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Literary cultural Analysis on 2 books ONCE UPON EID edited by S.K. Ali and Aish
Literary cultural Analysis on 2 books ONCE UPON EID edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed RAIN REIGN by Ann M. Martin a. Bibliographic data (Be sure to cite the author, title, illustrator (if there is one), publisher, publication date, and ISBN number for each book.) b. Brief plot summary (maximum one paragraph) c. Critical analysis with specific consideration of cultural markers for each book. *These should be coherent, polished, well organized sentences and paragraphs. Quality of writing is a factor in this assignment. Please look at this example as how it should look like!! A. BIBLIOGRAPHY Na, An. 2001. A STEP FROM HEAVEN. Asheville, NC: Front Street. ISBN 1886910588. B. PLOT SUMMARY Bound for “heaven” with hopes of finding a better life, Na’s poignant story tells the tale of Young Ju, whose family leaves Korea to immigrate to California. The family quickly discovers that America is not the paradise they expected. Told in brief vignettes, beginning with her early life in Korea, Young Ju chronicles the painful transition for her family from one culture to another. While she and her young brother quickly adapt to American ways her parents struggle to find their place in this “new world." The family’s struggle with their new lives continues to play an important role throughout the novel. C. CRITICAL ANALYSIS (INCLUDING CULTURAL MARKERS) Na’s story offers many cultural markers that connect the story to Asian-American culture. What makes the story of A STEP FROM HEAVEN such an authentic connection to many Korean-American lives is Na’s ability to paint a somewhat painful, yet accurate depiction of the experience of immigration and the painfulness of attempting to assimilate to a mainstream culture. Nothing in the family is as it was before; the difficulties faced by the family are many; they have entered a world with customs unlike those they have known, the parents are forced to work multiple jobs to survive, language is a constant barrier, and government agencies come to be regarded as enemies. Dreams of a “promised land” are quickly dashed. As her father becomes increasingly disillusioned about this new life, he turns to alcohol and becomes emotionally and physically abusive to all in his family. Language plays an essential role throughout A STEP FROM HEAVEN and offers other authentic cultural markers tied to the Korean heritage. Embedded throughout the text, Korean words are used liberally in the story. Young Ju uses Korean words to identify her relationships with family members such as “Halmoni” (grandmother), “Apa” (father) and “Uhmma” (mother). Even the magical land of “Mi Gook” (America) is used again and again in the story. Na chooses not to define these words, nor does she use italics or a font change to set these works off. Rather, she allows readers to discover the meaning of these words by paying special attention to the relationships between the characters and Young Ju. While the vast majority of the main characters are Korean, influences from western culture take effect on Young Ju as she strives to seem more American. Even the women in her family concern themselves with trying to make her fit in with what they believe American girls should look like. Before their departure from Korea, Young Ju’s grandmother takes her to go her to go get the curly hair treatment they call “Mi Gook hair.” Much of the setting of the story revolves around Young Ju’s home and her school. Within the home, her family follows Korean customs. They eat “kimchee and rice” and her mother plays a subservient role in the family. Unsatisfied with the home they lease, Young Ju’s mother dreams of buying a house for the family. If they can own a home in America, then they will be successful, she believes. After befriending an Anglo girl named Amanda at school, Young Ju longs to fit into her world. She tells lies about her family as she tells Amanda’s parents that her parents own a restaurant. After arguing with her father and forgetting “her place”, Young Ju is forbidden to see Amanda and she is told that she is becoming too American”. Young Ju continues the friendship, though she is fearful of being found out. Through it all, Young Ju finds strength in herself and the support of her mother, who finally musters the courage to allow her abusive husband to return to Korea without her or their children. Like may immigrant parents, her mother wants only the best for her. Na’s mesmerizing novel offers readers an honest look inside the experiences of immigrants who come to America with hopes of a new beginning. While the struggle to overcome cross cultural barriers is difficult, A STEP FROM HEAVEN provides highlights on a young girl’s journey across the world to find herself. D. REVIEW EXCERPTS Printz Award Medal CITATION: CHARACTERS • Authentic, not stereo-typed • Reflect distinct cultural experiences • Is it culturally accurate in terms of physical characteristics, intellect, leadership/cooperation dimension, socio-economic status? • Balanced: good/evil, variety of physical, social, emotional attributes • Interacts with characters of other cultures SETTING • Consistent with historical or contemporary time • Representative of characters’ environment in the story CULTURAL VALUES • Rich in cultural details • Consistent within specific culture • Accurate depictions & examples of pictures, gender roles, info about language, dress, customs, traditions, values & beliefs • Celebrates diversity OVERALL QUALITY • Invites reflection, analysis, and response • Meets criteria of quality for specific genre • Appealing format • Illustrations-accurate portrayals of culture REVIEWS & AWARDS CONNECTIONS • Related books or other media • Describe follow-up activities

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