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Struggle to be an All-American Girl

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Presentation on theme: "Struggle to be an All-American Girl"— Presentation transcript:

1 Struggle to be an All-American Girl
By Elizabeth Wong

2 Understanding the Writer’s Ideas
1. They had to attend Chinese school unlike their friends who could play or do other “fun” things. We know they disliked Chinese school because Wong tells us they were “kicking, screaming, or pleading” to dissuade their mother who “forcible” walked them to school each day.

3 Uderstanding the Writer’s Ideas
2. She is exaggerating what she felt at the time was his meanness toward the children. They were afraid of being hit by him.

4 Understand the Writers’ Ideas
3. They attended to learn the Chinese language and culture. In “regular” school she learned “American things”: math (“multiplication table”); science (“the satellites of Mars”); English (“book reports”); all of which she felt were more important. These are books commonly read by schoolgirls.

5 Understanding the Writer’s Ideas
4. Chinese. 5. She was a fragile woman in her seventies—but boisterous and raunchy. Wong was embarrassed by her Grandmother; she always wanted “to dissociate …from the nagging loud voice that followed …”

6 Understanding the Writer’s Ideas
6. Because she would be successful in the English-speaking world. 7. Her brother was even more fanatical about speaking English and treated their mother cruelly an impatiently when she tried to speak. Their father “had played a cruel joke” by giving her a name that is extremely difficult for Chinese speakers to pronounce properly.

7 Understanding the Writer’s Ideas
8. Make a mistake speaking. 9. As belonging to more than one cultural group. Tacos are typical Mexican food; egg roll are Chinese food; Cino de Mayo (5th of May) is a Mexican festival day. Because they belong to Spanish, no U.S. culture exclusively.

8 Understanding the Writer’s Ideas
10. “You” is the reader—or, more specifically, those who are not Chinese; “them” is her own Chinese cultural group. We can surmise that Wong feels she has irretrievably lost her opportunity to learn about and integrate with her Chinese culture—that her young attitudes were naïve.

9 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
1. “All-American girl” is a mocking cliché denoting a shallow, unthinking figure. The fact that she would “struggle” to be that implies the difficulties and sorrows in her experience. (ISR)

10 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
2. Wong wants to show us her personal sorrow at having rejected her own culture, and by extension, to warn others not to do the same. Her narrative technique personalizes and thereby enhances her purpose.

11 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
3. Pars. 8-9: her routine and daily life in Chinatown Pars : her mother’s problem with English and her brother’s reactions to them. Pars : the end of her Chinese school obligation These shifts are tied together by her various reactions to the uses of “the language.”

12 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
4. The structure allows her to show, in a short essay, the various ramifications of language and culture differences and confusions. Another structure might have mandated a longer form.

13 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
5. (AMV) Examples include: kicking, screaming, and pleading (2); our defiant tearful faces (3); he sways …his back (3); the various descriptions of smells in par. 4; nagging loud voices (8).

14 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
6. Par. 3: (S) swayed on his heels like a palm tree; (M) a repressed maniacal child killer Par. 4: (S) room (like) Chinese medicine, ancient mothballs or dirty closet; (M)an imported faraway mustiness; crisp new scents (like) soft French perfume. (Continued)

15 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
6. Par. 10: (S) a smattering of Chinese (like) chop suey Par. 12: (M) a cultural divorce

16 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
7. She limits dialogue to call attention to the language: when it is recorded, we read it more carefully. Perhaps in examples of her grandmother’s or mother’s language difficulties.

17 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
8. To draw sharp attention to them. 9. It is ironic because throughout the essay we are led to believe that she will harbors the same resentments against her culture which she writes about. Without “sadly” we would not know of her change in attitude. So, it is, in fact, the key word in the essay (see answer 2 above).

18 Understanding the Writer’s Techniques
10. Until the end, the tone is of resentment, which then turns to compassion and sorrow. It is in many ways similar to Maxine Hong Kingston’s method and tone.

19 What is “mustiness” People need air purifiers for all sorts of different reasons. The introduction of a new pet to the home, the smoking habit of a friends or relative, or just a general mustiness in your living area are all great reasons that people seek out information on air purifiers. With several different models on the market today it is hard to what exactly what to look for when researching air purifiers.

20 Reference Websites Little Women: Black Beauty: Nancy Drew:

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