Representing Self-Identity through Culture and Cultural Forms
1. Please share your thoughts about how Malaka Gharib utilized comics to tell her story and created games in response to her experiences of cultural collision, otherness, white supremacy, Islamophobia, and/or racism such as creating a paper doll of herself and her college outfits, or creating a “Microagressions Bingo” card. Please write at least five sentences in your response.
2. Do her creative approaches work well to illustrate the myriad of choices she has had to negotiate between? Why or why not? Do you think comics with their integration of image and text are more “relevant” than other cultural forms (such as novels or plays) today as a means to explore serious social concerns or “big questions? Please write at least five sentences in your response.
My Thoughts on Feeling Free
Jose Antonio Vargas concludes the Prologue of Dear America with the following:
After twenty-five years of living illegally in a country that does not consider me one of its own, this book is the closest thing I have to freedom (xiii).
We can safely assume from reading his book that without citizenship (or permanent residency) he does not feel “free.”
Please write answer the following three prompts writing at least five sentences for each of them:
1. Do you agree with Vargas that without government recognition of one’s status (whether it be citizenship or permanent residency as in having a green card) while living in that particular country it is difficult if not impossible to feel free? Why or why not? Do you agree that being able to express oneself and to tell one’s story are also forms of freedom?
2. What is freedom to you, in your humble opinion? You can agree with Vargas or come up with your own view(s) of freedom.
3. What does freedom during a global pandemic (our current situation) feel like to you?
My Thoughts on Dismantling “Master Narratives”
In Dear America, Vargas quotes from a Bill Moyer interview with Toni Morrison:
Moyers: The master narrative. What is—that’s life?
Morrison: No, its’ white male life. The master narrative is whatever ideological script that is being imposed by the people in authority on everybody else. The master fiction. History. It has a certain point of view. (qtd. in Vargas, 77)
Vargas later writes:
Black writers gave me the permission to question Amerca. Black Writers challenged me to find my place here and created a space for me to claim. Reading black writers opened doors to other writers of color, specifically Asian and Latino authors (Carols Bulosan, Sandra Cisneros, Arundhati Roy, to name just a few) whose work was often even more marginalized than that of black writers.
Indeed, if [Toni] Morrison provided me to ask more penetrative questions to insist on the “how” and the “why”—[James] Baldwin challenged my very core. I read these words from Baldwin like they were some sort of dar: “YOu have to decide who you are, and force the world to deal with you, not its idea of you.”
I wanted no part of the master narrative about who the “illegal” is.
I would take refuge in creating my own. (79).
Wow. There is a lot to unpack in two and a half pages from which the above is excerpted.
What are your thoughts about Morrison’s concept of the “master narrative”? Besides illegality, can you think of another American master narrative? And do you agree with Vargas’s views about how writers of color give readers permission to question not only America, but also permission to define oneself? Why or why not? Has taking HUM 425 helped you to identify and critique master narratives? Why or why not?
Please write at least ten sentences
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