Sunday, October 21, 2012

What 44% Looks Like

Here is the original text with all of the long ramblings and passive voice:

Passive Voice/Transitive Verbs
Abstract Subjects
Linking Verbs

During our class time I was introduced to many life narratives, articles, and documentaries, written and directed by Asian Americans, which described the experiences that different individuals had. Throughout all of them I noticed a trend: relocation. All of these people were relocated in one form or another, be it being forcefully uprooted, moved, adopted, detained or interned, exiled, or being put into slavery, their lives were changed because of this relocation. I would like to explore the effects this movement had on Asian Americans in regards to physical and emotional stresses, along with how they changed culturally and socially. Some of the most horrific experiences these Asian Americans went through were centered around their geographical movements, and they were changed as individuals by these occurrences.

Relocation happened for many reasons. Asian Americans have been forcefully moved and enslaved because of an invading entity, or detained and interned out of fear during wartime situations. They have been exiled back to their country of origin for mistakes that would have meant a slap on the wrist for a natural born citizen, and also adopted by U.S. families looking to fill the void in their lives and do their part to help the “less fortunate”. During all of these processes, different forms of stress occur -- physically and emotionally -- and although each narrative is different in regards to how these individuals dealt with their stress, it is none-the-less still there. The most prominent and easiest to recognize, is physical stress.

Physical stress can be a very powerful thing and can come from many different stimuli within one’s life. Being relocated for any reason puts physical stress on an individual. The majority of instances I read about involved Asian Americans being forced to pack up and leave their homes and everything they knew. Through this experience many of them were forced to work or become slaves, living under poor conditions and being worked literally to death. Chanrithy Him’s narrative, When Broken Glass Floats, highlights her time spent under the Khmer Rouge and how she underwent massive amounts of physical stress. Once the Khmer Rouge invaded Cambodia, her family was forced to leave their home and relocate to Phnom Penh, where their struggle to survive began and the slave labor was horrific and never ending. She lived off of rations, barely big enough to feed one or two people, which were supposed to feed her entire family, and worked from dawn to dusk, sometimes longer, every day. They did not have a vehicle for transportation and were required to walk everywhere -- without the comfort of a pair of shoes.

Here is my revision:

The narratives, articles, and documentaries I looked at during the semester, written and directed by Asian Americans, all shared a common theme: relocation. The narrators spoke of their relocation through forceful uprooting, moving, adoption, detainment or internment, exile, and slavery. I will explore the effects this movement had on Asian Americans in regards to physical and emotional stresses, along with how they changed culturally and socially.

Relocation happened for many reasons. Invading entities detained and interned Asian Americans, forcing them to become slaves. The United States also exiled these people for mistakes that a citizen would receive a slight punishment for, and families adopted children to fill the void in their lives and do their part to help the “less fortunate”. Physical and emotional stresses formed because of these processes. The most prominent and easiest to recognize being physical stress.

Being relocated for any reason puts physical stress on an individual. The Asian American’s captors forced families to leave their homes and become slaves—living under poor conditions and working themselves to death. Chanrithy Him’s narrative, When Broken Glass Floats, highlights her time spent under the Khmer Rouge and how she underwent massive amounts of physical stress. The Khmer Rouge invasion led her family to leave their home and relocate to Phnom Phen, where their slave labor began. Her family lived off of inadequate rations and worked from dawn to dusk every day. Their captors provided no transportation—her family relying on shoe-less feet for mobility.

The original is 437 words and the revised is 245. Reduced the content by 44%. Not bad for a first attempt! Haha.

If I missed highlighting anything in my first version, let me know! I kept finding more things to revise during my revision process. I'm not really sure if I like the shortened way better. I have a certain voice and style while writing, and it's hard for me to change that. Sometimes getting right to the point is a good thing, but this paper I wrote was more about getting a message across that would make an impact on the reader and really show them what these people went through during their narratives. The paper itself was about 12 pages long, so this is only a small taste of what was discussed and shared. Still, maybe I just like being long winded and pompous! =P

Friday, October 12, 2012

Genesis: Fact or Fiction? (My vote is for the latter choice.)

This is an excerpt from a response I had to write for Mythology class on the first and second sections of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Enjoy!

Active Voice
Passive Voice

I find it interesting that how the world was created according to Genesis could be related to the chronological order that the Earth could have been formed through evolution and the Big Bang; Of course, the leading differences being a) the existence of a higher being that created Earth and b) the time frame of how long ago this all happened.

  1. God created the heavens and the Earth can interpret into the initial Big Bang that formed the universe. Darkness was upon the face of the deep, meaning Earth was still in the process of forming, and as a very young planet within our new solar system could not yet sustain life.
  2. God said let there be light, creating the day and night. The sun had been formed, causing the gravitational pull of the planets surrounding it, and combined with the formation of Earth and its own rotation, day and night would occur on our planet.
  3. Dividing the waters from the waters. Earth settled into orbit at a range that permitted the formation of atmosphere, water and air separating.
  4. The creation of land, sea, and vegetation. Within the process of atmosphere being formed, water would not only remain on the surface of the planet but also enter the atmosphere, creating our clouds, weather, etc. Combined with the freezing process at the poles of the planet, due to the infrequent and lack of direct sunlight and warmth from the sun, land would start to appear. Vegetation formed.
  5. The formation of stars. New stars form and old stars “die”. Thus is how the universe functions. While our own solar system was forming, others were also in the process. Our galaxy is a young one that is still in the process of formation.
  6. Creatures start to form in the water and air. Well, organisms have to start somewhere. Not a goo that suddenly some creature crawled out of, but water would logically suffice to create a compound organism capable of adapting to life both in the air and on land.
  7. Creatures are formed on the land. Following the trend stated previously, evolution would dictate creatures spreading from water to land as environments changed and needs could only be met through means not available within the current atmosphere, aquatic and limiting.
  8. Lastly, there is the creation of man. Chronologically, this still follows the trend of evolution. The main belief being that we descended from apes through many stages, but ultimately we arrived as men in the world after other beasts were formed.
I'm not exactly sure what to write for my commenter this week. It's been an excessively long week and my brain is shot. I'm going to go back to destroying The Book Thief and see how that works out for me. (Don't worry, I'm not really destroying it. Just drawing all over it and painting on the pages. Ha.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

What is Faith? (Baby, don't smite me. Don't smite me, no more.)

Here's a little something I had to write up for my Mythology class this semester: The take-home portion of my midterm! Hooray!


Being an Atheist, I often dismiss the fact that faith can be a real and powerful thing to individuals. My “lack of faith” tends to render me blind to the complexities of beliefs and how important they can be to an individual’s life. During the course thus far, I have come to realize that faith in a creator, or creators, is an important and everyday aspect to the lives and cultures of the characters and people in our texts—both the civilizations of the time, and the authors who wrote down their most important words. These belief systems provided them with many answers, helpful, familiar, and important, to bring understanding to the world around them and a sense of unity as a community or group (something that can still be seen within our society today), and, through the fashioning of intricate stories, passed on knowledge from one generation to the next as a source of education about both their faith and their world.

The idea of faith seemed to rule the lives of these people and cultures to an extent that, when they sought out knowledge to answer the unknown, they looked toward their belief systems for an explanation. This supernatural search for an answer can be found most prominently within the texts that we read earlier on in the semester—the Native American creation myths and genesis. Focusing on the answer to a question that describes the origins of not only people but the world itself, could be labeled the most popular unknown both to ancient civilizations and current day religious types and scientists. Each story has a common element: a creator. Be it a god, goddess, supernatural being or creature, or even a seemingly scientific event, each group depended (and still depends) heavily on their belief systems or faith to answer this question.

To begin with the most well-known version of creation, our own Christian views, we are presented with a singular God that “created the heaven and the earth”—night and day, earth, water and sky, plants, creatures of the sea, air and land, and lastly humans (Genesis 1). The Shakti creation myth we read is a good compliment to the Christian view through the use of a single being creating everything, but they choose a woman instead of as “man”. Their creator is “she who holds the Universe in her womb, / source of all creative energies, / Maha Devi who conceives / and bears and nourishes / all that exists” (Shakti 487). Each of these stories also has a strong sense of a reward system. Obeying or pleasing these beings brings about good fortune to the worshipers, which could provide success in both life and death, and help create a strong set of rules and/or morals for the community.

(Skipping ahead a bit so you don't have to read a novel...)

What all of these creation stories have in common is the deep rooted dependence on their faith. They used familiar and comfortable ideas to explain the unknown and help bring order to chaos, their community being the source of inspiration for the familiar. These stories gave them something to bind them together as a community, and provided a way to pass this knowledge on to future generations. The same still holds true today. Personally, my lack of faith is defined by my beliefs. I do not believe in a God, but I do believe in other things such as science and karma.

Post Script: Well, I apparently love appositives. Haha. I'm not surprised. They seem to have a little more creative give when I'm writing. Perhaps a little more creative freedom. Anyway, let me know if I've gotten anything wrong! It's a lot harder for me to spot these things when I'm not writing the sentences right then and there.