Remember that we don’t have regular class tomorrow. Use the time to write and research for your bibliography and research papers. I’ll be available in my office (25 Park Place, #2319) around 11:45 to chat if you need help.
Remember also that at least a 4-page draft of your paper is due on Tuesday, April 21.
I love the fact that Nazneen was able to finally ice skate! It makes me think about how I feel when I listen and/or watch artists on stage or the radio. I, to feel like the artist can be free on stage and when I am on stage, I feel that sense of freedom, like Nazneen.
I was amazed by these chapters. It sounds lame, but I have never thought about what it would be like to see a new environment like Nazneen is emersed in. I’ve never been outside of the United States, and while I’ve traveled in the United States everywhere that I’ve been I have seen in pictures before at least. This concept of just everything being foreign… I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t really thought about it from an immigration point of view before. These chapters opened that up to me, and I am so greatful. I needed to see through Nazneen’s eyes.
While Nazneen’s perspective is beautifully insightful, I couldn’t help but think of what life was like for their children. As the first generation outside of their previous cultural line, it would be interesting to see how the cultures would develop in their minds’ eye. The adults in their world assume that they’re already adjusted (or ruined) by western culture, but I started to wonder how true that actually is. It became incredibly heart breaking to realize that they, most likely, are lost in both cultural worlds. Which, amoungst themselves they made subculture (or the rowdy gangs being described).
This reflection made me realize that Nazneen is not necessarily lost in culture, so much as her children undoutedly would be… Because she has clear roots settled in her life, something to always consider a comfort zone. Though, she does begin to expand that comfort zone, she does have those around her to relate to her specific situation. Her children have a world of vague truths about them— about tenfold of any average teenager, I would suppose.
The scene where Nazneen watched ice skating on T.V and then she decided to go ice skating was enjoyable. Ice skating for Nazneen was a sign of freedom or liberty. A lot of my classmates wrote about this symbol and I think we are all correct. I personally have been ice skating before and the activity does give you a sense of liberation. Your mind is free from stress while you have fun! Nazneen found her freedom.
I liked one of the peer responses to the cultural strife that is taking place within the novel with the various characters especially Chanu and Nazneen. There exist this consist subtle but forceful drive or conflict to be at peace with oneself in their current culture and community and this need to conform to the present set of norms. It exhibits the social clashes among different cultures that are merged together by socioeconomic circumstances and also cultural disconnect within those communities sharing the same heritage and race but holding differing values and points of view.
I think it was brilliant for Ali to put the 9/ll attack in this novel. She showed an entirely different perspective on it. Ali putting 9/11 in the novel from a non- US citizen point of view can actually speak volumes on the reader and where they come from. For example, as an American, I only thought about how the terrorist attack affected the US. That shows the American mindset. America only thinks about America. Looking back, it’s kind of ridiculous to think that something like that, something that devastating would only affect America. But that is the American way. Everything revolves around US.
(I tried to write on something that no one else wrote about. Sorry if this is really far off to the left.)
I don’t really feel like I’m looking into another person’s life when I read this book, because most of the stuff Nazneen goes through I can totally relate in every way. I think this is something every immigrant at a point have to go through. When I read the part about the skating, I thought to myself “yeah exactly how I felt the entire winter”. A lot of experience that people view as a regular day to day activity tend to be a very big deal for most immigrant. The first time I was downtown I was literally blown away by the graffiti’s, the building, the people and the food, it all felt like a whole new world. Then you see the homeless people and you become astonished like wow America also have homeless people who knew. The cultural aspect plays a big role in this book because it’s all Nazneen truly have left after been plunged into this society.
The 9/11 attack really did shake the entire world to its core because it was so unbelievable almost like a dream. I can remember every TV station in Nigeria reporting about the attack the entire week. To answer kalynhardman question, the attack would definitely not have been a big deal if it had happen in Pakistan or any third world country for that matter. That’s a true statement because it actually did happen during the je suis Charlie period. Everyone seem to be into it, and that’s not bad but no one really seemed to care that at the same point in time over a thousand people were being blown and killed in Africa.
When I read about September 11, 2001 in Brick Lane, I immediately thought about how that day affected the United States. The terrorist attack impacted the world. I think that it was creative that Monica Ali included the September 11th. It also brought upon a sense of awareness. Karin mentioned that the Muslims were being stereotyped. It is important to know that all Muslims aren’t terrorist. The author did a great job with displaying their point of view. In addition, I’m glad that I’m able to connect and relate to the novel.
I also agree with what my classmates are saying about how it was interesting that Ali included 9/11 in the story. It is easy for us to forget that the US is important, and when tragedy struck, it effected a lot of the world. It just seems crazy to me because it’s not like Nazneen or Chanu had any ties to America at all, and they were even having a hard time adjusting to western culture. It just goes to show that Ali wrote this novel with huge cultural implications behind it. Overall, I think Ali was able to write a novel that deeply explored differentiating cultures.
I love the theme of ice skating and I love how Nazneen actually got to ice skate towards the end. I have written blog post before about this this theme, but I said that ice skating is a form of liberation, however, it is also and form of extreme balance. Nazneen is literally on thin ice as she is trying to find a balance between herself and her new Western world. However, the theme could also represent a desire for learning and education. And…as most third wave feminist know education=freedom. I would like to talk about this in class today if possible to see what the rest of the class has to say, because I don’t think that we addressed this issue yet.
As I read Brick Lane and saw Nazneen try to find herself within a new culture, I thought about the fact that she might have felt a little invisible. It’s interesting how one can be made to feel inferior when you are around people that are different from you. Also, as I reminisced on the scene when Nazneen first saw ice skating on the TV, the way she views it is so innocent and one can infer that she felt left out of a world that appeared fun. The way she saw the man and the woman working together, it was almost as if she wished that she and Chanu were in sync in the same way.
Brick Lane addresses the political conditions it is set in by weaving the cultural and political effects of 9/11 into Ali’s characters’ actions. Chanu, the avid reader, is fascinated by the newspaper report and points out a theory that immigration is used as a political tactic. This issue reflects current political situations, such as theorists who speculate similar theories regarding President Obama’s actions in response to immigration issues. Chanu points out this theory neglects the issue of unifying minorities, which would still be an issue today. The character of Karim represents the voice of peaceful, intelligent Bengali Muslims. Karim represents the immediate voice of criticism, a defendant who questions and analyzes the 9/11 attack and works to correct the spreading misconceptions and prejudices. These prejudices had a profound effect on American culture, such as the current airport security screenings. Ali’s description of racism from 9/11, “pinch of New York dust” blown “across the ocean”, is an excellent description of 9/11’s extending political and cultural effects.
The last few pages of the novel are a description of Nazneen’s first time ice-skating, so I think the activity has important symbolic value in the novel. We first hear about it from Nazneen fairly early in the book, when she watches the activity on the television and asks her husband about it. throughout the Novel, we occasionally see her dreaming about or considering the prospect of ice skating. This begs the question of why its so important. I think it has many values, first of all ice skating isn’t something you can do very much in Bangladesh, as lakes don’t freeze very much that far South, and the culture has not made the activity significant enough for frozen rinks to be a common thing. Beyond that, Ice Skating can be seen as an expression of freedom. Where Nazneen is constantly kept down by her life and her fate, Ice skating allows one to glide to and fro as one pleases.
I also thought it was interesting that Ali included 9/11. I also have never thought about it outside the context of the United States. I was in class (first grade) when we found out and I remember the teachers all circling up to decide what to do. Although I didn’t really understand what was going on at the time, the teachers were doing a similar thing to those across the US and apparently across the globe: using a tragedy to bring them together as a stronger force. It is interesting to me that one tragedy like that can affect the whole globe. However, I wonder that if the attack occurred in a place like Pakistan if the impact would have been so vast.
Yes, I concur with what Wykemanm says about cultural strife playing a big part in this book. I think it starts becoming important once we get to the chapters that involve the Tigers and how strife happens between. This is very realistic as there can be those sort of things in reality. Sometimes, there would be whites clashing with the Blacks, Hispanics, Middle Eastern, or Asian people or it could just be a clash of culture in general. I like how this book portrays the cultural strife very well. I’ve never been in a cultural strife but it exists.
“It feels to Nazneen as though they have survived something together, as a family.” I thought it was interesting how Ali included 9/11 in the book. Though I knew it had been broadcasted worldwide, I didn’t think that it would have a similar impact. When it happened there was a rallying of the American people to be together in this tragedy so to see the same thing happen on a smaller scale abroad is interesting. What also surprised me was how I felt reading about it. Living through it, I didn’t understand what was happening and everything seems kind of blurry. It didn’t feel connected to me but reading about it, for once it felt like a tragedy to me, which I guess just goes to show the power off literature and words, like Chanu kept telling Shahana.
I think that the cultural strife that is depicted in Brick Lane is the most important aspect of the story to modern day readers. Here we have something that is still going on all over the western world, a culture clash that’s not only happening between two different cultures, but also within cultures. Brick Lane really does a good job of showing characters being torn between their heritage and their new country. You can look at the Boston Marathon bomber and see someone who has rejected their country and chosen there heritage.There are pros and cons to both sides and I think Brick Lane does a good job of showing that.
It almost seems redundant to post on Nazeen’s sexuality, but it was a huge part of the story in the section we read. She not only cannot correctly identify being arroused, but misidentified it as being sick. One of my classmates was amazed by the innocence this portrays, and I am as well. However, we are reading this book from Nazeen’s point of view, therefore it is only natural to put ourselves in her shoes… If I am completely honest, I have to admit that if I had grown up in her culture, with the expectations on women with in that culture, I’m completely convinced that I would have thought the same thing! Perhaps that is too personal, but I feel for the character because it would be so confusing in that moment. On the other side of this, I wondered when I first read it if there was any possibility that she really just felt sick. Thoughts?
Throughout reading the book, 2 things really stood out to me. Not only is this book a huge cultural piece, but it is also a huge feminist piece. They play hand in hand. Her culture is responsible for her view of women and the role Nazneen believes they play. She is transplanted in a westernized culture, but her role as a woman still doesn’t change. This goes to show that the oppression of women is so deeply ingrained in the Bengali culture, that even changing the setting does not help. A lot of people read this up front as a cultural piece, but it is important to see it also as a feminist piece.