Archive for June, 2010

A long Struggle with patience

Posted: June 24, 2010 in Book Reviews

The Color Purple The Color Purple by Alice Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Most of us in the World craves for a home and bases our lives on getting it with our beloved ones. “The Color Purple” not just focuses on getting a home at last but it signifies the outreach to the world breaking the social taboos and associated values and norms. Throughout the end, the novel circles around gender discrimination issues and women empowerment.
Celie, an African teen aged girl, struggles throughout her life to reach stability in her life with whom she loves. She was raped several times by whom she calls as “pa”, which is father in meaning. Then, she undergoes the loss of her children, whom she gave birth to “pa” and her sister Nettie. She was later married to Albert, who is often shown as Mr._______ by Walker. The condition of Celie is very sympathetic as she did not get any satisfaction in her married life except caring for her children. There are much violent and depressing news that goes along with this novel. For Example, Albert’s wife was murdered by her X- boy friend. Later in the novel, Walker introduces the basic change-maker of many characters in this novel, which has extra-ordinarily impacted on the protagonists. She is Shug Avery, a glamorous singer, with whom Mr.______ and Celie fall in love with. Shug is a contradictory character of Celie and inspires Celie very much. Taking in charge of her own destiny, Shug is a straight forward lady yet know to love and understand other people. Walker brings the Climax when a girl rings and says Celie that the house belongs to her as she is the eldest. However, Walker reveals the so called Pa is not actually her Pa, but her step father giving a relief to the readers.
A first person limited ominous novel transforms into letter conversation between Celie and her sister Nettie. It is interesting in a way where we hear one important perspective with lots of grammatical mistakes. This is where Walker proves that language is not important to share a story. Readers do gradually understand the protagonist’s point of view and the issues. The attitudes of Shug have an impact on Celie very much along with the Nettie’s view on women and the culturally diverse World. It’s a book that would make you depressed from the beginning to some extent with a great shocking if you haven't heard about child marriage, child abuse and how humans are sometimes treated like animals. Then, the later the story gives the feeling of empowerment of Celie.
Overall, it is such an amazing story with a peaceful ending of the transformed empowered woman from an uneducated girl.

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What Is the What What Is the What by Dave Eggers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Title: What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
Author: Dave Eggers
Place of Publication: San Fransisco
Publisher: McSweeney
Date of Publication: 2006
Number of pages: 1- 480

Dave Eggers, an American writer, shows the struggling life of Sudanese in the civil war conflict in the book What Is the What. Although, the book is fictional for an extent, it still portrays the hardships faced by the citizens as refugees in their home country, Sudan, as well as the host country, America.

Basically, an autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng written with the style of Dave Eggers reflects the hardships that a surveyor in a civil war had faced through out his process of escaping. Achak is one among the thousands and thousands of young boys who left their hometown, seeks for a refugee camps and eventually to escape out of Africa. Valentino Achak Deng, who was known as just Achak in most parts of book belongs to the Dinka tribe of Marial Bai Village. The Arabs who ruled over the Sudan especially the Northern part led the Sudanese to loose family, home and properties. They even raped young girls, killed women, children, and old people mercilessly. The Sudanese’s only hope and support was Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) who fights against the Arab Militia.

Most of the surveyors as clearly seen are only young boys who are capable to escape from being a victim for the catastrophic attempts of the Arabs to make Sudan their own. Many male adults were killed in large numbers because they are ones who head and support their family. Adult females are girls are manipulated in several ways as they are vulnerable individuals in this society.

The story starts with life of Achak in Atlanta, where his house had been robbed and he was tied. The story is not actually told to someone to inform but through the imagination and thinking of Achak’s own story to himself. By going in rewind in his life, he relates to the present happening in his new life in Atlanta. This could also mean two things. First, the present condition of him in insecure Atlanta is not as big as the struggles he did to escape from Sudan. Also, it could mean the restlessness that one would face from birth till death regardless of the migration of country for better life.

Although the whole view is a perspective of a surveyor, the novel is not merely a hope for a better life. It seems sometimes artificial to hear the survival of the main character in the entire difficult situations through out the journey of the lost boys because of the mixture of fictional scenes. He survived with in the thread gap when the tiger from a forest suddenly grabbed a boy in front of him in the line. Then he survived in the midst of the extreme starvation accompanied with the dehydration of most of the people with whom he came with. Also, he was not caught either in any of the bullets that those were triggered aimlessly all round the young boys or in the jaws of the crocodiles while crossing the rivers.

Thus the author's mixture of imagination with a real life also shows us that sometimes life could be miraculous. He left his readers to decide how life could be. As a whole, it is essential and worth reading especially to those who wants to explore the humanity in Sudan and life of refugees.

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Life in War

Posted: June 19, 2010 in Life Stories

Sangeeta (name changed), 22, studied nearly one and half years in Access Academy and currently doing her undergraduate in AUW. She has spent nearly 20 years in her motherland, Sri Lanka, and has seen the disasters of the Civil War in Vavuniya, a district in North-eastern Sri Lanka. She grew up in such a society where the sounds of the bullets triggered from the guns, unexpected blasts of bombs, everyday mourning and bloody carnage are common.
Since this is the first experience for both of the interviewee and the interviewers, there was little nervousness and tension. We mainly tried to focus on Sangeeta’s personal life amidst the situation of the Civil war in her place. As Sangeeta experienced the difficulties in her life from childhood, she was very emotional and was continuously illustrating how the bomb blast and shooting were done by both of the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan military. One instance of her life experience in war took a long time in the whole interview process. In general interview process was smooth as Sangeeta was honest enough to explain her childhood experience being in a situation of war.
During the interview it seems that Sangeeta understood the questions and our intensions and her answers were very relevant especially about her travel and educational facilities. She and her family faced many problems just for being a Tamil. One of the difficulties that they had to face is that their family in Vavuniya had to undergo more formal processes for travelling to their capital or to get admitted in a college than the families in the southern part of Sri Lanka had to do. It seems that the government officials or the militants are dubious about almost all the Sri Lankan Tamils. The Tamil Tigers were defeated and the Sri Lankan government declared victory after killing the leader of the LTTE. When we asked Sangeeta about the defeat of Tamil Tigers who fought for the equal rights of the Tamil people, she became emotional and talked in Tamil, her mother tongue.
Sangeeta had really tried her best to express her opinion as a Sri Lankan Tamil. In addition, she was very descriptive and recited how she felt the war as a naive child. Now that she knows about the political unrest existed in her country, she should have included some critical opinions about the war and have at least talked about the damages that Sinhalese community faced during the same war. Although the main focus of the interview is Sri Lankan War, we also talked about her family, father’s occupation, travel and education in Vavuniya and her new little brother. She almost answered what we have asked and she seemed very bold enough to say the truth to the world. Overall the entire interview is quite challenging because of the need to ask more questions with the time constraint.
During war, even the head of the family, her father, was afraid and insecure. She says that her father took Sangeeta in order to show the militant that he is a family person. This shows how insecure their community people were. One of the interesting things is that Sangeeta’s family has accommodated nearly 20 victims after the war. They have also been adopting a baby boy who has lost his parents in the war and this touched our hearts. We are really amazed at Sangeeta’s opinion about war. She says war is unnecessary and it ends up losing people from both the sides. I do agree with her opinion!
“War is not necessary”