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Literary Homelands Quotes
Terms in this set (34)
Burning Rice Poems 2010 - Eileen Chong
Eileen Chong 'On Not Really Being Chinese'
"When I came to Australia to live, I didn't realise I would never be going back to Singapore to set up home again. I didn't realise it would be nearly impossible to have your heart in two places [...] it is hard to not process this as both as a loss and a gain."
BURNING RICE 4
- "I did not mean to burn the rice tonight."
- "Planting rice is never fun, generations of men, women and children ankle deep in padi fields, bent double at the waist"
cycle and extent of culture
imagery shows hardship
- "Stalks of ripened grain tossed into baskets strapped onto backs like babies too young to walk."
"...Scorched rice like black gold, my ancestors' ashes in a bowl."
MID AUTUMN MOONCAKES 3
- "Gaudy red peonies unchanged for forty years."
connotations of luck and fortune
- "spoon out the deep orange yolks, leaving half round cavities in the sweet lotus paste."
cavity = emptiness
paradoxically - plays with aspects of wholeness and connection yet contrasts with current feelings of loss and separation
Objective correlative of spherical imagery, motif, auditory/visual imagery, lexical choice, juxtaposition
in not celebrating her cultural traditions with her family, she feels incomplete and disconnected from her adopted home and family. This emptiness is shown in the motif
connections to home can be fleeting and impermanent.
- "I imagine my mother in her kitchen, slicing through shell and briny white."
sibilance creates a physical and lyrical sense of movement, allowing the readers to experience these memories of family and home in the present moment as she is, as it transports her back to her childhood home.
Nostalgia is double edged - connects and disconnects
tactile imagery, olfactory
she can feel the connection, it is strong - vivid memories associated with this smell and cultural tradition
salt - powerful/strong memory and connection
MY HAKKA GRANDMOTHER. 3
- "If time could unwind for you/yet be still for me, we would run/through the fields, feet unbound/and pummelling the ground."
auditory imagery - echo, she is an echo of her grandmother
only connected through heritage and culture
- "I would speak/in your tongue, but we would not need/words."
connection through culture, not physical proximity
"We are guest people without land or name...wild birds seeking a place to call home."
universal migrant experience
flock of birds shows connection and universality
Her interactions with her 'Hakka Grandmother' are figments of her imagination rather than a memory. In this sense, her Grandmother belonging to the Hakka people is an extended metaphor symbolising Chong and her migrant journey.
The hakka people are unlike other Han Chinese groups as they are not named after a specific geographical place, as well as they are the most diasporic Chinese community - much like Chong herself. In this sense, Chong is giving herself a place of belonging and 'home' with the potential people of her heritage that are most like her, allowing her to feel similarities and connections.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The 'Great Gatsby', "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
past and time is inescapable
Introduces and links the recurrence of water in the poem to the meaning of the epigraph
"even the water's edge has shifted. Yet a memory of my of my great. grandmother's benevolent, sepia face swimming out from behind jars at her shop remains."
Caesura, motif of water
Everything physical. Things have changed, sense of surprise and disbelief. Everything physical. Things have changed, sense of surprise and disbelief
"I watch myself aged three, seven, twenty. It's as though I can never leave."
layering of memories
passage of memory
passive experience not immersing herself
Memories, passing of time (myself)
Gatsby message, trapped in his past, both positive and negative. Trapped, but also she's always connected to home. She has a complex relationship with singapore. It's her identity, it haunts her, it comes back but not fully. Links back to epigraph
- Ambiguity creates a dreamlike shifting narrative
- "I see the ghosts of red lights at the harbour. I hear long-dead horses stamp and pull at their tethers..."
The White Tiger 2008 - Aravind Adiga. 6
- focuses on the human consequences of the control and exploitation of colonised people and their lands
- establishes intellectual spaces for sub-altern people to speak for themselves
- balancing the us-and-them binary power between the colonist and the colonial subjects
- colonisation brought servantile values and inherent entrapment. within social classes
"White Tiger invites us to consider the relationship between inequality and violent crime. Is violent crime a protest against conditions of oppression? More crucially, is it excused by such conditions?
Balram lives in a hopeless world where legitimate opportunity is foreclosed. This resourceful if unprincipled individual resorts to violence because he sees no other way to "get ahead." ... the killings give rise to a sense of newfound freedom and existential identity.
Balram's neocolonialism ends up mimicking the old order against which he revolts.
For Balram, murder brings a sense of power and status and even a sense of ownership over the victim: "Here's a strange fact: murder a man, and you feel responsible for his life—possessive, even. Through violence, Balram breaks the shackles that hold him in bondage: "I pierced his neck—and his lifeblood spurted into my eyes. I was blind. I was a free man".The act of killing gives him his manhood. Balram revels in his existential act: "I'll never say I made a mistake that night in Delhi when I slit my master's throat. I'll say it was all worthwhile to know, just for a day, just for an hour, just for a minute, what it means not to be a servant"
- "I was a servant once, you see. Only three nations have ever let themselves be ruled by foreigners: China, Afghanistan, and Abyssinia. They are the only three nations I admire."
- Values the ability of one to resist totalitarian control
- "These days there are just two castes: Men with big bellies, and the Men with small bellies. And only two destinies: eat - or get eaten up."
- Balram argues that this societal shift merely further empowered the rich while trapping the poor in perpetual subservience.
poor remain poor but are now unsatisfied.
only way to take control of one's social standing and to shape one's fate is to take drastic and often ethically dubious actions, to compromise one's self as Balram does.
There is no room for a middle ground - if he wishes to have a 'big belly,' he must destroy the part of himself with a 'small belly.'
"the day the British left—the cages had been let open; and the animals had attacked and ripped each other apart and jungle law replaced zoo law."
Extended metaphor of zoo and animals
Directly critiquing and linking colonisation to India's corruptness and the countries lacking in identity, and that people were let to run free having never developed their own values prior
- "The Rooster Coop was doing its work. Servants have to keep other servants from becoming innovators, experimenters, or entrepreneurs. Yes, that's the sad truth, Mr. Premier. The coop is guarded from the inside."
The Jungle Motif/ Extended Metaphor- representative of India's caste system.
Was a Zoo- now a jungle
The Rooster Coop Extended Metaphor
- "A white tiger keeps no friends. It's too dangerous."
The White Tiger- symbol of the white tiger is rare and something people want to hunt down.
White tiger is a mythologised creature, much like the allegorical tales of success in India -
takes the analogy of being rare and unique and applies it to his own success story
- "India is two countries in one: an India of Light, and an India of Darkness. The ocean brings light to my country... But the river brings darkness to India—the black river."
Balram's vision of two Indias forms the central image around which the novel is organized.
dichotomy between the Light and the Darkness frames Balram's journey.
suggests an impenetrable barrier; in the same way that the ocean is immovable, so are the Light and Darkness necessarily distinct.
journey to the light through river brings corruption
A Good and Pleasant Thing 2017 (from collection of short stories Australia Day) - Melanie Cheng 4
- "Twenty years ago supermarkets didn't stock Chinese mushrooms. Now they had a whole aisle dedicated to international cuisine. Lebanese, Greek and Mexican on one side, Chinese Vietnamese and Indian on the other."
The world has become adapted to the rapid increase of immigration and global diversity, yet many migrants remain apprehensive about altering cultural values and allowing disconnections
The accumulative listing represents the extent to which society grown to become multicultural - symbolises the amalgamation of notions of home and culture from all nations.
simultaneously cynical and hopeful.
The struggle to belong is universal, but possibly more contested and jarring in Australia, where we still have a way to go when it comes to acknowledging its origins and the atrocities committed against our Indigenous peoples.
- "It was here in the city that Mrs Chan felt most at home, swaddled by lights and strangers and traffic noise. But there was something underwhelming about the Melbourne CBD - dull and unimaginative compared to the glittering metropolis of Hong Kong."
Cheng personifies the city to portray the security and solace it brings
ambiguity inherent in labelling something 'Australian' is also manifest in Cheng's characters, prompting the reader to interrogate their own definition of what it means to be Australian.
share an uneasiness when it comes to forming relationships with others - and like many of Cheng's characters, they are also trying to figure out what it means to be Australian.
"Rose had chosen to study pharmacy at university even though her marks were high enough to get into medicine...she married David, a plastic surgeon -also from Hong Kong - who offered family discounts for breast implants and answered his phone in the middle of dinner."
Relationships lie at the heart of Australia Day. Relationships between sisters, brothers, fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and many more. Relationships between people of different ages, classes, and races. There are amicable relationships, hostile relationships, and relationships with those who have passed on. But most importantly, Cheng explores the relationship between these people - 'ordinary' Australians, if you will - and the idea of 'Australian-ness'.
'I wouldn't care if it was on a different day...or called a different thing...so long as we get a public holiday!'
'could [only] sense a rift forming between her children'
Mrs Chan, who sent her children to Australia to study, but only migrated herself after her husband's death, faces a language barrier on top of a physical dislocation from her home country. Her daughters argue during dinner.
It's easy to infer that the subject of this argument is, aptly, Australia Day - but Mrs Chan, with a poor understanding of English cannot understand.
There is a loneliness and a kind of disconnect unique to those who have left their home countries to settle in another - even if it is 'a lucky country'.
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