who he is, and no matter how far he is in time or location from his childhood in Afghanistan, the events of that period are always with him, he feels a tremendous sense of guilt about those events, and he believes they shaped him into who he is. This guilt, informs the entire narrative.

“Almost two years had passed since we arrived in the U.S., and I was still marveling at the size of this country, its vastness. Beyond every freeway lay another freeway, beyond every city another city, hills beyond mountains and mountains beyond hills, and, beyond these, more cities and more people.

Long before the Roussi army marched into Afghanistan, long before villages were burned and schools destroyed, long before mines were planted like seeds of death and children buried in rock-piled graves, Kabul had become a city of ghosts for me. A city of harelipped ghosts.

America was different, America was a river, roaring along, unmindful of the past. I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far. Someplace with no ghosts, no memories, and no sins.

If for nothing else, for that, I embraced America.”

What language techniques does Hosseini employ in this passage?

What is the effect of his use of these language techniques?

Explain the importance of the setting and its influence on how the narrator tells his story.

The setting of Kabul, Afghanistan is hugely socially, politically and culturally important in the novel The Kite Runner. The story is told from the point of view of Amir, retelling the years he was growing up in Kabul and events that influenced his life, and his long journey from guilt to redemption.

Because the story is set in Afghanistan and told from the point of view of a local boy, we learn aspects of a different society – Islamic religion, the different classes in Afghani society, local festivals and activities – specifically the sport of kite running. We are also exposed to numerous Farsi (Afghani) and Islamic words and phrases, which add cultural depth and authenticity to Amir’s voice.

We also see life in Kabul disrupted by the overthrow of the monarchy, then the Russian invasion which eventually leads to Baba and Amir having to flee Afghanistan and move to America as refugees. As Amir tells us:

“For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Baba, a place to mourn his.”

AMIR STITCHES UP HASSAN

Forgive? But theft was the one unforgivable sin, the common denominator of all sins. When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing. Hadn’t Baba sat me on his lap and said those words to me? Then how could he just forgive Hassan? And if Baba could forgive that, then why couldn’t he forgive me for not being the son he’d always wanted? Why –

Amir decides “one of us has to go” – Why?

Amir says this because every-time he sees Hassan he gets reminded of his own guilt and his cowerdness from the day he witnessed Hasan get raped. Amir needs one of them to go so he can get  closure and doesn’t have to put up with the awkwardness looming in the air.

Amir then says “Then I understand: this was Hassan’s final sacrifice for em” -Explain… 

Hassan is so loyal to Amir that he will do anything to protect him. Everyone knows that Hassan would never lie so they believe him

Hassan says that he did steal the watch- Why?

Why was Baba so upset that he cried?

 

 

Events after turning point:

EVENTS AFTER THE FIRST TURNING POINT:

  • Amir barely sees Hassan
  • Hassan is withdrawn and sleeps a lot
  • Amir and Baba’s relationship is better

HOW DO THINGS CHANGE?

“It shouldn’t have felt this way. Baba and I were finally friends… except now that I had it, I felt as empty as this unkempt pool I was dangling my legs into”

He feels empty because he doesn’t have a real relationship with anyone. He also let down the one person that cared about him the most which is Hassan.  It is haunting Amir that he didn’t help Hassan but instead left him and now everything reminds him of Hassan.

 

Foreshadowing in The Kite Runner

The first main turning point in the novel is when Amir witnesses Hassan’s rape and make the decision to do nothing. He just wanted to get the kite to please Baba. Hosseini has built up to this vent by foreshadowing that something will happen that will change their lives forever in a negative way.

Hosseini writes:

  • I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975″
  • I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley…”
  • “past of unatoned sins.”
  • “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”
  • “I would always feel guilty about it later. So I’d try to make up for it by giving him one of my old shirts or a broken toy. I would tell myself that was amends enough for a harmless prank.”
  • “But I hadn’t turned out like him. Not at all.”
  • “There is something missing in that boy”

 

Significant Connections

Leisure may come from illusion, but happiness can come only from reality. In today’s society, we often associate the colors yellow and gold with money, wealth, and happiness. Yellow is a color that represents illusion in many ways one of them being happiness and how people make themselves happy with money.  Yellow is also a representation of fake money, and how people want to be golden and the best. We all know that gold is the number one color, it is first place in Olympics, it is the gold medal, it is a gold trophy, gold is always representing number one and wealth. The first text which symbols illusion is The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This story has a key symbol, which is the yellow wallpaper that hides a figure in the wall that can only be seen from the light. My second text The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald represents the colors yellow and gold and how they portray they are an illusion of money and wealth. The third text, The Yellow Brick Road by Witi Ihimaera is about a family going on a road trip on the Yellow Brick Road. As we know from the movie The Wizard Of Oz, that the Yellow Brick Road is meant to be a path that leads to good places. My last text, Wealth With Out a Value by an unknown poet and is about wealth and how it can lose its value if you don’t use it for its worth.

The first text is The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This short story is about a woman who suffers from nervous depression and is not mentally well. Majority of her time, she sits in an old room which she presumes was once a nursery. As she begins to examine the room more she notices that behind the bar like patterned wallpaper there is a figure of a woman. As her obsession begins to grow more with the woman behind the bars on the wallpaper, she begins to imagine more things like the woman trying to escape, smudging the walls, and walking around the room. In the end, she begins to tear down the wallpaper to let the figure out, only then for her to go crazier and even more mentally unstable. She describes the wallpaper as: “Trepellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.” She is symbolizing that the paper is unusual and an unusually odd color. As we know, yellow is often associated with a color of illusion, therefore, she is hinting that there is something unknown about this wallpaper and as if it is hiding something. Further on through the text, she describes the wallpaper again, but this time she describes it in more detail: “This wallpaper has a kind of subpattern in a different shade… for you can only see it in certain lights, and not clearly then. But in the places where it isn’t faded and where the sun is just so -, I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure” In this quote, she has started to describe the wallpaper and what she sees in thorough detail. The different shades of yellow she sees represent that the illusion is only visible sometimes and the women behind the bars can’t be seen all the time.

 The second text that shows a form of yellow/gold symbolism is The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. This novel is about a man called Gatsby that is revealed as a rich person who has accomplished the American Dream. He is representing this idea through his massive mansion that is full of materialistic items such as the library with ‘uncut’ books and his “big yellow car”. This quote describes the car which is a symbol of his life and the illusion of his wealth. We know he is rich because he uses phrases such as “old sport” which is often used by rich people from ‘old money’. Whereas in reality, he has failed. Gatsby has failed to reinvent his past with Daisy which was his main goal throughout the book. The dream of being with Daisy and being part of the ‘old money’ society seems so close but is actually out of reach. Gatsby’s illusion can also be seen through the uncut books in his library as told by the Owl-eyed Man. “This fella’s a regular Belasco… What realism! Knew when to stop, too—didn’t cut the pages.” In the first quote, the reference to David Belasco describes Gatsby’s staged life. David Belasco was a man that set up scenes with props. This relates to Gatsby because he has been setting up his life ( arranging the props) to make everyone believe that he is a wealthy man that comes from ‘old money’. The second part of the quote where Owl-Eyes talks about the books being uncut describes Gatsby himself and his materialistic life. His uncut books represent that a lot of what he presents to the world is a facade.  He has built up this image of himself that is inconsistent with the reality and facts of his life. These unopened books represent Gatsby himself: mysterious, undeveloped, closed up and unopened. This text can be related to  The Yellow Wallpaper because Gatsby in a way is also trapped behind the bars just like the woman. He is so caught up in this illusion of him being rich, wealthy and from old money that he has become the figure. Not real but an illusion to others around him just like the real woman is seeing the figure ‘life’ as an illusion.

 

The Yellow Brick Road By Witi Ihimaera is a short story about a family that has to move to Wellington since their Dad got a job there. The city that Wellington is described as is Emerald city which we know from the movie The Wizard of Oz. As we know from the film, the Emerald City is meant to be a place where all dreams come to life and become a reality. To get to this city they travel down a road which is referred to as the Yellow Brick Road. On the way to the city, the young boy starts to sing a rhyme which goes like: “Follow the yellow brick road, Follow follow, follow, follow…” This rhyme describes what our society would normally say, things such as follow your own path, keep trying, just keep going and so on. By singing this rhyme it would eliminate all doubt from the parent’s mind because the boy is saying just keep going, keep following the Yellow Brick Road and it will lead to good places such as ‘Emerald City’. In this story the “Road, road, yellow brick road, yellow with the headlights sweeping across it.” is represented as a path to wealth and money. Because the main character’s family is traveling down a road which they think is going to bring them a better happier life whereas, in reality, everything turns out not as great as what they thought it would be. In a way, this can be related to Nick because he is just like the family. At the beginning of the novel Gatsby, Nick moves to East Egg of New York City to pursue a better life where he can hopefully earn more money and become part of the new money society. Nick is also traveling down this yellow path to try and arrive at a better place. But in the end, he ends up having a very chaotic summer and becomes an alcoholic. He does not actually move forward in life, instead, he moves back and comes to realize that New York which is like the Emerald City is not actually as great as what it seems. It is an illusion to attract people to these big places like New York and Wellington. 

The last text Wealth Without a Value by an unknown poet is a short story about a man who finds gold and treasures it by hiding it away from his house in a hole which is covered up by a rag. He checks that his golden block is still there every day by walking to the secret spot daily at the same time until someone notices him and discovers the gold.The stranger then picked up a large stone and threw it into the hole and told him: “cover up that stone. It’s worth just as much to you as the treasure you lost!” What the stranger is trying to say him, is that there is no point in cherishing the gold because it does not have any value lying in a hole. Its value becomes the same as the rock that stranger threw into the hole.The man then reveals that he is so consumed with treasuring his gold that he has “never touched the gold. I couldn’t think of spending any of it.” This means that he has wealth but with no value, like the title of the story suggests. The gold is an allusion to him thinking that he is very wealthy and rich whereas he is not because he does not spend it and is more focused on keeping the gold.This story is representing the idea of you can be wealthy and have something that has value, but by hiding it and treasuring it, it loses its value. This text can be related to the Yellow Brick Road because the family is driving down this yellow path to Wellington which is like the Emerald City, this is the same as the man walking to the hole where his gold is hidden. Both of the characters from both of the stories are excited to see their wealth and have lots of it. Whereas when they arrive, for the family the city is not as amazing as they thought it would be and it did not make them into wealthy people. The same is for the man, he got to the hole saw his gold then someone told him that his gold actually has no value, his gold would have the same value as a stone lying in the same hole. Therefore in both stories, they expected the value of gold but actually got the same. A gray stone. Gold is the representation of illusion for both stories since it seems to be valuable from a distance but when looked at from a closer view, in reality, it’s not as valuable or worth cherishing.

In conclusion, the theme of gold and wealth has taught me that we should all try and be honest, and not get caught up in faking our lives in order to become someone that we want to be but are not. If you want something you have to work hard to get it there is no easy way, and even then you may not reach your goals but that does not mean you have to live a lie. More importantly, we should all value our health and the well-being of others, we should treasure what has value to us, but not to the point where we become so obsessed with it and cant use it. I think that the text The Great Gatsby has taught me the most since it is a novel that focuses on many things such as friends, lifestyle, money society and separation. Leisure may come from illusion, but happiness can come only from reality. All four texts can be related to one another because the colors yellow and gold make each of the characters perceive a better view of themselves, their destination, and their wealth. Whereas when that yellow/ gold colored mask is uncovered, what is hidden beneath is the actual truth which they have been trying to cover up by using these two colors as an illusion. To be seen as something it really is not.