Piecing It Together

I’m not entirely sure what the movie is about.

Given what I’ve seen in the movie so far, it’s clear that there is a racial division in this community.  The only people who seems above it are Vito and Mookie, who are friends even though there is a racial difference.  Pino’s idols are all Black, but he isn’t willing to admit they are Black.  He says they are just different.  I think this shows that he believes people are all equal, regardless of race, but he feels this isn’t possible.  I wonder if that is the feeling this movie wants to address.

I didn’t understand the beginning of the movie when there was the woman dancing.

I noticed that there was a point in the movie when “Doctor” said, “Do the right thing.”  I wonder how that relates to the movie.


As much as I have enjoyed reading and performing Shakespeare’s plays in the past, I have to say that this is the most confusing play I have read so far.  There are many characters to keep track of, and a most of them are related to each other.  It’s hard to remember whose son is whose cousin and whose uncle and so forth.  In addition to having to keep up with the many characters mentioned in the play, some of the scenes don’t make sense.

Act I, scene iii made no sense to me because, after taking so much time to formally set up the duel, King Richard II stops it before either combatant can make a single move.  “Sound, trumpets; and set forward, combatants. / A charge sounded / Stay, the king hath thrown his warder down.”  The king then announces his decision to banish both Mowbray and Bolingbroke.  If he was going to banish them both in the first place, why didn’t he do so earlier?  Why didn’t he let the duel go on so he could at least pretend to make a conclusion from the duel?  The king later decides to reduce Bolingbroke’s banishment period by four years so that he is now banished for six years instead.  He says it’s because exiling Bolingbroke saddens his uncle, but this shorter sentence means nothing if his uncle will die before Bolingbroke returns.

In Act I, scene iii, the king reveals that he doesn’t expect Bolingbroke to return even after his time in exile expires.  “He is our cousin, cousin; but ’tis doubt, / When time shall call him home from banishment, / Whether our kinsman come to see his friends.”  He then goes on to explain how Bolingbroke is a threat to the king because all the commoners love him and he acts as if he’s next in line to be king.  If this is true, why not banish Bolingbroke for eternity.  Mowbray was banished for eternity.  Why not have let the duel go on so that perhaps Bolingbroke would be slain?  That would have been one way to prevent Bolingbroke from staging his coup.


I recently finished watching an anime called “Cowboy Bepop” when I started reading “Don Juan.”  In one of the episodes, Faye, one of the protagonists, ends up meeting a man from her past.  Faye had always believed that this man loved her, until it is revealed that he used her to push off his enormous debt.  He pretended to love her, then pretended to die in an effort to protect her.  He then gave her all his assets.  However, he turned out to have only debts.  As it turns out, he had been continuing this scam for years, using the same scheme to trick other women into taking the debts he continues to accumulate because of his lavish lifestyle.

Don Juan reminds me of the man in that episode.  He is a womanizer and feels no shame in using women simply for his pleasure.  When he is warned about continuing his deceitful ways, he ignores it.  His demise is inevitable.  As realized by the other man, as long as their sins are known, they will pay.

Bridging Environments

The High Line Stands Out

This sketch is supposed to show how the High Line stands out from the rest of the community. At the same time, it is a part of the community because of the people who visit.

The High Line stands out from the rest of the community, but it represents the community at the same time. It can be used as a bridge between eras, as well as a park to find friends in.

I entered the High Line from the still undeveloped side. When I first saw the High Line, I thought it looked out of place. The elevator that brought me up to it was modern, but on my right, I could see the old, unused tracks. A fence blocked them off, so I couldn’t walk on them. Our inability to meet made me feel like I was stuck in a time machine, looking through a window to see a time that was. When I looked to my left, I saw what the tracks were transformed into. When I looked ahead, I saw the community that grew around it. Since I could not walk on the path to my right, I turned left and walked along the High Line.

Unlike the parks that I usually go to, the people there were all hanging out, and taking pictures. There no one was jogging or biking. Everything moved at a slower pace. People were relaxing. It was not the typical New York City scene. On the path, I noticed the remnants of the old railroad tracks. It reminded me of the trolleys one can see in California or Hong Kong, or maybe even the less developed part of the City. It wasn’t something I expected to see in the middle of Manhattan.

The High Line gradually changed into a garden above the city. The staircases on the side of the garden didn’t seem like exits, only a way to enter the beautiful environment. Looking outside of the garden, there were many billboards. While many looked so typical of the city, I remember one billboard of a mountain that I thought was ironic. In the garden, there was real nature. In the billboard, there was an artist’s attempt to bring nature to the people. It was a beautiful image; it made me want to go visit the snowy mountain. However, looking back into the garden, I thought about how people should learn to embrace the nature around them. They don’t need to go far.

As I moved further down the High Line, the scenery changed and I finally got to a well-developed area with food stands. As hungry as I was, I did not appreciate this part of the High Line as much. The rest of the High Line was so surreal in comparison. This part of the High Line reminded me of all the other parks in the city. In the other parts of the High Line, there was the recurring theme of nature versus the industrialized society. Here, the High Line and modern culture were one and the same.

As I got off the High Line, I realized how different part of the High Line was compared to the rest of the city, while part of it was just like a park in the city. The side I had entered in was undeveloped. It brought me back to a different time period. As I moved along the High Line, it became more modern. The tracks became a bridge. There was flora everywhere. It was a garden. At the end, the High Line was part of the community. The garden still existed, but the High Line looked like any old park in the City. Overall, the High Line created a bridge that connected the past to the present through the gradual changes of the park.


On the corner of Varick Street and King Street, there stand two men who want to cross the street, but cannot because of the stream of cars.  The cars are together, flowing quickly, leaving no way for the two men to cross the street.  The street is always flowing.  There is no way for the men to get across.  They see no gap wide enough that would let them run across unharmed.  If they step into this stream of cars, they run the risk of disrupting the flow or of being swept away.

They look at the sign above them.  It says that there is no parking on the street between the hours of 4 AM – 6 AM on Tuesday.  It’s Tuesday, but it’s late in the afternoon.  Why aren’t there cars stopping?  Why are no cars parked?

The man in the black shirt is looking for a clever way to get across.  He is in a hurry because he has to go visit his wife in the hospital.  She is giving birth to their first child and he has to be there.  He isn’t thinking clearly because there is a lot on his mind.

The man in the blue jacket is patiently waiting for the light to change.  He knows that the cars will stop when the light tells them too.  But the light is broken.

The two men try to fix the light.  They think there might be something wrong with the electricity.  They go to the base of the stoplights and try to get the electric circuit to be closed again.  They tear off the base of the stand and get to work.

They realize there is a problem.  There is nothing conductive they can use to close the circuit.  Neither of them is willing to sacrifice any of their things.  The cars are not stopping.  They have to think of another way through.

Finally, the patient man in the blue jacket notices the subway entrance on the other side of the street.  They see one on their side of the street.  They realize that they can use the tunnel to get across.

They go down, and realize that the subway tunnel does not connect them to the other side.  Underground they are blocked by lines of railroad tracks.

Frustrated, but out of options, the men get on the next 1 train.  They get off at the nearest stop where they can transfer and take another 1 train back.



Coping Through Music

It’s interesting how Patti Smith is the “Godmother of Punk” when she believes that her friends are more talented singers than she is. Although her style of music was different from the other songs during this period, she still had a large fan base. It shows that many people in the 60’s must have agreed that the lyrics to a song is more important that the way a song sounds. Smith’s music sent a message to people, and it helped them cope with feeling detached from society.

Modern music is similar in a way. There are many similar songs that people generally enjoy, but there are also the songs that help people cope with problems in their lives. I know that when I’m upset, listening to music is a great way for me to cope. Listening to the lyrics lets me know that I’m not the only one who has been in a difficult or upsetting situation.  Sometimes, when alone on the train ride to or from school, I’ll listen to music that matches my mood just so I can share my feelings with someone.  I think it’s important for artists to create music that expresses themselves.  That way, their listeners will feel a greater connection to the artist, as well as have a mutually beneficial from the creation of breathtaking music.

~Jessina Wong

Unique and Common

I love how unique the style of Shaun Tan’s graphic novel “The Arrival” is even when the ideas about the immigration process are so common. I like the way some of the pages look like part of an old, tattered photo album. It makes me feel like the book could have belonged to my great grandparents and it is now a family heirloom.

Part I of “The Arrival” was saddening because the main character had to leave his wife and daughter behind. There are many objects of sentimental value being shown. The drawing the daughter made touched me especially. I remember how I used to draw a lot when I was little and my drawings are still on my refrigerator.

In Part II, clouds lurk in the distance to foreshadow the hardships that come with immigrating to a new country. Giant statues in boats seem to be welcoming the incoming immigrants. Once the boat docks, screening ensues. Everything seems frustrating and he seems to be incapable of processing most of the things they tell him. In the end, he leaves in a cubicle lifted by a giant balloon. I think this represents how the modes of transportation are unfamiliar and strange. There are signs everywhere but one cannot understand what they’re saying. This implies that he is lost and doesn’t understand the language. In order to find places, he needs to draw pictures of them in order to convey what he wants. Once sheltered, he is homesick and looks into his suitcase and imagines what his family would be doing at that moment.

In the middle of the story, I start wondering about what all the animals are supposed to represent. They look adorable and remind me of the origami he makes, but I don’t understand why everyone seems to have a pet. I’m not even sure how he got his. It just showed up. I also want to know what Tan was trying to say with the dragon hovering over the city and the men sucking people away.

In part V, the man sends a crane and money home. After a year, the man receives a letter from his wife and little girl. They tell him of their arrival to New York. He is overjoyed. In part VI, the family is together again. The man’s wife and daughter have apparently adapted to this new way of life. The man’s daughter helps another immigrant find her way and the cycle starts all over again. I think that’s a great way to end the story because people are always immigrating. In New York, there are always new people who need help with directions. It’s also a comforting ending because it’s saying that everything will work out in the end.

In the View of a Child

A part of me wonders if only the people who have lost their loved ones in the 9/11 attack can truly understand the sadness of the event. Everyone knows that they are supposed to feel sad because it was a tragic event, but I don’t think one can truly understand the loss.

I remember getting out of school almost as soon as I had arrived. No one explained anything. There was a person on the loudspeaker telling the students that their parents would be arriving shortly. No one was told why.

As I left the school, I wondered what the reason was for this great fortune. I thought about how wonderful it was to be able to play with my friends. It wasn’t until much later that night that I was told what happened.

Naturally, or unnaturally, I didn’t really understand what was going on. My uncle was in the second tower that got hit, but I was told not to worry because he made it out ok. “Of course he made it out ok,” I thought. “He’s too young to die.” A naïve thought.

A few days later, he told me about what happened to him. Although it was a horrific event, he managed to make everything seem ok. He told me about how he lost a pair of new shoes when the tower went down, how women had to take off their heels so they could escape faster, how a lot of people made it out safely by using the elevator. “Aren’t people supposed to use the stairs if there’s any emergency?” Maybe it isn’t always safer. “Most people,” he said, “made it out using the elevator. They got down a lot faster.” I still don’t understand.

Although I didn’t lose anyone in the destruction, I was still worried about safety. Planes themselves don’t scare me, but there’s now a slight panic when my planes are about to land. I’ve been afraid of heights for most of my life, but now I’m even more afraid of being in tall buildings. Like Oskar, I started inventing in order to cope. One of the inventions I recognized was to have buildings shift, and not the elevator. Thinking back on that, I realize how impractical that is. Not to mention, if that were to happen, what would become of the people trapped underground?

I’ve never met anyone who has lost a loved one in the flames, so I feel like Oskar’s story is the closest I will get.  I still wonder how it feels to lose someone in that way.  How would I have reacted?  Would I understand the meaning of death?  Would I understand once we got to the funeral?  I’m not even sure if I would have been as affected as Oskar had been.  My uncle and I didn’t have the kind of relationship Oskar had with his father.  Would I have been heartless?  On the other hand, could I be so traumatized that the memory fades into my subconscious?