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CMLT Midterm - Still Kicking in America
Terms in this set (50)
What is the narrator's relationship with the Polish wife?
They are lovers.
What does the author convey about himself?
That he is unconfident and has low self esteem
The speaker says that "Ghandi would be ashamed." What would Ghandi be ashamed of?
The speaker's vegetarian calves.
what does "kicking free" mean?
not conforming to another cuture!
In the poem, is the act of kicking positive or negative?
Kicking can be violent, or you can kick a bad habit, or you could kick off from a bad place. Multiple interpretations are acceptable.
what are the narrator's calves like?
What is one of the main themes?
conformity and assimilation
What is a possible theme of this poem?
A theme could be confromity, assimilation, loss of heritage/culture.
Does the speaker regret something?
The speaker regrets the way in which he learned English, in a manner that was desperate and never allowed him to strike anything worth more.
What is the significance of using the word 'vegetarian' in line 19?
Meaning the speakers legs have not taken her anywhere to do anything of substance or importance.
How does the narrator refer to her calves"
Vegetarian, so starved and tubular even Gandhi would be ashamed
What does the author mean by kicking in regards to language?
I think it was meant to mean that she is writing and doing work in a place where he/she isn't expected to do well or in a place where he/she is prohibited from doing so.
How did the author describe his calves?
Starved and tubular vegetarian calves that have "never kicked anyone but their owner."
How does the speaker compare him/herself to the Polish wife?
Their legs are "vegetarian" compared to the strong thighs of the Polish woman.
What is meant by kicking?
The kicking symbolizes the pursuit of one's dream, of continuing despite trials and tribulations.
Analyze the speaker's term, "vegetarian calves". What does he mean by this?
Here the speaker is showing a great deal of insecurity in himself. Rather than seeing himself as strong as the Polish woman, he does not believe that he has a reason to kick his old country behind.
What to the narrator's "vegetarian calves" refer to?
Their lack of resistance to assimilation into American culture.
How does the vehement Polish woman physically illustrate her strength to the speaker?
She shows him her thighs (which withstood much hardship before she "kicked them for good")
What does the word 'kicking' mean in this poem?
It could mean that they are battling off another culture
What same question is asked by old and young Asians in America?
Where did you learn such good English?
What physical feature does the author notice in the polish woman?
Her strong legs
Why does the narrator kick himself?
He does not have his own identity because he is conforming
What seems to be the narrator's relationship with the Polish wife of the travelling professor?
She is his lover ("lifts the hem of her dainty skirt/to show me the thighs that withstood")
How are legs used as a metaphor?
Legs represent fighting against assimilation and holding true to ones own culture or beliefs.
how does the "speaker" describe his or her ability to speak english thorughout the poem?
at first, it seems as if the speaker is competent in english because people ask him "Where did you learn such good english? At the end of the poem the fluency of the speaker is questioned as the poem reads, "hoping for words to come out right in english"
What is the end of the poem trying to get across?
The everyday struggle every time we open our mouths.We, bilinguals, never know if we'll say the right thing in English or be made fun of.
Does the narrator envy the Polish woman?
It is a possibility given the evidence in the text. He calls her legs "strong" and mentions that "she kicked them for good," whereas he describes his legs as "vegetarian" and "starved and tubular." He did not have the courage to "kick" his country at all whereas the Polish lady was able to overcome her circumstances.
What is the question that American and "the old ones" ask "the young ones"
"Where did you learn such good English"
Explain the descriptions of the different legs (the Polish lady's and the narrator's).
The Polish lady has thick thighs-she hasn't let anyone in the US beat her down - she became her own woman in a world of strangers. He has "vegetarian" thighs - he has only hoped to be accepted in the US instead of owning his life and taking charge of what he wants
What were some of the themes present in the poem?
Conformation, assimilation, identity, confidence, etc.
What does the verb "kicked," mean in this poem?
I think it refers to letting go to your old heritage and starting to assimilate into a different culture.
What does it mean to kick the dictators for good?
It means to leave the nation and settle for life in a better country. It could also mean to rebel against the dictator.
What race is the author?
Indian, probably, considering that he compared his legs to Ghandi's.
In what ways would Gandhi be ashamed of the narrator's legs?
Both because they are so skinny, and because they have never stood up for (or kicked) anything, unlike Gandhi.
What is he unconfident about?
His knowledge of the english language
list three different cutures/nationalities brought up in this poem.
Polish, Asians, American, and Indian
Is the speaker self-conscious about his English skills?
Maybe not so much his English skills, but his inactivity when it comes to kicking off his own assimilations.
Why does he kick himself?
he thinks he is losing his identity
What effect does the "Polish woman" have on the speaker?
The woman is sort of a slam to the speaker as if she was rubbing in his face the victories that she has achieved, both personally and through her country, whereas the speaker has done none of these.
What is the relationship between the 'kicking' and the use of language?
That the person for which the author is speaking about has 'kicked' her old ties, old values and old language.
Why does the narrator say that her calves "kick their owner?"
because she hoped for words to come out right in English
What question does the author claim is asked over and over?
"How did you learn such good English?"
What does the last sentence mean?
I think it means that the author has not had another person as an adversary against her work, she only had to battle herself in learning to write well in america.
What group of people is the poem referring to?
What is meant by the juxtaposition of questions asked by young and old?
Life is cyclical, and the old can learn from the young, just as parents require the assistance of their children as their children did when they were being reared.
Although the speaker is talented in writing in English, what else do you think he struggles with?
The speaker in this poem struggles with the oral side of English. Deep down he is insecure in his ability to speak English and does not want to come across as ignorant.
What is Ghandi known for?
his small, skinny legs and his perseverance to stand up for what he believed in.
What unchanging struggle, which is now experienced by younger writers, does the speaker face?
He has difficulty expressing himself and his ideas as he would like in English.
Who has the narrator's legs "kicked" and why?
Himself out of frustration with his English capabilities
How does the narrator's legs struggle differ from the others?
The narrator's legs "never kicked anyone but their owner", meaning the only struggle the narrator had was trying to fit into his new surroundings.
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