Blog Post 13: Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Jhumpa Lahiri

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30 responses to “Blog Post 13: Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Jhumpa Lahiri

  1. In “Women Hollering Creek” by Sandra CiSneros, is a story surrounded on hope and fantasy. Cleofilas thinks that she will live a happier life when she is married to Juan. It turns out to be nothing like Cleofila expected, when she says, “or at times when he is simply across from her at the table putting pieces of food into his mouth and chewing, Cleofilas thinks, this is the man I have waited my whole life for” (1647). Cleofilas expected her marriage to create her life in to a fantasy like the lives of the people in the “Telenovel”, but she still finds a sense of happiness that she is married to Juan.
    In “Dear John Wayne” by Louise Erdich, presents a poem that is told through a movie the speaker conveys a message of how cowboys stole Indians’ land. It mentions a type of Indian group “The Sioux or some other plain bunch” (1653). Those Indians are inhabitants of the land the cowboys want to claim. In line 41, the cowboy intention becomes evident when he says, “Even his disease was the idea of taking everything” (1654). The poem shows how the Indians had got everything stolen from them as a result to Western Expansion in the United States.
    In Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Sexy”, is there any cultural difference that comes between Dev and Miranda?
    In Sherman Alexie’s “Crow Testament,” why are biblical terms used to describe and relate to Native American struggles?

    • in response to you first question: Yes, there’s definitely a cultural difference between Miranda and Dev. I also believe that this cultural difference along with the age difference is what attracted both characters. Dev is exotic to Miranda and he shows her a new world.

  2. “Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisneros, one of the best shorts stories I have read yet! I think we all have had some or known someone in our life that has gotten abused by their husbands or even just boyfriends. Unfortunately I have lived it myself. Seeing a woman get beat up in front of you and not be able to do something about it sucks. I was around 5 years old when I saw my dad drunk going up the stairs and arguing with my mom. Next thing I know my father is hitting my mom pulling her hair and throwing her against the wall! I ran, jumped and pull his hair still not being able to do any damage to him I yelled and my family that was downstairs came up and separated him from my mom. Finally my mom as a strong woman as I know she is, she has surpassed those horrible times that she went through and saw how capable she is of living without a man. I also have an aunt that went through the same situation and still is going through the same situation; she yet has to learn that she can go with her life by herself without a man in her life. “El otro lado” can mean two ways depending on the conversation and what is going on. It can either mean the other side of the story, meaning the man’s perspective, or it can mean how on the other side the grass it’s green.

    The point in life is there are things in our life that change us to become stronger and better persons. No matter how sick we are we still move on. Another point in life is that we don’t own anything in this world. I thing Louise Erdrich is trying to tell us that in the poem “Dear John Wayne”. He talks about a change in life. When he says “Surrounded by the Slow-Burning spirals they sell at the window, to vanquish the hordes of mosquitoes” when he said this, I thought of it as a disease that he had and he was going to the ‘the window’ meaning the clinic or doctor and getting something to treat his illness but as much as they try to help him it would not be enough “nothing works. They break through the smoke screen for blood” (1653). The other point is when he says “everything we see belongs to us” what belongs to us really? Do we all own the whole world? It all depends on your believes. There is one point that he said “Death makes us owners of nothing” is the answer to the questions above. I conquer to what he says in this poem. We die and all we take is the memories (1654).

    I had problems understanding all the poems from Sherman Elexie, I had to google “At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School” and after finding out what is the Tribal School, I found out it can be something racist towards Indians . I think the poem is about bringing our culture to them. Something that they need to adjust so that they can fit in the crowd. Like how they said “Indian boys gallop across the grass, against the beginning of their body” (1676). I take this as if they are trying to adjust, to change their believe and make them follow our path of life, something that is being brought to them as new. Being an immigrant we all do the same. we have to adjust to change. We can bring some of our culture to America, but we cannot change their culture. Having said this connects to the poem “Crow Testament” that basically talks about how white people has affected the native Americans. when he says “Damn, says Crow, I guess they already live near the end of the world”. We have not change the culture but might have killed the native Americans slowly by bringing all this new technology that has affected our world today like cars, power plants and much more that affects our green house and people that are not used to them are dying like how it was express “they already live near the end of the world” (1678).

    And last but not least “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri. Writing like the first person not as the narrator. Just like it says at the beginning of the story “it was a wife’s worst nightmare” we can all know what the story might be about. We all fear no matter being wife’s or husbands, being cheated on. I admit it because I have been cheated before in a relationship that lasted 3 years and God knows how long she had been cheating on me for. The worst was that she was cheating on me with my best friend. That is one thing that I hate about our society and that is the double standard that we have, by them saying “wife’s worst nightmare” we all fear being cheated on men or women. As I was saying we sometimes thing since they are not from hear or because we go somewhere else its ok to cheat. Like the phrase that is common used “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. Cheating is cheating no matter who you do it with men with men or woman with woman is still cheating on your significant other. For the third person it doesn’t really matter, all they can feel is petty for the one being cheated.

  3. The readings I chose to discuss are Sandra Cisnero’s “Woman Hollering Creek” and the two poems by Sherman Alexie, “At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School” and “Crow Testament.” In “Woman Hollering Creek,” the reader finds that the main character, Cleofilas, happy to leave her family from a small town, get married, and start a new family. All she has been waiting for and “has been whispering and sighing and giggling for is passion” (Cisneros 1644). However, she was in a very traditional relationship where the woman was always in the background. Eventually, she grew disenchanted with being married to an abusive husband. Cleofilas did wish her life to be one of her “telenovelas” full of fantasy. Her husband, Juan Pedro, did not look like the men in the telenovelas because “he is not very tall, no, and he doesn’t look like the men on the telenovelas” (Cisneros 1647) and wondered why she married him. The narrator did write that “Cleofilas thought her life would have to be like that, like a telenovela, only the episodes got sadder and sadder” (Cisneros 1650) and at the end she left town.
    In Sherman Alexie’s poem, “At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School,” the work weaves a football game at a tribal school with the Native Americans being described as horses. The author writes the “Indian boys gallop across the grass” (Alexie 1676), the boys parents as “unbroken horses gather to watch (their boys)” (Alexie 1676), and the track team for eighth grade girls “circling the field, their thin and brown legs echoing wild horses” (Alexie 1676). In literary works by Native Americans, animals tend to be mentioned and in this poem, they are horses. From the reading, it seems that whoever wins or scores does not matter because “this is the eternal football game, Indians versus Indians” (Alexie 1676) which I translate it to be tribe versus tribe before America became settled by the white man.
    In another poem by Sherman Alexie, entitled “Crow Testament,” the author makes the subtle replacement of the bible’s New Testament into the title of this poem. I found the poem to be humorous where Alexie writes self-appreciatedly “the Crow god as depicted in all of the reliable Crow bibles looks exactly like a Crow. Damn, says Crow, this makes it so much easier to worship myself” (Alexie 1677). The poem also sheds light on the plight of the Native Americans through the crow’s actions. Since the Native Americans struggle financially on the reservations, recycling materials may be one source of income. As a crow, it is physically limited because the “crow flies around the reservation and collects empty beer bottles but they are heavy he can carry only one at a time” (Alexie 1677-1678).
    My questions are: 1) In Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Sexy,” how did the boy, Rohin, affected Miranda’s relationship with the married man?
    2) Do you find it ironic that the Native Americans were watching a John Wayne movie in Louise Endrich’s “Dear John Wayne”?

  4. In “Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisneros Cleofilas, the main character uses her books and telenovelas to take her away from her reailty which is being trapped in a life with an abusive husband. The story really makes you feel for her. You want her to have the courage to escape the treacherous man. As the story says on page 1647, “she didn’t fight back, she didn’t break into tears, she didn’t run away as she imagined she might when she saw such things in the telenovelas” (Cisneros). This shows that she was frequently comparing her life to fictional ones which made incidences like this seem acceptable to her. She valued her fictional treasures like telenovelas and novels. For example Cisneros points out, “He had thrown a book. Hers. From across the room. A hot welt across the cheek. She could forgive that. But what stung more was the fact it was her book, a love story by Corin Tellado, what she loved most now that she lived in the U.S., without a television set, without telenovelas” (1649). Finally, towards the end she breaks free and finds the most enjoyment with a complete stranger, Felice. The first time she’s laughed in a long time is with this person she doesn’t even know.

    I think that in Louise Erdrich’s poem, Dear John Wayne he’s showing that those movies actually taught people morals and lessons. He’s remembering back to when he would go to the drive-in and watch them. Now looking back he sees that they always had a moral behind them. For example he says, “Each rut, each scar makes a promise: It is not over, this fight, not as long as you resist” (1654). This quote shows that the movies taught you never to give up. I also thought it was cool how Edrich says, “Only the arrows whining, a death-cloud of nerves swarming down on the settlers who die beautifully, tumbling like dust weeds into the history that brought us all here together: this wide screen beneath the sign of the bear” (1653). He is explaining that they fought for what was right and now it’s led to this very moment in the present.

    Out of all of Sherman Alexie’s poems, my favorite was At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal Scool. It showed a certain peace and harmony between that group of people. Everyone was a winner, everyone was a loser in the game. They were all equal. Alexie says, “Everyone is a quarterback. There is no thin man in a big hat writing down all the names in two columns: winners and losers. This is the eternal football game, Indians versus Indians” (1676). This clearly shows that everyone had a unity unlike other schools and cultures usually do.

    “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri was honestly my favorite piece of work we have read all semester. It caught and kept my attention the whole time. It’s quite ironic because Miranda is having an affair with Dev, a married man while her good friend, Laxmi tells her that her cousin’s husband is cheating on her with a “sexy” woman. Miranda I think always felt a sort of guilt behind the situation so she especially never told Laxmi. While Dev’s wife was out of town he came over everyday which led her on to think that this was the real deal. Then, when she came back it was only on Sundays that they saw eachother. It was clear that all Dev wanted was a hit run. On page 1689 it gives an example of this when Lahiri says, “At the end of twelve minutes Dev would open his eyes as if he’d been awake all along, smiling at her, full of contentment she wished she felt herself. ‘The best twelve minutes of the week.’ He’d sigh, running a hand along the backs of her calves. Then he’d spring out of bed, pulling on his sweatpants and lacing up his sneakers” (1689). It shows that he could only give her a little of his time before he had to go back to his true reality. Throughout the story the word “sexy” is used and studied. When Dev called Miranda sexy she admired it. She had never been called that, she ends up learning though that she doesn’t want to be just sexy. The little boy, Rohin ends up knocking some sense into her when he says, ‘It means loving someone you don’t know’ (Lahiri 1696). That hit her to the core because that’s what Laxmi’s husband thought of the woman he met on the plane. She realized that Dev’s wife was beautiful and she was just “sexy”. That’s when she broke it off with him and she was no longer a sexy mistress.

    Okay so I went a little crazy with the length but I had a lot to say! Thanks for a great semester. =)

  5. In “Woman Hollering Creek” Sandra Cisneros writes how there “are no happy endings in sight” when explaining the main character, Cleofilas, story of her marriage (1650). Cineros is of Mexican descent and is explaining how Mexican women or women in general get married and think life will be better. I in the story the Cleofilas gets married to a well off man and moves to America, thinking she would have a better life and that “to suffer for love is good. The pain all sweet somehow. In the end”, based on all the telenovlas the ladies watched (Cisneros 1645). In her culture out how she learned from television that every relationship has there downfalls and ti be a strong woman you must sick it out. For Cleofilas she even thought of drowning her child just like the story she was told of “Last Llorona– the one they named the creek after”, this was all to keep her pride of being that strong woman. I think Cisneros is explaining I’m the story of how Mexican woman should keep their pride by only standing up for themselves. Which in the end Cleofilas leaves her husband and takes the kids with her.
    In “Dear John Wayne” Louise Edrich is writing to John Wayne, an idol of American western movies, that “death makes us owners of nothing” where John was idolized for killing many Native Americans in the movies(1654). I think Edrich is getting back at Americas concept of what being Native American is and stating that Natives Americans are still strong.
    In Sherman Alexie’s poems he writes of “a tragicomic vision of contemporary Native American life” (1675). Like in the poem “Pawn Shop” all the Indiana left the bar and Alexie “found a single heart beating under glass” if the pawn shop where the Natives have gone to sell what they have to survive (1676). This explains how Native American life in todays civilization is hard to get by.
    Jhumpa Lahari wrote in the story “Sexy” how the main character Miranda finally thought that “it wasn’t fair to her, or to his wife, that they both deserved better” (1697). All along Miranda was acting like she was happy with the half of a man she had, the one day a week, but in actuality she was fooling herself to be happy. The initial attraction to Dev, her lover, was due to his appearance that he had money and everything else didn’t matter. In the end the Miranda few to appreciate herself as a ‘sexy’ woman that deserves more than half, she have up the false hope of having Dev to herself as she was being told another story similar, but the cheaters ended up together. In all Lahari is existing regardless of what your culture is everyone is capable of experiencing the same social problems.

      • yeah I think that each story “Main Idea” , poem, essay Etc… has a direct relation with the context that surround the author and that is where culture enters and take a place in those texts and that is why we can differentiate them by the type of writing… because each culture has a different kind of writing.

  6. Ok so first I preffer to talk about “Dear John Wayne” by Louise Erdrich, This poem is complicated, actually I want to say that most of the poems that I read this semester were complicate, by complicated I mean that I don’t really understand the “Real Idea” that the author is trying to express. In this case I think is about one of those theaters that u go and you dont have to get out of your car… I think that because this kind of theaters were very famous in the past kind of the same epoch of the pontiac. Maybe there is something sexual at the last paragraph but maybe is just my imagination I say this because the Author States: ” Come on boys, we got them where we want them , drunk, running. They;ll give us what we want , what we need” (1654) and I think that they may be referring to women … but like I said it may be just my imagination.

    Now I want to talk about “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri, This is a really good story and is the one that I have enjoy the most because it talks about these affairs that women have and I dont know I kind of relate the story with some of the real stories in life that I had heard and they are really similar. Now they make some emphasis in the word “sexy” and what the definition was… and It turn out to be ” It means loving someone you don’t know” (1696) which is completely ridiculous because for me being sexy doesn’t have to do with love.
    About the poem called ” At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School” by Sheerman Alexie, this poem I think make a description of a monument at one school and compares it to war I tihnk … because he describes the monument the same way someone describes a war ” This is the eternal Football game, Indian Vs Indians” (1676) , and she wrote this other poem called ” Crow Testament” that is like her own version of the original testament wich seems kind of weird… she mentions something related with Jericho and that is why I relate that to religion.

      • All Poems by Sylvia Plath. I couldnt choose out of her poems because they are all well written. Her poems go into depth while at the same arent so subliminal. Her poems are easy to understand. I also agree that many of the readings in this class are quite mind boggling.

  7. I found that “Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisneros and “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri both share the theme of infidelity and that woman can overcome such a devastating ordeal. In “Woman Hollering Creek”, the main character Cleofials is a woman who husband is unfaithful. She is well aware that her husband Juan Pedro is cheating on her, “A doubt. Slender as a hair. A washed cup set back on the shelf wrong side up. Her lipstick, and body talc, and hairbrush all arranged in the bathroom a different way.” (Cisneros 1648). This statement shows that Cleofials knows that her husband has been cheating on her while she is in the hospital having their first child. Cleofials believes that she must stay married and tolerate his abuse, “this husband till kingdom come.” (Cisneros 1648) However, at the end of the story Cleofials realizes that her life doesn’t have to be this way. After she meets Felice, Cleofials sees that woman can achieve the same things men can. They can drive pickup trucks and yell as they cross the arroyo, “What kind of talk is that coming form a woman?” (Cisneos 1651). The last line of the story shows that Cleofials is free of her abusive husband, “It was gurgling out of her own throat, a long ribbon of laughter, like water.” (Cisneros 1650).

    In “Sexy”, the main character Miranda is the mistress. Even though Miranda is the mistress and not the abused wife like Cleofials, she is also hurt by infidelity. Miranda believes that Dev, the man she is having an affair with, truly loves her. When he calls her sexy while they are at the Museum of Fine Arts, “You’re sexy, he whispered back” (Lahiri 1687) she confuses this statement with love because no one had ever called her sexy before. Miranda continues to have an affair with Dev, even after his wife returns from India. Miranda starts to question his “love” for her when she asks him what his wife looks like. Dev responds that his wife resembled an actress in Bombay named Madhuri Dixi”. (Lahiri 1691) Miranda investigates and finds out that Madhuri Dixi is a beautiful woman. Then toward the end of the story when Miranda is baby-sitting a boy named Robin, he calls her sexy. Surprised that he would use the word sexy, Miranda asked Robin to tell her what the word means. Hearing a young boy call her sexy makes her realize that the word doesn’t mean love, “It means loving someone you don’t know”. (Lahiri 1696). After hearing his definition, she realizes that Dev doesn’t truly love her. This is reinforced when Miranda asks Dev if he remembers what he had whispered to her at the Museum of Fine Arts, and Dev doesn’t remember. She realizes that she doesn’t mean much to him, except as a mistress. Just like Cleofials, at the end of the story she is free of Dev.

    Questions:
    1. In “Pawn Shop” by Sherman Alexie, what is the significance of the statement, “I walk into a pawn shop, find a single heart beating under glass, and I know who it used to belong to, I know all of them.” (Alexie 1676)

    2. In “Dear John Wayne” by Louise Erdrich what do the mosquitoes refer to? “to vanquish the hordes of mosquitoes. Nothing works. They break through the smoke screen for blood.” (Erdrich 1653)

    • In the “Pawn Shop” I think that statements significance was to show how Native Americans gave away what they cherish to get by in todays America. Just like at a pawn store you need money so you give up your most valued possession.

  8. I’m super sick today but I will try to be smart on my analysis :)

    In “sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri, the author shows lots of complicated relationships and at the end she ties them together promoting an exciting relationship between the characters. Miranda is dating a married Indian man and she starts to feel guilty )after she hears stories told by her co worker about her cousing whose husband has been cheating on her. When Dev says to Miranda “you’re sexy” ( she realizes no one has ever told her that and she starts to do things to deserve that complement. She buys clothing that will make her “sexy”, but she never gets a chance to wear them. i like how the story ends and how things seems to go back to how they used to be.

    In Sandra Cisneros’ “Woman Hollering Creek” we also have a womand to takes the words of her husband and crosses the Mexican border to live a new life in the US. I like how we can relate both stories (Sexy and Woman Hollering Creek), they’re both expressing an woman’s point of view and they both shows some precipitated decisions made by them upon the word of someone they loved.

    Question – How does Louise Erdrich throughout the poem implies that the western expansion was overall a destructive phenomenon?

    I Had a great semester and really enjoyed this class!!

  9. In the story “Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisnero, in this story a woman named Cleofillas compared her life to telenovelas. She married a man named Juan Pedro Martinez, after the married she came to realize he was nothing life the men on her telenovelas. Cleofillas was carrying an unborn child as she was being beaten and abused by Juan. She managed to leave him with a doctor’s appointment. In the beginning on the story Cleofillas thought Juan was a new passage to her life and self identity. The lesson can be learned from this story is do not compare your life or try to make what is on television your life. What you see on television especially soap operas are all scripted and very fake.

    The poem “Dear John Wayne” by Louis Erdrich speaks about westerners. In the poem it mentions “everything we see belongs to us “(1654). The settlers made this rule thinking this is the way it is going to be. The Indians laughed after hearing such a thing. Erdrich is comparing mosquitoes to the settlers because the mosquitoes want blood and the settlers want land and power. John Wayne died on lung cancer. In the poem smoke was mentioned. I think it symbolizes him and what he went through and it means the war between the Indians and Settlers was slowly ending.

    The “Crow Testament” by Sherman Alexie explained how Indians suffered with the “white men”. The poem mentioned a “crow” symbolizing evil and darkness. Alexie also mentions Christianity throught this poem. A falcon represents good intentions giving no harm which the white man is trying to portray.

    Do you think these stories are all linked by culture?
    What did you think about the poem “At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School” by Sherman Alexie? What does “unbroken horses” symbolize?

  10. I liked most of the story. One of my favorites for this week was “Crow Testament” by sherman Alexie. I thought it was a good written story and had a lot to go for it. And to be honest I totally freaked out and forgot we had a blog today because there was no class on Monday.

      • So to continue on my amazing work so far!

        In the poem “Dear John Wayne” by Louise Erdrich the atmosphere for the poem was a little strange. I did not get what was going on at first, but as the poem continued it all showed that there was people at an outdoor theater. Even thought the poem to me was just talking about the mosquitoes and the movie with the Indians I feel there was a deeper meaning to it, but could not figure it out. My favorite part of the poem was like 16-20. “The sky fills , acres of blue squint and eye that the crows cheers. His face moves over us, a think cloud of vengeance, pitted like the land that was once flesh” (1653)
        I feel like that little paragraph had a lot of meaning and description in it.

        The other poem by Sherman Alexie named “At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School” was a little interesting. Through out the whole poem it seemed that there were relating people to horses. ” The beginning of their body. On those Saturday afternoons, unbroken horses gather to watch their songs growing larger in the small parts of the world” (1676). So im guessing when it says the unbroken horses gather to watch that, that is the parents watching their sons play football. It was a strange poem that to me did not have much meaning.

        The other poem by Sherman Alexie called “Crow Testament” was a little strange with its 1-7 kind of layout. I felt like the poems were a little to short to get anything really going, even though they seemed to be all related to each other.

        In the short story “Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisneros I found the story and the layout of the writing pretty weird. The story line was well thought out and everything, but the story it self was just weird i felt. Was not really interested in the story very much.

  11. THe Crow Testament symbolizes the way the Native Americans were supressed , betrayed, and fooled by the “White Man”.
    Damn, says Crow, I guess this is just the beginning.The white man, disguised as a falcon, swoops in and yet again steals a salmon from Crow’s talons. (Alexie)
    THe Native Americans suffered greatly and wished they could have escaped such as the stanza states: “Damn, says Crow, if I could swim I would have fled this country years ago.” (Alexie)THe Crow Testament symbolizes the way the Native Americans were supressed , betrayed, and fooled by the “White Man”.
    Damn, says Crow, I guess this is just the beginning.The white man, disguised as a falcon, swoops in and yet again steals a salmon from Crow’s talons. (Alexie)
    THe Native Americans suffered greatly and wished they could have escaped such as the stanza states: “Damn, says Crow, if I could swim I would have fled this country years ago.” (Alexie)

    “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri was not only about infidelity but it was also about how individuals allowed curiosity to lose their morals. Miranda was a woman who found interest in a married man. Actually, they found interest in each other. Miranda looked for love in the wrong place. Knowing the fact that this was a married man, she took pride into being a mistress until the boy made her realize the difference beteern lust and love. She showed many insecurities to a high degree but in the end she was the biggest loser. This story takes place in today’s society everyday.

    What was the theme in the “Woman Hollering Creek”? Do you believe that there was a cultural suppression? If so, explain why?

    I did not get the story, “Dear John Wayne”. There are some stories that I get confused but I manage to put the puzzle together but I just could not analyze the real meaning or symbolism of this story.

    Somehow I managed to obtained a virus on my laptop while trying to post at 9:32pm. Thanks Friday the 13th.

  12. I made my question to be, ” which was your favorite reading out of this weeks selections, and what emotion did it inspire in you?”
    My favorite story was ” sexy ” by Jhumpa Lahiri. The other stories /poems were not as easy to understand.
    In “sexy”, a married lady Laxmi works with a girl Miranda. Laxmi’scousin is upset because her husband, Dev is cheating on her. What Laxmi does not know is that the husband is cheating with Miranda. One day Laxmi needs a babysitter for her cousin’kid and she asks Miranda, so Miranda is babysit her affair kid.
    This story made me to hate the word “sexy”
    This word is first said when Miranda and Dev are in the museum. They are standing apart on a bridge, and Dev says, ” you are sexy” (1687). Later on, when Miranda is shopping, she keeps thinking about what Dev said. She chooses her clothes based on that. Her effort is not even worth it, because Dev does not even appreciate her “sexy” outfits. He just has sex with her then tosses her aside. I thought Dev was really selfish. He made his wife very depressed.he played with Miranda’s emotions too. Also, it is giving Rohin (Dev’s son) a sad idea of marriage, because she sees his mom crying all the time. I feel that it is important to be honest in a relationship. Also, it is good to be financially independent, so we do not have to be trap with a bad spouse.

    • I totally agree with you Dev did play with both of the woman emotions to get what he wanted. Lahiri stated ” the best twelve minutes of the week”(1869). Dev simply said those words to play with Miranda head.

  13. Reading “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri it reminded me of a previous story we read about family. However, this story is about the mistress point of view not the fathers. This shows how Miranda a young woman accepting to be a man’s mistress. Lahiri shows Miranda accepting Dev sweet talk because his wife was not there “ somehow, without the wife there, it didn’t seem so wrong(1686)”. This shows Miranda acknowledging Dev is married but still allowing herself to fall for him. Despite Miranda friend story of her cousin having an affair and knowing how tragic it was for that family to learn about the mistress. Miranda continued talking to Dev “ Laxmi told Miranda, her cousin’s husband had fallen in love with another women”(1682). This proves Miranda has an idea how it feels for a married women to know her husband has been having an affair. I believe this a common topic in modern day society. Most of the time we accuse the mistress of having no feelings, and that he or she is destroying a family for her own personal pleasure. However, this story shows you Miranda the mistress feel for this man because of the way he treated her. Dev treated Miranda a way no other man has every had “Dev was the first to tell her that. Dev was the first always pay for things, and hold doors open, and reach across a table in a restaurant to kiss her hand”(1686). This shows how Dev treated her the way she always wanted to be treated but simply didn’t have the opportunity. So when she found someone she simply did not care if he was married or not.

    Do you think this story made you think differently of mistresses.

  14. In ‘The Crow Testament’ by Sherman Alexie, it seems to me the author is trying to convey his message to an audience which was brought up under Abrahamic ideals, specifically Christian people. His mention of the story of Cain and Abel makes this evident. I am not totally sure whether the crow in this poem is a symbol for evil and bad luck as it is in the mainstream of American culture, but my perception of this poem was that it is not. What I was able to understand from his cryptic prose was that the perseverance of the crow was enough to complete the mission of defeating Abel with the help of Cain, something which seems like a task worthy of a superhuman demigod yet The Crow says, “Damn- I guess this is just the beginning.” The poem then goes on about how The Crow tries so hard to clean up the alcoholism which prevails in Native American reservations, however he finds the difficulty of this task too much; probably because he attempts to solve it by selling the glass bottles back to the merchants who sold the Redman his alcohol in the first place, resulting in an endless cycle. The establishment system that is in place however is set up in such a way that this is a means of redemption for his people which cannot be accomplished. Further on in the poem, he rides a pale horse into a Native American gathering, yet the Chiefs and tribes people there do not get alarmed by his entrance. The white horse again in Christian mythology, symbolizes the God’s man who comes to conquer what is rightfully his (learned that from Johnny Cash’s ‘When The Man Comes Around’ lol). It is interesting that such an event should occur yet the Natives find no reason for alarm. The contrast between these three events has led me to conclude that Sherman Alexie wishes to portray a message that not everyone grew up under the same beliefs as everyone else. And even though seeing a Middle Eastern man riding a white horse might symbolize the second coming for Christian people- hallelujah-, it is not the same for everyone. And although you may think you can beat the system from the inside, eventually the system will eventually corrupt you with its money.

    ‘Dear John Wayne’ by Louise Erdrich is another puzzling story of the Native American struggle. When I first read this poem it was clearly being disrespectful to the Native American people and I must say I was a little taken aback. I didn’t understand how she could do such a thing, talking about the mesh to protect herself against a miserable creature bent on aggravating its victim and then using the mosquito as a comparison to the Native American warrior.
    “A few laughing Indians fall over the hood slipping in the hot spilled butter.”
    I know the Redman must’ve been an evil savage in the minds of early white settlers but what is this woman talking about? It all didn’t make sense to me and I felt frustrated. So I decided to watch a John Wayne movie, my first. The whole time I tried to remember what I had read in this poem and as I watched the movie I felt my emotions fall into place. Things suddenly made sense, and the people described as insects in this poem really were in this movie. They came in the hordes screaming obscenities in accented English (not their own language) with their faux war-marks and rubber arrows, only to be shot down by the top gun aka the white cowboy who always does the right thing and somehow still manages to look pretty doing it. He is the representative for the brawling man who knows no weakness and lives just to kill, yet he still finds a way to save the damsel in distress from those basterd Natives and by the end of the movie he turns out to be the sweetest man any woman can trust and fall in love with happily ever after. But how much of this real?
    Ms. Erdrich must’ve been so frustrated that sarcasm was her only escape…

  15. In Sandra Cisneros ‘Woman Hollering Creek’ I found the obvious theme of abuse as well as superficial wants and needs. But the more subtle theme of empowerment and exhilaration. The creek a real river in Texas, was believed to have had a mother who drowned her baby in it and screamed while she did it. Maybe Cisneros was trying to turn it from a negative thing for woman into a more different outlook. It makes you think. Also I found it very interesting that the author required the readers to look up some of the Spanish words. It makes her really show validity behind realization that America is becoming more of a melting pot than most of us like to think. It shows honest intelligence and respect to write a story in English with another language thrown in.
    The woman in the story, Celofilas, was married a man who brought away from her homeland, across the border from Mexico, to America. Cleofilas envisions marriage to be a mutual bond of togetherness and ‘happily ever after’; that you are devoted to no matter what even though she is being abused.”This is the man I have waited my whole life for” (1647). “The first time she had been so surprised she didn’t cry out or try to defend herself…She could think of nothing to say, said nothing. Just stroked the dark curls of the man who wept and would weep like a child, his tears of repentance and shame, this time and each” (1647). Although she wishes everything in her life be like it is on the “tele” (1645), it is far from that. Cleofilas meets a woman, Felice, from her doctor who was doing a sonogram for her and enables her to escape her horror. “I was going to do a sonogram on her- she’s pregnant, right?- and she just starts crying on me. Hijole. Felice! This poor lady’s got black-and-blue marks all over. I’m not kidding. From her husband. Who else?… She needs a ride” (1650). When in the car and traveling
    over a bridge in the town called, Woman Hollering (notice the title of the story), she yells out unexpectedly. Cleofilas finds this very intriguing and also everything else about Felice, “Everything about this woman, this Felice, amazed Cleofilas” (1651). Whereas the bridge initially made Cleofilas think “pain or rage” (1646), Felice showed her it could be exhilarating. The woman was very established and independent. She didn’t care for the ‘male gender discourse’. The other theme of the diversity of the writing showed through the author’s use of both Spanish and English languages; “Pue, alla de los indios, quien sabe” (1646).

    Louise Erdrich’s ‘Dear John Wayne’ I found to be an interesting title. The author makes it sound as if it’s a letter to a ‘cowboy’, because John Wayne was thought to be an American symbol. But then when I started to read the letter it wasn’t something of praise. It was from a Native American mother talking of her experience of going to the “drive-in picture” (1653) with her kids and how the movie for her was viewed as disrespectful and gruesome. The letter shows the themes of history, depression, and resonance. In the day when these movies were being released people didn’t often have a choice of what they were going to see, so for a Native American family to enjoy it they would have disown their heritage. Most Americans when they watched old John Wayne westerns glorified him as a true hero and cheered, “He smiles, a horizon of teeth the credits reel over, and then the white fields” (1654). But when viewed through a Native Americans eyes it could be traumatizing for a young kid, and think of how it makes them feel about growing up in a country that shares the views of John Wayne. “It is not over, this fight, not as long as you resist…Come on boys, we got them where we want them, drunk, running. They’ll give us what we want, what we need” (1654). I think it would be particularly hard being a child growing up in a time when prejudice and racism os still very widespread in America and expected to either be an American or an outcast or ‘Foreigner’. Movies are supposed to be a time to enjoy time together, “A few laughing Indians fall from the hood slipping in the hot spilled butter” (1654). Louise Erdrich also like Cisneros shows her heritage in her writing, growing up with a long history line of Native American ancestors; “Her mother was French Chippewa, her maternal grandmother was a tribal chairman on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, and both of her parents worked in the Bureau of Affairs” (1652).

    Sherman Alexie’s poems and short story were very interesting as well. The themes of sexuality, heritage/ cultural value, as well as vivid descriptions and metaphors are apparent in his writing. “Raised on the Spokane reservation at Wellpoint” (1675) its obvious why Alexie always shows true to his ‘roots’ in writing about contemporary Native American reservation life.
    I at first perceived his poem ‘At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School’ almost as a battle or show of strength amongst either animals or tribes of different Indians. But further reading and re-reading made me think that Tribal School’s were boarding school’s made by the government to help integrate Native Americans into education. I feel that this poem shows what it may feel like to a little boy of Native American descent to attend a new school, new place, with all these rules and new languages and cultures. It very well could feel like a battle for a child and the pressure of your parents to make sure their child can succeed better or just as well as any other child. “On those Saturday afternoons, unbroken horses gather to watch their sons growing larger” (1676). Or maybe it really is just a football game.
    In ‘Pawn Shop’ I think the theme here is depression. The author is feeling sad because his ‘breed’ has disappeared; “and I wonder where all the Skins disappeared to” (1676). It’s interesting how her writes the stanza here, almost like a note he’s leaving behind for someone to read when he is gone. Pawn shops are a place you go when you have hit rock bottom and sell or loan (with opportunity to buy it back) your most prized possession. The correlation between this and story I believe is the fact that the Indians didn’t want to ‘disappear’.
    In ‘Crow Testament’ I believe the reference to the crow is meaning a Native American person and how they are a dying ‘breed’. Sherman Alexie seems to be trying to convey the message again of abuse by “The white man, disguised as a falcon” (1677). The analogy of the animal in his poem shows the all true struggle of nature versus man. The Native American people were very in touch with the Earth, and the subtle reference to feathers makes me also believe he means the Native Americans. “When Crows fight Crows the sky fills with beaks and talons. Damn, says Crow, it’s raining feathers” (1677). The battle between the European settlers and the Native Americans is depicted very well here, also showing the side of struggle after the surrender. The crow may have even been the tribes leader and showing the struggles leaders face when agreeing on negotiations.
    In ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ the theme of sexuality probably overwhelms most people, but I thought it was very bold and definitive. The use of “Chocolate Thunder” (1680) was a huge eye-opener into the passive depressive state some might enter when their child is sick. I feel like the thing “that made our dying babies” (1680) should have been shunned and felt shameful, but in this story the object is praised and used to “cast spells” (1680). They hope that by using this device in their rituals they can cure their baby. Maybe it was just coincidence or not, but the baby comes out of the coma and lives. I thought it was very strange but at the same time intriguing.

    Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Sexy’ had an elusive theme of feminism, as well as a powerful theme of cultural difference and sexuality. The story about the man, Dev, cheating on his wife with this younger more fascinating well grounded innocent woman, Miranda. The story follows them a little on their encounters together and some of the things that Dev opens Miranda’s eyes to; “he showed her his favorite place in the city, the Mapparium at the Christian Science Center” (1687). It more or less a common love story with the mix-ins of culture and the fact that Dev is married. When Dev calls Miranda “sexy” (1687) for the first time she all of a sudden gets a itch to go out and buy “things she thought a mistress should have” (1688). Dev finds her simplicity and her long bare legs the sexiest and tells her to take off all the stuff she bought to impress him, “he complained that she was depriving him the sight of her long legs” (1688). But it’s not until her friend’s cousins little boy, Rohin, told her what he thought it meant that it struck really close to her. “It means loving someone you don’t know” (1696). It made her realize what she was actually doing to a home and a family. She was becoming the stranger the husband gave up everything for, and at the same time nothing for, most husbands will stick by their wives in the event of an affair being exposed, just like Dev did. “When she told Dev this over the phone, he didn’t ask her to cancel them” (1697).

    In Sandra Cisneros ‘Woman Hollering Creek’ do you find it shallow of her to want what she see’s in the telenovas? Or because she is being abused do you feel it is validated?

    In Louise Erdrich’s ‘Dear John Wayne’ do you feel the story was set up in a way that would make the reader feel like the battle was made to be pictured as not horrifying but evenly waged and beautifully glorified?

    Why do you think in ‘Pawn Shop’ the abolishment of the Native American tribes was referenced in this way?
    “I walk into a pawn shop, find a single heart beating under glass, and I know who it used to belong to, I know all of them” (1676). Do you think it’s because the government made the Native Americans sell their souls almost by genocide and threat?

    How did you feel about the ‘Chocolate Thunder’ analogy?

    Do you feel like Jhumpa Lahiri’s description of ‘Sexy’ is accurate? And do you feel if she had never babysat Rohin she would’ve severed things with Dev?

    • Wow, that is so much writing :) I think that, yes, miranda would have broke up with Dev because eventually she would want a house and a family, and Dev could not provide that. She would probably be a bridesmaid at someone’s wedding and feel bad.

  16. Okay this has nothing to do with the sotries butttttt i love this class this semester and im going to definetly be recommending future students to taking it… and for the fall semester im going to be taking a class that you teach so i can enjoy it with you… i learnded alot this semester about the different phases of american literature and the different styles of writing there are… you said we could answer in any way :p see you next semester

  17. “Sexy” by Jhumpa Lahiri is another story in our book told by the female perspective, this by the the author or the wife. The wife is being cheated on by her husband Dev, who is secretly having an affair with a younger better looking woman. “It was a wife’s worst nightmare”. Being a young male whose had several sexual partners and relationships this poem really brings out the femals side of the situation. I also enjoyed the part of the poem where Miranda asks about “That word. ‘Sexy’. What does it mean?” only to get the response of it’s a secret and meant “loving someone you don’t know”.

    Sherman Alexie’s writings did not really hit home to me, but the story ‘Pawn Shop” stuck out the most between them. The author is obviously a Native American by the styles of his writing, and you can see that he is deeply disturbed the by disappearance of his people. “The Bartender tells me all the Indians are gone. Do I know where they went? I tell him I don’t know..”. I do not quite understand the heart beat, and what it is he actually sees. I believe it is a momento that reminds him of his past, something that strikes deep into his Indian heart.

    Being a big fan of short stories, ‘Grief’ by Louise Edrich really stood out to me. Everyday people deal with their problems in life and many do not deal well with it. The first line explains that when dealing with your issues, “sometimes you have to take your own hand as though you were a lost child”. Many people depend on others for help when they don’t need to look for it. People more often than not expect others to help with their problems while all the need is to “bring yourself stumbling home over the twisted ice”, no matter how icy the road.

    1. How do you interpret the word ‘Sexy”?

    2. What do you think the author of Pawn Shop seen under the glass?

    3. Why do you think many people expect help from others and not ‘take their own hand’?

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