Example Of Essay On "We Are Ugly, But We Are Here" And "The Joy Of reading And Writing: Superman And Me"
Essay-Compare and contrast
The essays "We are ugly, but We are Here" and "The joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me" present subcultures in new Westernized world and the authors depict their way of surviving and sending their voice. The path of every minority is filled with painful memories. The culture and tradition is perplexed with new, dominant culture and it is difficult to find a place in this world. The theme of both articles is search for identity and reconciliation of past and future.
In the essay "The joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me", the author fights against stereotypes that others have about native Indians. Sherman portraits his path through childhood and his admiration to books. Even though a native Indian child is not expected to know how to read and write, Sherman does everything opposite to this stereotype. During this process, Sherman does not belong anywhere. In the Indian culture he is an outcast and Americans see his as a prodigy. As cited by Sherman "A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non-Indians alike" (Sherman 2). There are some unwritten rules that need to be followed in order to be accepted. One of such rules is not to stick out from the crowd. If you want to be expected by your nearest surrounding, you must follow these rules. Sherman chose the opposite. He saw in reading a new path to self-actualization. He realized that the world is much wider than his Indian reservation. His channel for letting the world know about his origin and his identity is reading and writing.
Similarly, the theme of "We are ugly, but We are Here" explores the Haiti culture from the feminine point of view. The author, Edwige Danticat, recollects her first childhood memories about the stories told by her grandmother. "She was the one who told me about Anacaona" (Danticat). The culture that was once peaceful, rich in mythical legends of gods and goddesses has now become a culture that deprives women of their existence, treats people as goods. The author reasonably analyses the position of women in Haiti. In patriarchal system, women are understated; they do not even have a right to be mentioned in the news. Their role as mothers and obedient daughters is placed on the margins of the ruling society. In spite of the current difficult position of women in Haiti, the author is proud of her origins and bravely walks the path of her ancestries.
The use of repetitions to emphasize the main theme in both essays can be noticed. In the essay "The joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me", Sherman uses repetition to put an accent on the importance of reading regardless of the culture. In his essay, Sherman says, “I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky. I was trying to save my life” (p. 1). He realized the power of words, the power that eloquence has in the society. Sherman knew that this was the only way for him to escape from Indian reservation. Even though Sherman went from his culture and his society, he never forgot his origin. Latter on in the essay, Sherman refers to young Indian students in the same way. The only difference that he uses is the change from past to present tense. His ambition for Indian students to be treated and educated equally as others has finely come true. Repetition is a powerful tool that is used in this essay to emphasize the main theme.
In the same way, Edwidge Danticat uses repletion to bring the attention to the oppressed women in Haiti. There is one phrase that Sherman repeats two times, "We are ugly but we are here" (Danticat). It may seem that this sentence is insulting, but the author wants to emphasize the never-ending struggle of Haitian women in the world that is led by men. Throughout the history, women have been tormented and killed, but they endured everything. The author one more time uses this sentence in the last paragraph, declaring it with a proud tone.
The use of tone of these two authors is different. In "We are ugly, but We are Here", the used tone at the beginning is tragic, when describing the woman who ruled Haiti before Spanish came to the island. As the paper continues, when Danticat describes her late grandmother and her childhood the tone is more peaceful and neutral. However, when describing the destinies of Haitian women who endured everything and still managed their voices to be heard, the tone becomes solemn and proud. It can be noticed that the author is proud of her origin and proud of her ancestors. Danticat is that female voice that can be heard in spite of the constant persecutions that women from Haiti endure.
On the other hand, the use of tone in the writing of Sherman Alexie presents strong determination to escape from stereotypes. At the beginning his tone is personal, as he presents his path towards love towards books, and even funny and amusing when he tells the anecdote with superman. When Alexie introduces the readers with the expectations that Indians who fail in school are accepted and the ones who manage to pass this invisible border between Indian and non-Indians are excluded from a society, a tone of determination can be noticed. Alexie is determined to help other children to save their lives, to introduce them into the world of education, the world of adventures and heroic deeds. He realizes that the only way that can be used to break barriers is through education and trough breaking an invisible border.
The use of central symbols is these two writing is also noticed. In "We are ugly, but We are Here", Edwidge Danticat uses the symbol of an old warrior, Anacaona. "She was a poet, dancer, and even a painter" (Danicat). She is representing every woman from Haiti. Despite the constant attempts to destroy and kill the soul of Haiti woman, Anacaona still lives in every woman, and traces of her can be found in the stories told by grandmothers, in the attempts to seek for a better life, in the strong will to survive.
On the contrary, Sherman Alexie introduces a modern symbol that represents his will to tear down barriers. This symbol is Superman. Superman is a comic book that he used to look and pretend reading as a child. Superman tries to break the door in the same way as Alexie tries to break down barriers. Superman is every child who lives in Native America reservation and refuses to subdue to stereotypes and expectation. The author wants to say that it is good to be different from others; it is good to be resourceful in order to learn more. At the end of the writing, Alexie states, "I throw my weight against their locked doors" (Alexie 2). Behind the closed door, new and better world hides.
Based on the given examples, it can be concluded that these two essays share the major theme in common-the search for identity and breaking of the stereotypes. The writers managed to deliver their message with the usage of repetitions and powerful symbols. The use of repetitions has enabled readers to understand the core of their writing and to wish to do more research about their culture. This increase of interest about their and other cultures is exactly what they intended to do with their words. They are the proof that words are a powerful tool.
Alexie, Sherman. "The joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me",Los Angeles Times. 19. April 1998. Web. 26. February 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1998/apr/19/books/bk-42979
Danticat, Edwidge. "We are ugly, but We are Here". 1996. Web. 26. February 2015. http://www2.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/literature/danticat-ugly.htm