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Being An "Other" In The World Of "Others"

1764 words - 8 pages

The title of an “other” is not exclusively reserved for the minority groups, however, every person can find themselves in this role at some point of their life. Being an “other” does not only mean being at war with the people around you, but rather having constant inner struggles and finding a way to deal with difficult situations. Some reasons for alienation are visible in Mary Crow Dog’s, “Civilize them with a Stick”, Jaime Manrique’s, “The Documentary Artist” and Minfong Ho’s, “The Winter Hibiscus”, as well as the ways of dealing with rejection and making some kind of difference.

Mary Crow Dog’s “Civilize them with a Stick” portrays Mary Ellen, an Indian girl, who is taken to the school ...view middle of the document...

Physical violence is not only used for this type of “escapades”, but rather for every mistake a person makes. Some children at St. Francis are also sexually abused.
Mary Ellen, as her predecessors, has the same experience of being beaten, but at some point decides to rebel against this mistreatment. She and her friends start a newspaper called The Red Panther in which they describe the real situation in their school. Unfortunately, they are prevented in distributing the newspaper and are beaten for putting it together. This shows another important point and that is not having freedom speech and expression, which is also violation of the basic human rights. Another shocking part of the story is Mary Ellen’s story about her grandmother and aunt finding dead white babies in the water pipes. This story makes the maintaining the image of fathers and nuns’ great morality impossible.
The culmination of the story occurs when the priest who teaches English picks on a boy who speaks poor English. Mary Ellen stands up to him and after class explains to him why he is wrong. They end up physically hurting each other and after hitting him in a nose, she leaves the classroom and goes to the sister Bernard’s office to tell her that she is leaving school. A positive result of Mary Ellen’s quarrel with the priest is him having realised he was wrong and becoming a good friend of the Indians. In some cases, people tend to follow a majority group without seeing that this group is completely wrong.

The Minfong Ho’s story “The Winter Hibiscus” gives an insight into an inner world of Saeng, a Lao girl who moved with her family in United States. She tries to become a part of an American society because she does not want to feel alienated. She also likes David, a boy who is helping her with her driving lessons, and wants him to like her back. He represents a typical American high-school boy. David does not see her as she sees him. He helps her just to please his mother. Meanwhile, Saeng tries very hard to impress him – she dresses in the clothes his mother gave to her, she combs her hair “the way she had seen the blond cheerleaders do theirs” (Ho 164). The cheerleaders seem to be an ideal of beauty, they are seemingly perfect. This trend causes people to become clones, to lose their personalities and stop being special and, in the end, become ordinary and just like everyone else. The bigger problem of this trend is causing people to feel bad about themselves, to become insecure and depressed. This leads to having distorted self-image and has a negative impact on one’s self-respect.
Saeng is very excited about meeting David because that is “the closest she had ever come to being on a date” (Ho 166). She is aware that he does not feel the same about her. Saeng’s mother also likes David and wants her to thank him by taking him to McDonald’s for a Big Mac, which is a symbol of being an American. She never gets a chance to ask him to go with her because David is...

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