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O'Regan, B.

Madame Mao Entry #4

posted Jun 13, 2010, 10:40 PM by Brian O'Regan

Note to Mr. Oskin: I did Madame Mao entry #3, it just says that it was posted in april since I used a draft post to make it.

  1. Pick an event/group/person from the book that you want to learn more about. Research and report your findings.
The person I picked to research was Kang Sheng. I found that he was born in Dataizhuang, Shandong Province to a landowning family, some of which had been Confucian scholars. I found that he wasn't actually born with the name Kand Sheng, but was actually born with the name Zhang Zongke. There is no official record on his birth date, or at least any that agree with each other. Some say he was born in 1893, while others say 1898, 1899 or 1903. I also learned that he had an arranged marriage with Chen Yi in 1915. He went on to have a daughter, named Zhang Yuying, and a son named Zhang Zishi. In 1924, he went to Shanghai and enrolled at Shanghai University. After about six month at the university, he joined the Communist Party Youth League and then the Party itself. The circumstances of his membership and his sponsorship are still a mystery to this day.  I also learned that during the Cultural Revolution, Kang abused his position to personal advantage by collecting antiques and works of art found in homes that were raided by the Red Guards. He eventually died of bladder cancer on December 16, 1975. His funeral was attended by every member of the Politiburo, except for Mao himself, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De. After the Gang of Four was arrested, a special case group was established to investigate Kang’s career. In late summer 1980, the special case group reported to the Central Committee. In October 1980, Kang Sheng was posthumously expelled from the Chinese Communist Party

Madame Mao Entry #2

posted May 27, 2010, 8:36 PM by Brian O'Regan

Find an article about the region of the world/country/people we are studying. Link to that article, summarize/quote from it, and relate article content specifically to the reading.

http://www.china.org.cn/world/2010-06/07/content_20197831.htm

    China expressed "
strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition" to a statement the U.S. made about the political turmoil in 1989 Beijing. They called it a it a rude interference in China's internal affairs. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said that "a clear conclusion had already been made concerning the political turmoil that happened in the late 1980s." He also claimed that the statement ignored the facts and was a groundless attempt at criticizing the Chinese government. He also said that "abandon its political bias and rectify the wrong practice to avoid disturbing the China-U.S. relations." This article relates back to what we are learning in class since we are studying the events that happened in Tiananmen Square back in 1989 as well as the resistance people were putting up against Communism in China at the time. This article also relates to the way China closed itself off to the world, especially the West, since they referred to the comment as a rude interference in China's internal affairs. This shows that they would have preferred to keep the event out of the rest of the world's eye, keeping to their closed off ways. I also find the way China is critical of how the U.S. is critical of their form of government when at the same time China has been known to criticize and even denounce the U.S. form of government, going so far as to use it as an example of how capitalism is wrong.

Madame Mao Entry 1

posted May 27, 2010, 8:36 PM by Brian O'Regan

  1. Is the story plot or character driven? In other words, does the plot unfold quickly or focus more on characters' inner lives
    The plot is actually more character driven than plot driven. It focuses a lot on Madame Mao and what she is feeling rather than just moving the plot along. The story is more focused on how Madame Mao is feeling about the different situations she is going through. This is especially apparent during her relationship and falling out with Tang Nah. This is where the plot kind of takes a backseat as this part of the story focuses on her conflicting emotions on rather or not she should stay with Tang Nah. The story is more focused on getting to know the character(or at least her suggested character, due to this being a historical fiction book) of Madame Mao rather than what everyone else already know. This focus on the character's inner lives may be due to the fact that the author writes about the supposed "white-boned demon" in a sympathetic way, possibly trying to show people the woman behind the "demon" and shed some light on who she truly was. Also, while the story mostly deals with Madame Mao's personal feelings, it also takes a look at the inner lives of the people that affected her, both negatively and positively, in an attempt to show why she chose to harm these real life people when she eventually came to power.

Q&A Entry 3

posted May 17, 2010, 4:51 PM by Brian O'Regan

What are Ram's ambitions in life? Why does he tell Prem Kumar he doesn't know how he's going to spend the billion rupees?

    Ram is so focused on just being able to find money for food and surviving, he really doesn't have many aspirations beyond marrying Nita. When survival is a daily struggle for you, it's hard to really think and plan for the future, since you are so focused on now and how you are going to survive right now. Also, the reason why Ram tells Prem Kumar he doesn't know how he's going to spend the money he wins is that he never was really planning on trying to win the money. At least that wasn't his first priority. His first priority was to get on to the show so he could exact revenge on Prem Kumar for what he did to Nita and Neelima Kumari. He was more focused on killing him rather than winning the money. But the money was still a prominent factor to why he went on to the show. If he did win, which he did, he could use the money to pay off Nita's brother so Ram could marry her. This shows that he did have some idea on what he wanted to do with the money, but probably kept it hidden at the time when Prem asked the question, probably as an act of self restraint since thinking about Nita would of probably angered him and cause him to do something he would regret.

Q&A Blog Entry 2

posted May 16, 2010, 9:17 PM by Brian O'Regan

Considering he believes he's already murdered two people, why is Ram unable to kill Prem Kumar?

    Ram is unable to kill Prem Kumar because when he killed the other two people, he did it either to protect someone else or in self defense without even realizing it. With Prem Kumar, he came up with a plan first to do it, turning the act into premeditated murder, which is something completely different than what he did before. He would be killing out of cold blood compared to the other situations where he actually did the acts without really realizing what was going on.  With the astronomer, he was just focusing on protecting the daughter from him and not really killing him. And with the robber, he just kind of blacked out while he was attacking him, like killing him while in a sub-conscious state. Ram was unwilling to kill Prem because he has never  killed anyone willingly or knowingly before. Ram is not a murderer. He's even said in the book that he could never kill anyone in cold blood, even after the terrible things Prem did to Nita and Neelima Kumari. Even after trying to focus all the grief that has happened to him over the years and trying to pin it on Prem, he still is unable to kill him.

Q&A Blog Entry 1

posted Apr 24, 2010, 2:35 PM by Brian O'Regan

Several characters, especially Ram and Salim, are big movie fans. Are movies simply a form of escapism or do they carry a more significant role in the culture?

    Movies were like a gateway to a fantasy world for these characters. It took them to a place that they could only dream about going to. Ram even says that movies were "A world in which kids have mothers and fathers, and birthdays. A world in which they live in huge houses, drive huge cars, and get huge presents." (pg. 75) This shows how movies are more than just a form of entertainment to them. Even people in movies can have a huge effect on people. For example, Salim is obsessed with Armaan Ali, allowing whatever personal problem that happens to Ali become his personal problem too. Movies also gave Salim the dream to become an actor, an aspiration that greatly affects the story later on. While this may not seem that important, since a lot of people want to become actors, it is because in the kind of poverty that Salim and Ram grew up in, people don't aspire to become anything more than the position that is above them. Movies have such an impact on the culture, they almost affect the culture as much as movies in America, since India has its own version of
Hollywood, called Bollywood(aka Mumbai). This shows how movies have a significant impact on the culture since a place is well known just because it is where movies are made.

Madame Moa Entry #3

posted Apr 13, 2010, 5:33 PM by Brian O'Regan

Who is the most important character in this story? Why?

    In my opinion, there is no "one most important character" in the story. For me, its narrowed down to Madame Mao and Mao Zedong. The reasons why Madame Mao is one of the most important characters in the story is because the story is the story of her life. It is her biography. She is the story.  She is the main character and the story takes place from her point of view. She is the one who is driving along the plot in the story since the plot is her life. But at the same time, the story would not be the way it is without Mao Zedong, making him the other most important character in the story. Without him, Madame Mao would not have been Madame Mao and this story would have ceased to exist. This next statement might seem harsh, but without Mao, Madame Mao's life wouldn't have been significant enough for people to know about, let alone have a story written about her. He was the one who made her life significant, giving her power during the Cultural Revolution and leaving his power behind to her when he passed away. She wouldn't of even been called Madame Mao. Its safe to say no one would have any idea who Jiang Ching is if it were not for Mao. But, at the same time, Mao might not have been the same person he became if it weren't for Madame Mao and her help during the Cultural Revolution.   

Enrique's Journey Entry 1

posted Mar 22, 2010, 6:17 PM by Brian O'Regan

The author says that immigration is “a powerful stream, one that can only be addressed at its source.” What is the meaning of this statement?

This statement means that any kind of immigration problem can't be solved through short-term answers, whether it be deportation or closing of the borders. No, the only way to solve it is to find out why so many people are leaving their countries for a better one, or in other words, the source. Deportation or closing of the borders aren't going to stop people from immigrating here. If their country is in such bad shape that they chose to leave it for another country, then these supposed answers will only drive them to try harder to enter another country. Since deportation only sends them back to the place they were trying to get away from and closing the borders will only give them more determination to enter, these are not an effective way at stopping immigration. What we need to do is find the reason why these people choose to leave their countries and help fix the problem. While some people claim that we should worry about our own problems, I believe that it is our obligation as humans to help each other. Furthermore, the reason why people leave their lands to come here is our problem, since it is the reason why immigrants choose to come here and add to the already bloated population. While I do support immigration and amnesty, there is no denying that this planet is already suffering from the effects of overpopulation.

They Poured Fire Blog Entry 2

posted Mar 15, 2010, 7:22 PM by Brian O'Regan

This book was the book dedicated to Monyde.  What does he symbolize?

To me, Monyde represents hope, determination, and the will to strive. He was the one who kept Benson, along with many other people, going throughout the entire trip. His determination and bravery gave hope to those around him. He was braver than most of the adults on the trip, even though he was one of the smallest children in the walking group. He was a symbol of what a leader should be, strong, willing, and considerate of others. He shows all of these qualities throughout the journey. He showed how someone could be strong by never complaining about anything throughout the trip. He showed how someone can be willing by never backing down when someone told him he was too young to make the trip. He showed how someone could be considerate of others by giving Benson some of his water to wash his eye with. This is a prominent factor that proves his consideration for others since in this situation, water was hard to come by and the water that he received could have been the only water he could have in days. It was extremely dangerous to give your water away without using some for yourself. Despite this, Monyde still gives the water to Benson, cementing his kindness and selflessness. Monyde also symbolizes the will to survive, especially when he fell of the water tanker. Instead of losing all hope and assuming no one will come back for him, he hides in the grass and waits for the truck to come back. He refuses to give up, despite the odds and the gravity of the situation he is in.  

They Poured Fire Blog Entry 1

posted Mar 1, 2010, 5:06 PM by Brian O'Regan

2. Most of us can only remember a few events from our early life.  What do you think accounts for the three boys being able to remember so much detail?
 
I think that the three boys are able to remember so much because of how eventful, tragic, dramatic, terrifying, and horrible it was. We mostly don't remember the stuff we did as kids because back then our lives weren't very eventful and only remember the events that stuck out or impacted our lives. Almost all the things that they described have so much action going on that it would be hard to not remember it. For example, when Benson describes how he and the rest of the refugees that were fleeing Ethiopia and crossing the Gilo, they were attacked by a group of Ethiopian soldiers. Many died and Benson claimed that he will never forget what happened on that day and even has nightmares about it to this day. This is because not only did this cause the boys to become separated again, but this attack almost killed Benson. We tend to remember near death expiriences very well. And since these boys faced so many, it was easy for them to remember them all. Not just the overall event, but also the many details, since events like that can cause you to examine everything around you in great detail, and those details will stick with you, because they are connected with that event.

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