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Noeuv, N.


posted Jun 12, 2010, 11:09 AM by

What pictures does the author leave in your mind?

While reading “Becoming Madame Mao,” a picture that was imprinted into my mind was the Forbidden City which became home to Madame Mao and Mao Zedong. I visualized the Forbidden City all red and plus I looked up a picture of it, so I somewhat know if I’m visualizing something accurate. Prior to looking up the picture of the Forbidden City, I sort of saw the Forbidden City structured like the Asian Garden Mall in Santa Ana.  Because Mao and his wife occupy the Forbidden City, then their home must have been surrounded and filled with many guards and military men just in case someone attempts to assassinate Mao.  On occasion where Mao or his wife was to give a speech, I can see civilians crowded on the streets cheering Mao and his bravery on while soldiers in green military uniform march ,sort of like a parade setup- except that the soldiers look serious and not smiling. I think that when it’s not all military-like and it’s just Madame Mao and her husband at home, the house still isn’t family-like. I believe that the house has a constant flow of guests who come to talk to Mao and help him try to run China. Evidence from the book where Anchee Min writes that Mao is entertaining guests or that he’s conferring with his consul leads me to conclude that Madame Mao and Mao don’t get a lot of family time in their own house and I also believe that they prefer it this way anyways.

Madame Mao's Actions.

posted Jun 12, 2010, 11:09 AM by

What motivates a given character’s actions? Do you think those actions are justified or ethical?

Madame Mao’s character is quite complicated; she is often confused between reality and her dreams and imaginations. She has had a very complicated childhood dealing with a drunken father and a mother who’s failed as a mom. I believe that all these conflicting problems that arose in Madame Mao’s early life led to her actions as a Chairman Mao’s wife. Madame Mao led the Cultural Revolution with Mao right behind her and I think that she led that because she is confusing reality with a dream. I think that her actions are neither justified nor ethical. I think that she is sort of delusional considering she takes morphine and it may impair her thinking. Because of the many atrocities that Madame Mao committed during her short lived reign, I think that she should have been punished for her actions. Not only did Madame Mao’s actions ruin China, but I think that because of her actions, her relationship with Nah, her daughter, was not great. Madame Mao is normally consumed by her greed and want for power so I believe that Nah punished her mother by not telling her that she was married and her mother deserved it, her mother deserved to be punished because of her lack of being there. I also think that Madame Mao deserved it when Nah told her that her “entire world had crashed” when Mao past away. In short, Madame Mao’s actions are not justified or ethical, yes she did have a complicated childhood and yes her love life with Mao was rocky, but that does not give her, or anyone, permission to commit the terrible things that she did.

Madame Mao's Characteristic.

posted Jun 12, 2010, 11:08 AM by

Madame Mao is a character whom I both admire and dislike. I admire her because she attempts to fight for what she believes in but I hate the fact that she is often submissive towards Mao. If he tells her to do something then most of the time she listens to what he has to say and does whatever he say. I think that Madame Mao’s drive for power and the fact that she tends to attach herself to people of importance is both annoying and admirable. I think that it is annoying because I typically do not like people that do that. But at the same time I think that this trait of hers makes her admirable because she put forth so much effort and time into trying to get somewhere with her life. Although, the one problem with her trying to attach herself with important people is sort of sad because when she was aspiring to become an actress, she didn’t really get anywhere. It was until she attached herself with Mao did she make a name for herself.

            Madame Mao’s primary characteristics are that she is greedy, power hunger, and that she wants to be loved and admire, but it is difficult for her to love and admire others without, at the same time feeling that they are out to get her and take over her position. Madame Mao is greedy because she puts her wants and needs above others. Her Cultural Revolution was her attempt to gain power in the Communist Power and it was also to promote what her beliefs are and I feel that her Cultural Revolution revolved and was based on her character- actresses that looked like her were cast as the heroine because she likes to believe that she is the heroine. In short, I think that she is sort of a pathetic character who can only think of herself.

Untitled Post

posted Jun 7, 2010, 7:04 PM by

Anchee Min.

posted May 28, 2010, 5:31 PM by   [ updated May 28, 2010, 6:11 PM ]

If I had the opportunity to talk to the author of "Becoming Madame Mao," by Anchee Min, I would want to know why she decided to write this book. I looked up about her a little and read that during the beginning course of her life, she was the leader of the Little Red Guard in her elementary, and that she was raised during the time of Mao and Madame Mao's reign. I just wanted to understand why she wrote about Madame Mao and what does she think about Madame Mao, did Anchee Min like living in Communist China or did she write sympathetically towards Madame Mao because she was brainwashed ever since she was little? I would also want to know if Anchee Min had ever meet Madame Mao because Anchee Min was recruited to work as an actress for Madame Mao's studio.
    I also want to know what/ how the children of Communist China were getting brainwashed because when I read an excerpt on Anchee Min's life, there was a part where Anchee Min wanted to sell out her father because she suspected him to an anti-communist. I want to know if she knew what would possibly happen to her father if she sold him out. In short, I want to know more about Anchee Min's background and what she believes is right at the moment. I also want to know if her father was an anti-communist and lastly I want to know whether or not the children that do sell out there parents, if they get any kind of reward because who would do such a thing?

Becoming Madame Mao.

posted May 24, 2010, 9:12 AM by

What motivates a given character’s actions? Do you think those actions are justified or ethical?
Madame Mao's character is kind of dramatic. She is an aspiring actress who is always looking for affection or acceptance. I believe that her actions  stem from what she experienced as a child, she had a traumatic past ever since childhood because her dad constantly drank and became violent. Although, I don't think that her dad treating her in that way is an excuse for Madame Mao to later on commit many murders. I also think that Madame Mao was always looking for affection for example, when her husband Yu Qiwei was arrested and Yunhe was lonely, she simply hooked up with another guy and in a way moved on over Yu Qiwei's arrest. Later on in the book, Madame Mao meets a guy name Dan who she doesn't really like. In the future, the book foreshadows an event in which Dan will pay for his insolence with his life. The book also says that Madame Mao believes that "one must collect one's debt." Through this few sentences, Madame Mao's character is revealed as a revengeful person which is probably how she received her nickname "The White Boned Demon." Her actions are not justified because she doesn't need to do all these things like murder just because she was shunned or she had a bad childhood, those are not justifiable excuses. There are other people who probably had just as bad of a childhood/life and they were still able to get over everything and not commit crimes. Madame Mao did not have a great life and I think that is what motivates a character's action, but it doesn't justify her actions.

The Luck of Prem Kumar.

posted May 7, 2010, 2:39 PM by

Considering he believes he's already murdered two people, why is Ram unable to kill Prem Kumar?
    Ram believed he killed two people, the Dacoit and Shantaram. But in the end, the reader finds out that Shantaram wasn't dead but he changed the way he act towards his daughter. I think that if Ram hadn't believed that he killed Shantaram then his life wouldn't be the same, he wouldn't have met the people he did later in his life and Gudiya's life would have been a lot different because she was constantly terrorized by her father. There is even a possibility that Gudiya would have committed suicide if Ram hadn't intervened. Ram pushed Shantaram down the stairs because he was protecting Gudiya, who was like his sister. The same thing occurred with the Dacoit, Ram shot him because he was protecting Meenakshi from being harassed by the Dacoit.  He did all this while he was in the moment, to me he didn't think about his actions clearly, therefore he was able to commit all these crimes. 
    Ram couldn't shoot Prem Kumar because he thought about it too much. It could have been possible that he realized that if he took Prem Kumar's life then he would end up going to jail and he wouldn't be able to get his beloved Nita. I also think that Ram started thinking that there were better things then going to jail for revenge. Eventually, Ram realized that if he went back to the game show then there was a possibility that he may have won money and get Nita. Although the chances of that were slim, if he had lost the game show then he could have killed Prem Kumar later. In short, I think that he contemplated his situation too long therefore he couldn't commit the crime.

Treatment of Woman.

posted May 6, 2010, 8:51 AM by   [ updated May 6, 2010, 9:21 AM ]

In telling Gudiya's story,Ram asks, "But what was Gudiya's crime? Simply that she was born a girl and Shantaram was her father?" (p.68). Are there other woman in this novel who are treated poorly because of their sex? Do any female characters not need Ram's protection? How would you describe Ram's relationship with women?

    Throughout the story, there are many female characters who are constantly harassed because of their sex. For example, Nita is a prostitute who was forced into prostitution by her mother simply because she was beautiful. Because she is a prostitute she is deprived of the opportunity of  getting married, having kids, and having an education. Nita believes that she will die young and as a prostitute because that is her duty to her family. With Ram's help, she is able to get out of prostitution and gets married to Ram who bought her freedom from her pimp. If Ram hadn't protected her, she would have most likely died as a prostitute very young. 
    Another character who had Ram's help would Meenakshi. She was a girl that Ram shared a compartment with on the train. Ram was able to save her from being harassed by the Dacoit by shooting the Dacoit. If Ram hadn't helped her then Meenakshi would have either suffered a traumatic experience or if she wasn't willing to submit to the Dacoit's wants, then there is a possibility that she may have been killed. Neelima was the once famous actress who was "saved" by Ram in the sense that he gave her companionship and helped her with whatever she needed help with. Although, he didn't really "save" her because she still committed suicide, I believe that in a way he prolonged her life by being there for her. I also think that Ram was thinking about her when he threatened to kill Prem Kumar.
    Ram's relationship with woman is interesting, he attempts to save them and help them out whenever needed. I also think that Ram sees a lot of the woman in his life as a family. For instance, he thought of Gudiya as his sister who he swore to protect from Shantaram. He sees Nita as the love of his life who he has to save from a life of prostitution. Meenakshi was just a crush that he had on the train, but I believe he didn't want to see her get harassed by the Dacoit and he had a vision of the lady in white, therefore he saves her. Neelima and him have an interesting relationship because I don't know what Neelima represents to him but I do know that he sees her as a family figure that he helps take care of. A female character in the book that does not need his protection would be Neelima's mother and Colonel Taylor's daughter. 

Characters Good/Bad Behavior.

posted Apr 30, 2010, 9:25 AM by

Do any of the characters do things you think are good or bad? What do they do? Why do you think this is good or bad?
    I believe that throughout the book, a lot of the characters do good and bad things. For example, Ram, the main character does good because he helps others when they need money and he also helped Guidya. Guidya was a girl who was a victim of abusive behavior from her dad and because she lived next door to Ram in a chawl, Ram was able to hear a lot of what was happening to Guidya and her mother. He did a good thing when he went out to call the hospital when Guidya got burned by the tea and he went to keep her company. He also went to talk to the landlord about his concerns for Guidya's family. He attempts to help her but in the end he runs away because he pushes Guidya's father and is frightened he killed him. Basically, a lot of Ram's act are from attempts of being a good person, he just sometimes goes about it the wrong way.
    Another attempt where he did good was when he was riding the train and he saves Meenakshi from the dacoit. The dacoit was harassing Meenakshi and starting to get aggressive with her when Ram defended her and shot the dacoit. Ram then runs away from what he has done, scared that the murder would get pinned on him and he might have to go to jail. I believe that what Ram did was an act of courageousness but by running away, he seems guilty although he has committed no crime except in self-defense. In conclusion, Ram attempts to do good, but because he is most likely in the moment, he ends up messing up or he ends up doing something good and somehow it ends up with a bad result. 

Q&A: Lessons Learned

posted Apr 25, 2010, 8:14 PM by

What lessons have you learned from this story?
    I think that there are many lessons in this book and one of the main ones that I get from this story is judgement and ignorance. Throughout the story, there are many evidence of judgement and ignorance. In the book Ram gets judged because he is poor and never had a real education, the game show people and the police automatically assumes that he is cheating because in their minds there is no possible way that an uneducated poverty ridden waiter could answer all of the questions. Automatically assuming he's cheating, they torture him in attempts to make him confess that he cheated. The authorities and the people that were supposed to represent justice also didn't give Ram the chance and opportunity to explain himself and hear his side of the story. To me, that makes the authority figures very ignorant.
    Another part that I felt represented these themes was when Ram was living with Father Timothy and he felt that he was an idiot orphan boy because of how people treated him and how he felt. In my opinion Ram is not an idiot boy. He is just a kid and had this belief impounded into his brain because he was an orphan and the people picking on him knew that he had no one to protect and defend him. Because of this, I think that the people around Ram are mean and quite ignorant. In short though, the all the characters of the book are flawed and imperfect, which gives the book a sort of real life quality. 

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