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Sanchez, A.

Lessons

posted Jun 14, 2010, 9:34 PM by angelica sanchez

"What lessons have you learned from this story?"

    While reading Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min, I think the lessons that are taught intentionally or not are quite obvious. Learning from your own mistakes is one thing, but I think it also goes for learning from another peoples mistakes such as Madame Mao's. The first main lesson probably has to do with love, or what you think is love and to be wise with it. Madame Mao has many men she claims to have strong feelings for and four husbands throughout her life and I don't quite understand how she hasn't learned to chose or love more carefully. I think that a lesson that can be taken away from this story is to not let others, let alone men take advantage of you. Also to not give yourself away to others like Madame Mao did to so many men. Often she seemed desperate for them, and sometimes even pleading for them to take her back and when they did not, she easily moved on to the next. 

Another lesson from this book might have something to do with power or greed, another problem Madame Mao seems to have a problem with constantly. All the time she seeks this and I really don't think its something to want so much or at all if you're not going to put it to good use. 

Motivation

posted Jun 14, 2010, 9:13 PM by angelica sanchez

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

    To motivate a characters action they have to have reason and explanation.  Throughout the book Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min, Madame Mao always wanted to be noticed, be heard, and be known and for her to try and do this, she did anything in the power she had. Marrying Mao also helped her gain a lot of power as he was known all throughout China and held it at his fingertips. And, of course Madame Mao took advantage of the power she had but eventually nobody seemed to care for her very much longer, but that never stopped her. Her actions are simply not ethical, as she is just simply a selfish character, always looking for ways to please only herself and I think this alone highly motivates her. Her dreams as well play a big role in what motivates her, Madame Mao always has a hard time trying to be that actress everyone loves and admires. I think she is aware that, she is always going to pursue to be unstoppable even if it kills her.

Overall—

posted Jun 14, 2010, 8:21 PM by angelica sanchez

"Overall—how did you experience the book while reading it? Were you immediately drawn into the story—or did it take a while? Did the book intrigue, amuse, disturb, alienate, or irritate, you?"

While reading Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min, I was a bit bored and it did take me a little while to get used to the writing style the author used as it goes back from first to third person. After I got comfortable with the way the book was written I was more interested with the book and how Madame Mao had such a passion for theater, the way she struggled and how she handled everything that was thrown at her.

But, as time went by, my experience while reading this book gradually bored me more and more. All that talk about politics really didn't interest me, at all. Madame Mao didn't seem so, special to me anymore and more than anything, I felt pity towards her. The book did irritate me at some points, and I really didn't like how mainly everyone in the book had no respect for Madame Mao, including her unfaithful husband. So, overall, my experience while reading this book does have its ups and downs and although I'm not done with it yet, I have a feeling that the ending will be either interesting or disappointing. 

Becoming Madame Mao

posted May 24, 2010, 7:07 PM by angelica sanchez

"How do you feel when reading the book? Why did you feel this way?"

While reading Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min, I felt mostly intrigued by the main character, Madame Mao. She is very young yet she constantly struggles with everyone and everything thats in her path, including her self. Throughout the book she marries and changes her name many times trying to either solve her problems or run away from them.  Her journey and dream to become and actress is her number one priority and I also find that a bit inspiring- how she always takes every opportunity thats given to her and how she makes it seem like nothing could stop or get in her way of her dreams. At the same time I am left wondering why she is never satisfied with her life, how she always seems to want a little bit more than what's given to her. 

Overall, while reading this book, and although I am only on chapter seven, I am still undecided about how I feel towards it. But, I do enjoy the change from subjective first person to objective third person, it helps me understand Madame Mao a bit better and I often feel like I know her inside and out. Her thoughts and motives sometimes confuse me- why she does the things she does or reacts that way towards them. She is always constantly on her feet from one place to another, looking for the next big thing and in a way I could somehow relate to that, except I don't wish my life was that crazy.

Question #8

posted May 12, 2010, 7:27 PM by angelica sanchez

"What do you think of Salim's decision to give Ahmed the hit man, a picture of Maman? Did Salim have another choice? Is he guilty of murder? Did Ram have other options besides throwing Shantaram down the stairs? Are these violent acts justifiable considering the behavior of the victims?"

I think Salim's decision to put a picture of Maman was very clever, as he knew that it would have him murdered. Maman would of had Salim and Ram blinded for his own wealth if they hadn't run away, so I think he definitely got what he deserved. Salim did have another choice - to simply not get involved in the situation and just watch the producer, Abbas Rizvi die along with his dreams of being a famous actor. Afterwards, he saved a life, his future and more innocent children getting blinded and crippled.

As for Ram pushing down Shantaram down the stairs, he also deserved what came to him. Ram saw Shantaram's daughter being abused by her own father, and at last, he came into action and put the family out of misery. 

In my opinion, these "violent acts" seem more like karma to me. Salim didn't intend to do any harm towards Maman but he was given an open opportunity to give him what he deserved. The same goes for Ram, he didn't purposely mean to murder Shantaram but I think it happened for good reasons. 

Question 11.

posted May 4, 2010, 9:45 PM by angelica sanchez   [ updated May 9, 2010, 8:38 PM ]

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

In the book, Q&A by Vikas Swarup, Ram has an open opportunity to kill the man who abused someone who was a mother figure to him (Neelima) and the love of his life (Nita) but chooses to let him live instead. Considering the fact that Ram has already killed two people before (but by accident) kind of surprised me. At the same time I know Ram is unable to kill Prem Kumar because he knows it is difficult to do so, "It is not easy to kill a man. You need to switch off your brain. Drinking can do this. So can Anger (308)." As ram pointed the gun towards Prem Kumar, he struggles to pull the trigger thinking, "I find I cannot pin the blame for all my misfortunes on the man in front of me. I do not have enough anger to justify his death (309)."  I know that Ram Mohammad Thomas is 100% good at heart and that is why he could not get himself to take a mans life, and instead takes a billion ruffees home with him.

How do you feel when reading the book? Why?

posted Apr 14, 2010, 7:26 PM by angelica sanchez   [ updated Apr 27, 2010, 10:01 PM ]

While reading Q&A by Visas Swarup- it makes me feel intrigued. Intrigued by Ram Mohammad Thomas' life because even though he was an orphan child and wasn't the smartest of people he was still able to answer the questions right to the game show. While reading the book, I don't get bored with it. Ever. It's really interesting to me and I really enjoy the style the author writes it. 

What problems develop almost immediately when Enrique is reunited with his mother? Do these problems surprise you?

posted Apr 9, 2010, 11:30 PM by angelica sanchez

The conflicts that develop after Enrique is reunited with his mother do not really surprise me all that much because most of his life he never had somebody took to look after him and tell him right from wrong. "At first he is quiet and shy: That begins to change. She becomes upset. Occasionally, he uses profanities. She tells him not to (pg. 195)." They often argue about what he can and cannot do and about her having respect from him. He seemed to got offensive quickly, which didn't really surprise me because he's used to usually doing whatever he want without worrying about hurting anyone. Enrique soon gets involved in drugs again but his mother isn't aware right away and quickly worries about him. "You're broken, ruined. A drug addict! Why did you even come here? To finish screwing yourself up? (pg. 221)" Enrique's life becomes harmful and his mom fears that he will kill himself. After I read this I didn't know if Enrique was going to calm and settle down but fortunately, he did and I was glad because he went so far so be with his mom and she didn't deserve to be treated like she was unappreciated. It also relieved me more then surprised me when Enrique starting turning his life around, working and tells his friends he's not interested in his old lifestyle anymore. 

Enrique's final journey...

posted Apr 9, 2010, 9:28 PM by angelica sanchez

Enrique's life completely changed after earning 100 pesos washing cars to contact his mother in South Carolina. After the bit of awkwardness that was shared throughout the phone between Enrique, The conversation is awkward. His mother is a stranger (pg. 178)." His mom then paid Enrique's good friend, El Tirindaro $1,700 total to smuggle him across to the U.S. Enrique trusts El Tirindaro completely as he goes through an inner tube on the stretch river then onto a white SUV with two others. Afterwards he is picked up by another driver. The driver drops them off a large house in the U.S and put on clean clothing. He finally contacts his mother (luckily he memorizes it this time!) Soon afterwards he reaches his mother after Lourdes' boyfriend picks Enrique up. Then they finally reach Enrique's new home and they're reunited. "He jumps squarely onto the bed next her. He gives her a hug. Then as kiss. "You're here, mi hijo." "I'm here," he says" (pg. 190)". I think once Enrique was able to finally contact his mother things became a lot easier because she was able to pay Enrique's friend to help him out. 

Enrique’s attempts and failures...

posted Mar 21, 2010, 2:41 PM by angelica sanchez   [ updated Mar 21, 2010, 4:47 PM ]

In the book, "Enrique's Journey" Enrique made several attempts to reach his mother, but each time he has made a little mistake after mistake and been sent back to Guatemala. For example, when Enrique was within a short distance to the border he asked a stranger  for a ride. The driver ended up working for the immigration and deports him back to where he started from. The majority of the time when Enrique gets caught is when he's sleeping or just happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. By the eighth time or so he knows his locations, times and places when and where the immigration is usually found so he could avoid them. For example when Enrique was in Chiapas who knew who and what to avoid, "In Chiapas, do not take buses, which must pass through nine permanent immigration checkpoints, never ride alone, do not trust anyone in authority and beware even the ordinary residents, who tend to dislike migrants" (pg. 62). 

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