“Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.”

― Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

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Silenced Crimes

I have a confession.

ImageAfter I finished reading the novel Little Bee by Chris Cleave, I decided to do a little research on the Oil Crisis crimes occurring in Nigeria that Little Bee was fleeing from. In the novel, when Little Bee and her sister ask Andrew and Sarah to help them because there are hunters trying to kill them, Andrew doesn’t believe them and says “but Nigeria is a safe country”. He only believes it when he sees the hunters with his own eyes. I know that the story is fictional, but the notes on the back of the novel by the author says that crimes like this did actually happen in Nigeria.

mainstream-media-liesTo my surprise, I could not find any articles relating to the Oil Company crimes. There were articles about Oil Companies and Oil Sands in Nigeria. However, they contained nothing about crimes by the oil companies. This just goes to show how people in the western world are so blinded by the biased mass media, just like Andrew was blinded in the novel.  It’s deeply saddening that crimes happening in non-western countries usually don’t get covered by the mass media, especially if the crimes are committed to the benefit of western countries. For example, in the Israel-Palestine conflicts, mass media portrays Palestinians as “evil terrorists” when this is totally untrue. Each story has two sides, but Palestine can’t speak about their side because they are being silenced.

Below I have included  a music video from one of my favorite artists, Lupe Fiasco. The song displays how mass media is biased and how the news we see on TV isn’t always the truth.

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A Woman With Power

I have a confession. I admire Sarah.Image

Little Bee also has another important character: Sarah. She is an american woman in her early 30’s and every other chapter is told through Sarah’s point of view. Sarah and Little Bee meet on the beach in Nigeria before Little Bee’s sister is raped.  The hunters who are chasing the girls tell Sarah’s husband, Andrew, that they’ll spare the life of the girls  if he cuts his middle finger off and gives it to them . Andrew is afraid to do it but Sarah cuts her finger off and gives it to the hunter, and in this way Sarah saves Little Bee’s life.

ImageI truly admire Sarah, for she does something that a man is afraid to do. She takes charge, so to me, she’s a very powerful and independent woman. It was also selfless and courageous for her to do so. After this incident, when the couple goes back to America, Andrew goes into depression and eventually kills himself. Although they both saw brutal things in Africa, Sarah turns out to be the stronger one. She also saves Little Bee’s life multiple times after that and raises her son by herself. Sarah also works for a magazine where she is the editor in chief, making her the boss. To me she is the definition for the modern independent woman.

ImageSarah reminds me of my mother. My mother grew up in Nepal during the 1970’s and women didn’t work at the time for culturally it was frowned upon. Since my mom started school early, she had started university by the age of 16, and started teaching at the age of 20. Eventually she became the principal of the school. She fought against society for equal rights and achieved her dreams and  it really goes to show the things women can do if given the chance and a voice.

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“The men came and they…”

“The men came an they burned my village, tied my girls, raped my girls, took my girls, whipped my husband, cut my breast, I ran away through the bush, found a ship, crossed the sea and then they put me here.” (Cleave, 11)

ImageI have a confession.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am reading the novel Little Bee by Chris Cleave. The story revolves around a teenage Nigerian girl who makes her way to England illegally on a boat to seek refuge from crimes going on in her home country and is held in a immigrant detention center there for two years. In the detention center, Little Bee meets many girls with similar stories to hers, and she mentions that all stories begin with “The men came and they…”. The above quote is the story of one of the girls that she meets. As I am a girl of a similar age, many parts of this novel made me extremely emotional. I even had to stop, take a breath and take in what I just read. There aren’t many novels that make me cry but this was defiantly one of them.

lSince the novel takes place in 2007, it highlights how women are oppressed and mistreated even in today’s day and age. These refugee women are merely seen as sex objects, they are raped, beaten brutally and murdered . Even today, in many countries men see women as an instrument for the sexual pleasure . Its very sad that men neglect the  intellectual abilities and capabilities of women even today. For example, a few months ago in India, a medical student of the age of 23 was gang raped, beaten and killed on a public bus and then dumped on a roadside. It saddens me for she had a dream to become a doctor and help her family escape poverty. She was also very young and had such a bright future ahead of her. However, I feel that this novel does an wonderful job in opening the eyes of society to these sorts of incidents, which are happening every day.

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Little Bee Cover Analysis

I have a confession.

I’ve been meaning to blog for a while now, but my internet had not been working over the Imagewinter holidays and I finally got it working well today. Over the winter break, I had started reading the novel “Little Bee”. The day I got hold of the novel, I remember that before I started reading it, I started analyzing the cover because it was quite unique and interesting. I looked at the cover and I realized that the picture looked very much like how the Queen of England looks on a pound coin. Another interesting thing about the cover is that the eye of the girl on the cover is a silhouette of another woman. I couldn’t help but notice that the girl on the cover was black and her “eye” girl was white. ImageSo I had predicted that the plot had to do with a black woman and a white woman and also something to do with England or the Queen of England. It also seemed as if it was a story about a black female seeing the “white” world. They say “don’t judge a book by its cover” but the cover of this novel seemed very appealing to me.

Since the novel had no summary at the back, I took a risk with this book, for I really did not know what it was about. I am reading this novel  through a feminist perspective, so look out for more posts to come about this novel. Also, if you would like  another perspective on the novel, the members of my novel group are all reading it through different lenses: Marxist, psychoanalytic and a reader’s lens. Happy Reading!

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Some Hamlet Humor

I just thought this was a good laugh 🙂

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Character Analysis: Polonius

I have a confession.

During our class readings of Hamlet, I have been reading the part of Polonius, Ophelia’s father. As I read his lines in class, I realized Polonius is quite a character. He speaks some very inspirational and beautiful words but as a person is he sneaky, insincere and selfish. The advice he gives to his son is so beautiful, he says “this above all: to thine ownself be Imagetrue”. As beautiful as it is however, it is almost hypocritical because he is not true to his own words. Later on in the play, he orders someone to spy on his son and he tells him “By indirections find directions out”. By this he basically means tell lies about his son to seek the truth, which is directly opposite to the advice his gives to his son.

ImageThe interesting thing I have noticed is that it is not only Polonius that is not being true in the play. Hamlet is using his “insanity” as mask shield the truth. Also, Claudius, I find, is the biggest hypocrite of all. He pretends to be a loving and caring uncle and husband when he’s really a murderer and that also, the murderer of his own brother.

I can really relate this whole “masking your true identity” thing to our society today. I know as a student in high school, that it is often difficult for people to be true to themselves. Sometimes, I think we find it is easier to put on a mask so we don’t get labelled or judged. I know how important it is to be true to myself and regardless of how hypocritical Polonius was, I think I will always remember what he said: “to thine ownself be true.”

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