Woods' English 2A

This blog is intended to be used as a discussion forum for Mrs. Woods' 2A students from Piedmont Hills High School. The blog will allow each student to offer responses and reactions to the novels read outside of class. This blog will also allow you to read the reactions of others.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Half and Half"

187 Comments:

Blogger Chaddycakez said...

"The Cove"
Chapter: Half and Half

1) Reaction:
So far this is the saddest chapter in the book, that I have read. I really loved how Tan draws you into a peaceful family scene but foreshadows something bad happening. This lead to me being literally glued to the book, wondering who is going to die. And of course, do to some crazy circumstances young Bing is the one to die. It just made me feel weak to my stomach to read about how the Hsu's went from a happy family to a panicked one. I also loved the devotion of An-Mei Hsu and how she desperately tried to find Bing using a variety of superstious beliefs, and her nengkhan. This chapter was a definate good read due to the emotions that overwhelmed me just as the waters overwhelmed Bing's corpse. =x

2) The main conflict in this chapter in my opinion would have to be An-Mei and her faith. Through out the chapter, Rose refers to her mother as having nengkhan which some spiritual force that can aid one in doing any task, if one is determined. After Bing is lost at sea, An-Mei desperately tries to find him. She throws everything she knows into the open from casting a fishing line to pull him out of the waters, to tossing away her ring to an underwater sea dragon. It is mentioned that she was a devout in her faith until she could not find Bing. In the end, she did lose her faith.. But in situations where death is involved people usually lose faith or gain it and in this case, she exhausted all her beliefs and simply lost it.

3) This chapter reacts back to the beginning allegory on how young Bing runs off onto the rocky cove and keeps going while Rose is calling him to stop. In the beginning allegory a mother is warning her daughter not to ride her bike outside and the daughter falls. In this chapter Bing just keeps going and then he falls, to his own death. T_T

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 6:33:00 PM  
Blogger ANU said...

Faith can never change Fate
Chapter: Half and Half

1) I like this chapter because it is packed with action. In the beginning, Rose is supposedly, up for a divorce and sooner, there is a flashback at the beach incident. Their family beach trip relates to my family’s routine at the beach. Usually, my little brother and cousin work on their sandcastles, baked by the steaming sun while my sister and cousin enjoy themselves in the damp waters of the ocean. My aunt and mom are the ones holding down the disobedient cloth, flying sand into their eyes. I’m usually the one held responsible for all the scampering siblings because I’m the eldest. It’s nice to hear of another beach experience related to mines. Another thing I liked in this chapter was how Amy Tan inserts the reason for Bing’s incident. Rose’s mother explains how their ancestors had stolen water and now the water revenged. This connects to Chinese customs and beliefs.
2) From the beginning, An-Mei truly believes in the bible. However, the incident of her son’s death shuts her down. An-Mei, the woman full of hope, feels rejected after she begs God to return her son. Therefore, she loses hope and quits using the bible. But, as close people break apart from each other, feelings remain. An-Mei, is described constantly looking at the bible, knowing it’s there while sweeping around it. Although, it seems she would want to go back to her religious ways, the shattering of her hope disables her to believe in anything.
3) The main message given in this chapter is faith can never change fate. Bing was destined to die in the ocean. An-Mei tries to bring her son back by reciting prayers and throwing in her valuable ring. However, what was decided is decided no matter what. Unfortunately, fate is in control and An-Mei’s faith is dulled.

Friday, December 28, 2007 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger ros.anne said...

Fate vs. Faith
Half and Half: Joy Luck Club

1) Reaction
This is the most tragic vignette out of all of them, and the scene where An mei is finally met with defeat imparts a sense of desparity within our own souls. (Really, Tan's gothic vignettes get to you after a while). I loved the transition from Rose's failing marriage to the family's failure to find Bing, and ending with An mei still believing "Rose must try." I thought it was beautiful how An mei didn't fall to pieces like Ying-ying did in "Voice from the Wall."

2) Rose and An mei
Their relationship extends beyond a typical mother-daughter conflict; they seem to represent the whole fate vs. faith argument itself. An mei believed in nengkan: you have the ability to do anything you put your mind to. Nengkan sounds a lot like faith to me. You believe in God, and he'll make everything all right.
On the other hand, Rose believed faith was "just an illusion that somehow you're in control." She thought the closest to faith she could get was having hope in a situation.

3) Chinese Culture
The most prominent piece of Chinese culture within this chapter is about nengkan. Rose's family seemed to live by this belief, and even though I'm Chinese, I've never heard about it before. There's also a belief in ancestors' debts passing on. An mei poured sweet tea and threw a precious ring into the ocean to "soothe" the water "trying to steal back," because an ancestor once stole from a sacred well.

Friday, December 28, 2007 2:43:00 PM  
Blogger janet_s said...

“Can Faith Change Fate?”

1)Reaction:
I give this chapter a very high two thumbs up. Although, her little brother died in the past is a sorrowful event, it was still very interesting to read. It amazes me how Amy Tan uses Rose’s memory as a child and connects that situation with her current problem of divorcing Ted. And in this chapter, Rose doesn’t really seem to be annoyed of her mother, but recalls the strong faith her mother had in God to bring back her youngest brother. And in the end, she questions if her faith is strong enough to actually save her own marriage.

2) Rose Hsu Jordan and her mother’s relationship:
Their relationship is which consists of the mother as an advice giver and the daughter listens and ponders over that of her mother’s words. Regarding Rose’s marriage, her mother “tells [her], though, that [she] should still try (139).” Her mother is full of wisdom, saying, “This is not hope. Not reason. This is your fate. This is your life, what you must do (139).” Rose is awed by her mother’s faith to God, how even though she knew her son had died, she tried so hard to plead with God. She somewhat looks up to her mother, who is full of “nengkan”, as her role model.

3)Tan’s theme or message:
I think that Tan is trying to say that sometimes fate takes us to a point in our lives that we least expect and we have nobody to turn too, then our faith comes in. Near the end of page 140, Tan explains why she titled this chapter, “Half and Half”. “And I think now that fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention. But somehow, when you lose something you love, faith takes over.” This is probably a moral of Tan’s, since she lost both her father and brother at a young age due to fate, maybe the only way she dealt with these deaths was through her faith, which she later gained in life.

Friday, December 28, 2007 2:58:00 PM  
Blogger michelle chen said...

Divorced!
1) I did not like this chapter because there were too many bad things happening. First her husband divorces her because “she couldn’t decide anything on her own.” Then she takes us back to when her brother died from falling off of a cliff into the ocean. They didn’t even find his body.
2) The relationship between Rose and Ted changed from loving to not working out. They met at Berkeley and he invited her to a family picnic where his mother tells her how she does not what her son to date a Vietnamese woman, and Rose just tells her that she is not Vietnamese and how she does not what to marry her son. Then she tells Ted what had happened and Ted does not care and still wants to be with her. They got married, and Ted got a new patient who wanted the blue veins gone from her skin. He sucked out a nerve and left her left side of her face paralyzed. From then everything changed. He wanted her to make decisions and to take responsibility from the smallest things. Finally when he had gone on a business trip he called her and told her that he wanted a divorce. Their relationship changed from fun and rebellious to divorce and anger.
3) This chapter relates to the allegory because of the children in this story that do not listen to the advice from the elders get hurt. Rose did not listen to the advice from Ted’s mother and in turn she got her heart hurt and has to face divorce. Bing did not listen to the advice of Rose and her mother to not go too close to the cliff’s edge and he fell right into the ocean. It relates to the allegory because of all the things that happen if you do not listen to your parents.

Friday, December 28, 2007 7:16:00 PM  
Blogger grobanitis_ said...

"Fate and Faith?"
Chapter: Half and Half

1. This chapter was really sad. Rose's marriage problems and Bing's death were both very depressing. However, I liked how Amy Tan actually introduced some small male characters into the story. This is a good chapter because it is a little different from the previous ones, being that is has two storylines in one chapter.

2. Ted and Rose were in a relationship built upon choices and decisions. Ted always made the decisions. Rose was indecisive with everything. She was always going with the flow. Her mind always swayed so easily with other people's choices. Afterwards, Ted saw that her easy-going behavior was annoying, and it just meant she didn't care about anything. Her attitude led to the downfall of their relationship because Ted didn't want to have "none of the responsibility, none of the blame" all the time.

3. (What's is Tan's message or theme in this chapter? Which lines or scenes from the chapter reveal the theme?) The theme of this chapter is "your decisions shape your future." This chapter is about making decisions, from Ted and Rose's relationship to Bing's death. Rose never made her own decisions and always gave up when someone else decided something. Because of her hopeless nature, her relationship with Ted falls apart. He doesn't want to make the choices all the time. Also, Rose's indecision led to Bing's death. If she decided earlier to save Bing, he would not have drowned. She was unable to make her the decision. The theme is stated when Rose's mother says, "You must think for yourself, what you must do. If someone tells you, then you are not trying."

Michelle H.

Friday, December 28, 2007 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger margaretie=] said...

Chapter: Half & Half
"Facing Faith and Fate"

Reaction: =(
This chapter is definitely the saddest chapter in the book so far. I think Amy Tan should have given us a break from all the disparity and sadness after The Voice from the Wall. Instead she gave us an even more depressing chapter after a depressing chapter. However, I can't deny this chapter was a good one. Tan starts the chapter with Rose telling her mother about her impending divorce, then flashes back to an incident that somehow is related to her current problem. I like this technique because it not only tells a story, but it also adds depth and meaning to the current problem.

Rose and An-Mei Hsu
Rose and An-Mei have the best relationship with each other out of the other mother-daughter relationships in the book. They are able to communicate better, the mother expects less from her daughter than do the other mothers, they argue less, and seem friendlier toward each other. Nevertheless, they have their own opinions. Superstitious An-Mei strongly believes that nengkhan can help one accomplish anything, even the seemingly impossible. On the contrary, Rose is less ambitious. She believes that fate is uncontrollable, that faith cannot help one in the end, that "[it is] just an illusion that somehow you're in control." (128) While the two have their disagreements and disparate ideas and opinions, they still get along fairly well.

Tan uses a flashback to explain to her readers the reason behind Rose and Ted's divorce. The couple struggles with decision making after Ted loses his malpractice suit as well as his confidence and begins relying on his wife to make decisions. Rose's inability to make decisions, even trivial ones, is rooted in the guilt she feels about her younger brother's death. She is unable to take on any responsibility for fear of blame and regret. The vignette would not have been as complete without the flashback. It not only explained the reason for Rose and Ted's divorce, but also incorporated Rose's mother and her relationship with her daughter.

Saturday, December 29, 2007 4:50:00 PM  
Blogger kristiee said...

“Loss of Faith”-“Half and Half”

1. I thought that this chapter was so sad how Bing disappears. This chapter is about a family’s loss of faith in what they thought always protected them, God. The morning after Bing was lost at sea and Rose and her mom went to find him, her mother tried a multiple or things, and each time I hoped that Bing would be found, just like Rose. Even though it seemed obvious that they weren’t going to find him, I kept hoping that they would, when her mother threw in her sapphire ring, when they saw Bing turn into a strange man, and when they hooked the lifesaver onto the fishing pole. When her mother gave up, it was devastating when Bing didn’t get to return home with them.

2. The relationship between Bing and Rose is the same as an older sister who is protective of her younger brother. When they’re at the beach and Rose has to look at for Bing, she follows behind him, constantly calling at him every couple of minutes. When he sees him walking on the reef she panics, and when he falls into the water, she is completely irrational; she freezes, unsure of what to do. She wanted to save him but she didn’t know what to do and she feels guilty when he’s dead.

3. In this chapter, Amy Tan uses flashbacks to help the reader understand the story behind what is happening now. She uses a flashback to explain why Rose was afraid to tell her mother about her divorce from Ted, and how it’s ironic since her mother didn’t agree with their relationship in the first place. The flashback also explains why Ted and Rose are getting a divorce- because Ted began pushing Rose to make decisions that didn’t matter to her- and how her mother, who once put her family’s life in Gods hands, suddenly loses faith in God. Without the use of this writing technique, the chapter wouldn’t be complete because the reader wouldn’t know the reason behind the divorce, and why Rose’s mother no longer believes in God.

Sunday, December 30, 2007 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger brandi said...

"Lost Faith"
Chapter: Half and Half

1: This chapter was really sad and depressing. Tan writes this chapter nicely, first she tells you about the divorce Rose is going to have with her husband, making you want to read more so that you can find out why they are divorcing. Then, she pulls you back in time to a time where the whole family is going on a beach trip, where Bing falls into the ocean and dies. From the way Tan writes this chapter, the reader can foreshadow that something bad is going to happen to the family. I give this chapter a thumbs up because it pulled me in, making me want to finish this chapter, before putting the book down. I also really admire how much An-mei is going through, in order to try to find Bing. She uses her superstitions to try to find Bing, like when she threw her blue sapphire ring into the ocean, so that the ocean king/god could return Bing back to her.

2: Rose and An-Mei's relationship is one of the best mother-daughter relationship, out of the four families in this book. They havn't yelled or argued with each other, like how Waverly and her mother argued. An-mei offers advice to Rose, like on her marriage, and Rose listens to it, it doesn't mean that she does whatever her mother tells her to do, but at least she shows her mother respect by actually listening to what her mother has to say. An-Mei has a lot of wisdom in her and faith, and Rose looks up to her as a role model.

3: In this chapter, Amy Tan uses many writing techniques, such as foreshadowing and flashbacking. She uses foreshadowing when Bing wants to go to his father and leaves Rose's care. The reader can foreshadow that something bad is going to happen because first Tan writes postitive things as she wries, "I see him standing by the wall, safe, calling to my father, who looks over his shoulder toward Bing" (133). Then Tan goes on to say that Rose is happy to have a break from watching Bing since his father will watch him. Then, things start to turn negative as something pulls onto the father's reel and then the other brothers are erupting into shouts and fighting, and that's when the reader can tell that this happy family picnic, will not stay happy any longer. Tan also uses flashbacking when Rose is talking about her divorce and then all of a sudden, she flashbacks to the scene on the beach.

Sunday, December 30, 2007 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger princess_Joanna said...

Regrets
Chapter: Half and Half

1. Why did Rose Hsu Jordan let Bing drown? She could have just held onto his hand and not have even let him walk away from her or she could have yelled at him to come back or at least notified her mother or her brothers to help bring him back. If she knew beforehand that her marriage wasn’t going well, why did she not divorce him from the beginning? This chapter was a thumbs up because both of Rose’s situations were connected at the end of the chapter.

2. In the quote, “He asked me to decide on the most trivial matters…” (P. 127) the character being described is clearly Ted because he made Rose decide on everything. As Rose is thinking over her marriage with Ted, she says to herself, “…I’m afraid if I tell her that, she’ll still persuade me to try,” (P. 123). The person she is talking about is her mother because her mother wants her to save her marriage with him, no matter what.

3. This chapter connects to the opening allegory because Rose is more American by marrying an American man and by not being so protective over her marriage or Bing. This connects to the allegory when it says that the daughters, who were born in America, acted more American. Her mother also wants to pass on a sense of responsibility to Rose of thinking for herself. This connects to the allegory when it says that the old woman carried a swan feather with all her good intentions, as to pass onto her daughter her heritage.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008 9:49:00 PM  
Blogger tinarifffic said...

"Have Faith No More"
1)In my opinion this chapter was the saddest so far. Yet I would give Tan two thumbs up because although it was sad, it was so well-written and left tremendous impact upon me. I love how Rose connects her tragic childhood memory at the beach to her current situation with Ted, but she does so in a wistful, hopeful attitude not totally bitter. I can also connect to the beach scene because as a family when we all travel to the beach, the parents assign the old kids to look after the younger ones, and sometimes when we're having too much fun, our responsibilities can be neglected and we'll have to pay for the consequences.
2)Rose and An Mei Hsu
Together the pair have a good, communicable relationship, a very healthy relationship. An Mei believes more strongly in nengkhan and that it's possible to control faith my prayers and such. Rose on the other hand believes faith is more uncontrollable, yet the two both live in harmony despite and small disagreements. This is the best mother daughter relationship of the novel so far.
3)I believe Tan's message in this chapter is that fate prevails over all. Nothing you do can reshape you fate. But to deal with bad fate, you need to have your faith which may not be able to undo the bad, but can help pull you through those tough times of trouble.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 1:23:00 PM  
Blogger Xtina Vo said...

The Eraser Called Faith

I liked this chapter because it was very dramatic. It was so sad! I can’t believe Bing died! When Rose Hsu Jordan’s mom, An-Mei Hsu, tried to get Bing back from the ocean by giving the “Coiling Dragon” sweet tea and a precious ring, I hoped Bing would come back too. Though An-Mei Hsu’s faith seemed like some superstitious mumbo jumbo that only can true in fairy tales, I wanted to believe in it too. Sadly, I was disappointed and poor Bing didn’t rise up from the dead. Nonetheless, I still liked this chapter for having such great drama.
The relationship between Rose and An-Mei is a teacher and student relationship. An-Mei tries to teach her daughter about trying to fix problems in her life. Rose’s mother told Rose to save her marriage because this was her fate. Rose learned from her mother that she has to “pay attention to what [she] has lost” and try to undo it. Rose learns this lesson after An-Mei tried to undo Bing’s death. After seeing what her mother taught her by example, Rose learns to try to fix problems.
In this chapter, I learned about Chinese superstitions and beliefs. I learned that some believed in mythical creatures that controlled nature, such as the Coiling Dragon that lived in the sea and Chu Jung, the god of fire. Some Chinese also believe in children’s fate being determined by their birth date. I can conclude that the Chinese believe that there’s a greater force that controls their fate.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 3:27:00 PM  
Blogger lydia said...

Half and Half
"Lost Brother"

I thought that this chapter was the saddest chapter so far because Rose Hsu Jordan lost her brother, Bing, who was only four years old. I thought that her mother's "nengkan" was really touching because she searched for Bing nonstop. An-mei, Rose's mother, even gave up her blue sapphire ring to the ocean hoping that it "would make the Coiling Dragon forgetful of Bing." I thought that this scene was very touching because it showed how a mother loves her child.

The main conflict in this chapter is between An-Mei and herself. At first, An-Mei sees herself as a woman who is very "nengkan." She had faith in everything that she did. But after Bing was lost at sea, and after hours of hopeless searching, An-Mei cannot comprehend the fact that she had no more "nengkan," Bing was never coming back. An-Mei's conflict with herself shows how a strong woman can be broken down with the tide of a wave.

I loved the way Amy Tan used the flashback of the incident with Bing because, in a way, it related to her current issue -her divorce. By using a flashback, readers can parallel events that happened to Rose in her past and her present. It was a really nice technique to incorporate into the chapter.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger Toad said...

"Decisions, decisions, decisions"

Easily the best chapter I’ve read so far. While there is some confusing wisdom stuff, there is much less than the others and has much more actions. I thought it was kind of obvious that Bing was going to fall though, yet Rose still just let that happen. The second part of this chapter brings in Rose’s divorce. I thought itas kind of unrealistic that a couple married for 17 years didn’t understand each other and that eventually led to a divorce. I could easily relate to how the parents on both sides didn’t really want a son/daughter-in-law of a different ethnicity.

The relationship between An-mei and Ted is at first a rejecting mother-in-law towards her son-in-law. She “was chagrined,” or disturbed, by the bare fact that Rose and Ted were starting to date. She even warns Rose one night that “he is American, a waigoren.” Yet when Rose and Ted’s marriage is in danger, she pressures Rose into saving the marriage, a marriage that she disapproves of in the first place. As Rose had put it, “it’s ironic that my mother wants me to fight the divorce.” Has she learned to accept Ted to be her son-in-law?

The allegory for this chapter is about one of the Twenty-six Malignant Gates: A child who disobeys her mother and falls from her bike. Similarly, despite An-mei’s opposition, Rose goes on to marry Ted. In the end, just as the child falls from her bike, Rose’s marriage becomes hopeless and she had to divorce. From Bing’s point of view, he did not follow Rose’s instructions carefully and therefore falls into the ocean and died. He disobeyed Rose, and was punished.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger BowDownToKevin said...

Left Behind
Chapter Half and Half

1. WOW, they lost their brother, that’s incredible but at the same time extremely sad. I felt so bad for the mother and Rose when they went back to the beach for days to search for Bing. I felt even worse when she tried methods that I knew wouldn’t work. Tan conveyed the mood of the vignette perfectly, and all in all, I enjoyed this chapter despite its depressing mood.

2. Ted and Rose’s relationship was directly built upon who would be more mature and make the decisions. It was a good relationship when one was willing to take up the responsibility, but when neither wanted to make decisions, the relationship fell apart. I don’t think it was very smart for them to get married in the first place if this was what their relationship was going to turn out as.

3. I liked Tan’s use of flashback in this vignette. She moved from present time to the past seamlessly by using the divorce as a medium to conjure up thoughts of the past. I thought it was expertly done, as expected of Tan, and it only caused me to enjoy the chapter more, although it was sad.

Thursday, January 03, 2008 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Jana said...

“Faith Sounds like Fate”
“Half and Half”

1.Reaction- This chapter was really sad, from Rose Hsu Jordan being left by her husband, to the flashback of losing her youngest brother. I feel for Rose, if I were to tell my mother that I was getting divorced, I'd be scared out of my mind. I think it's really sad that An-mei puts a Bible under table leg because in Christian faith, the Bible is a sacred, holy book that should not be so-called, abused or mistreated, but in the end, An-mei doesn't care because the readers are told that her mother lost her faith in God. I cannot even imagine what it is like to lose a sibling at the age of fourteen; it just sounds like pure torture, especially when you can be at fault for the death. I thought it was kind of weird that An-mei stayed surprisingly calm throughout the situation with Bing.

2.The relationship between Rose and Ted changed drastically throughout the seventeen years of being together. They started off being completely in love, they continued dating even without the approval of their parents. Eventually, the two got married, and Ted was very dominant in the marriage because of Rose's indecisiveness. It didn't seem like Ted had any problem with making all the decisions, that is until Ted wasn't so sure of himself anymore. Rose's inability to decide what she wanted tore the couple apart, which eventually led to Ted leaving her and wanting a divorce.

3.In this chapter, I think the main conflict is internal, human vs. self. This conflict is between An-mei and her faith in God. Throughout the flashback of the incident at the beach, Rose always referred back to An-mei and her faith in God to find Bing. In the beginning of the chapter, Rose said that An-mei had lost all faith in God, and later on we find out why. Because she put so much faith in trying to find Bing and never finding him, An-mei is let down by her faith and completely pushes it aside, eventually having no faith in God at all.

Friday, January 04, 2008 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger diana l said...

Beach Trouble

1. It was unusual that this story was first about Rose’s adult life and her relationship with Ted. The other stories weren’t like this one. Ted’s mother rude to judge Rose so quickly. I thought it was amazing that Rose had a family of nine. I don’t know anyone who can say that have seven children. Maybe it is because seven is a lucky number and the amount has a certain meaning. The description of how the family got to the beach and what they did was pretty boring. It was funny how all of the children have normal American names and the youngest is called Bing. It wasn’t really Rose’s fault that Bing died. There was a lot going on and she had too much to handle. However, she should have said something when she saw how close he was to the water edges. The story reminds you to always be careful with your children. I think grief made Rose’s mother want to sacrifice her ring to get her son back, but in reality it wasn’t possible. I would give this chapter thumbs up. It was a good chapter with a lot of meaning.
2. Rose’s brothers Matthew, Mark and Luke didn’t get along well with Bing. The age difference was probably the main fault for the problem. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Bing were twelve, ten, nine, and four. The older boys probably thought since they were older they knew more and the youngest didn’t know anything so he would mess up. The older boys were wrong and mean. At the beach they were building a sand castle and didn’t let Bing help because he was too little. Bing left to wander off alone which caused him to drown. This could have been prevented if the brothers all got along better.
3. I found how this chapter related to the opening allegory. Rose was like the mother figure in the allegory. She had to take care of her brothers at the beach. When Bing walked off by himself Rose warned him to stay out of the water because she waned to protect him. He didn’t listen to her like the daughter in the story and continued to walk close to the water. Bing ends up falling into the water drowning like how the daughter in the allegory falls and hurts herself.

Friday, January 04, 2008 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger OhPuhleezeLouise said...

Perish a la Playa
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates: Half and Half

This was a long chapter, with two vignettes it seemed. How did the story of Rose's marriage failing connect with the story of her brother being lost at sea? Let's do some “out loud” thinking. They have something to do with fate, and faith, since they are both mentioned in each story through Rose's mother's faith in God, but you already knew that you English 2A student. I think it's about faith turning into fate because Rose's mother loses her faith when Bing is lost and Rose realizes at that same time that “maybe it was fate all along, that faith was just an illusion that somehow you're in control,” but really you have no control over your fate. However, on the last page of the chapter, it says “when you lose something you love, faith takes over” and you have to “undo the expectation” which is related to fate. I don't know how “fate is shaped half by expectation” by the way. Is it because the higher your expectations the more your determination and in turn the higher you excel? But then why would you have to undo the expectation and just have faith in leaving it up to something greater? Faith didn't work in the story so why at the end does it say to get rid of fate and take up faith? Oh ok, I'm thinking something: “You have to pay attention to what you lost”; Rose's mother still payed attention to the bible after she lost her faith, but she lowered her expectations of God. Rose's mother had faith that she could keep the terrible dangers in the book away if she took them all into consideration and her expectations of God made her less attentive to preventing them herself. So her high expectations in faith and her low attentiveness (“fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention”) gave way to Bing's fate of falling in the water.
Wow, I just reread that first paragraph and I am so confused. I am sorry you had to read that. I didn't understand anything I wrote. I'm thrown off by words such as fate and faith and undo. I don't feel so smart. So, with all the confusion and the length being long and the two separate stories without knowing how they connect, I didn't like this chapter. But don't get me wrong, there was some good description during the beginning of the beach scene, so it wasn't a total loss. (Most of the quotes were taken from the last page of the chapter if you were wondering.)

Rose and Ted's relationship is said to be like “yin and yang,” but I think it's more built on the thrill of disobedience and difference. They did each have what the other lacked, but in a marriage there has to be some compatibility. After talking with Ted's mom, the only reason Rose stayed with Ted was because he told her to. I think she needed some excitement in her life because she isn't daring and willing to do what she wants. Ted was sort of an excuse for her to do things. I guess Ted stayed in the relationship because he enjoyed having someone who looked to him for everything. He wanted someone to depend on him to make him feel important and needed. Whereas he would always get his way by demanding it before, but no one ever really had to ask him.

The main conflict revolves around Bing being lost at sea. This would be an external conflict because Bing is physically gone and his family is searching for him without any sign of him. But I think the conflict resides with Rose's mother's lost faith. This internal conflict is Rose's mother trying to use her faith in God to rescue Bing, and with every attempt she loses faith. It is internal because she wants to believe faith will save Bing but soon realizes it is actually fate that declares him forever gone and fate and faith are things one can only feel. She wants to think she will find Bing by believing in God and superstitions but starts to think that she cannot change what has happened and has to give up. In the end her persistence wears away and she turns away from God.

Friday, January 04, 2008 7:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mindyn40 said...

Half and Half
Keep a close eye.

1) Mrs. Jordan’s telling Rose about Ted’s future concerning his studies, education, and racial preferences made me laugh, because it is usually the Asian family that is concerned with its daughter’s future, not the American family about its son. On the other note, his chapter was surprisingly sad. When Bing was on the rocks, I never expected that he would fall in so easily; I really had expected Rose to stop him, or at least jump in after him, but she didn’t. It was strange how Bing did not even come up to the surface after falling in; it was like the water was a portal to another world! Overall, this story was valuable to read, because it is the only story so far that has touched on the loss of a sibling (excluding the miscarriage in “The Voice from the Wall”).
2) The relationship between Rose and Bing is typical in any family. It is made up of a hasty, careless younger brother and a responsible, overprotective older sister. Because of his age, Bing is also very gullible, because he believes Rose when she tells him, “Don’t dig so hard. You’ll bust a hole in the wall and fall all the way to China.”
3) Amy Tan is able to give the reader hints on what is going to happen in this chapter. On page 128, when she begins the flashback to the day at the beach, she says, “It was the day my mother lost her faith in God,” the reader expects that something life-changing will occur. Rose also mentions that her mother “had a superstition…that children were predisposed to certain dangers on certain days, all depending on their Chinese birthdate,” which indicates something will happen to one of the children. When Bing “inched his way along the reef,” Rose says “I still see him, so clearly that [she] almost [feels] that [she] can make him stay there forever,” which means that the incident will have something to do with Bing being on the rocks.

Saturday, January 05, 2008 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Allison Chan said...

Past and Marriage on the Rocks
Half and Half

1)Although this chapter was sad, I enjoyed reading it. It was nice to read about a romance, but sad to see it fall apart. Rose Hsu Jordan seemed so in love with Ted Jordan at first, but then she began seeing the ugly side of him. The family outing to the beach seemed happy, with all the children playing in the sand and running up and down the path. It shocked me to have such a happy moment turn into pandemonium. If Rose knew her little brother Bing was going to fall, why didn't she save him? An-Mei Hsu was so determined to find Bing, and it was heartbreaking to know that she'll never find him. It was good that the family didn't place the blame all on one person, they all say it was somehow their faults or actions that resulted in Bing's death.

2)Rose Hsu and Ted Jordan
These two characters are an example of a burned out relationship. Like a lighted candle, the first months of love were great, and they hung on to each other. But as time progressed their love became dull or burned out, noticing all their differences and flaws.

3)This chapter relates to the opening allgory, becausethe book is again mentioned in the chapter. Like one of the bad thing's in the Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, Bing falls over the rocks and into the sea. The same thing happens in the opening allegory where the girl fell after her mother had warned her she would because of the book.

Saturday, January 05, 2008 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger himali said...

“Making Decisions”
Half and Half

1. I liked this chapter because the conflicts and flashbacks made me want to keep reading. Amy Tan is really good at changing topics; in this chapter, she took her readers from An-mei sweeping to Ted and Rose’s love life, and then to a flashback and back to An-mei and the bible. This chapter was realistic. I could imagine a family at a beach, a mother telling off her son’s girlfriend, and a husband and wife fighting over decisions. Another good aspect about this chapter was the way Tan wove in the Chinese culture. She put some of it in when An-mei was praying to the Gods to give her her son back.

2. Ted and Rose’s relationship changed throughout the course of this chapter. The two causally dated and then, after their mothers resented the relationship, they started loving each other. Soon after, they moved in together and got married. But after Ted lost faith in making decisions, their relationship started to fall apart. Rose felt as though she was being pressured and Ted felt Rose wasn’t doing enough. At one part, Ted got mad and asked Rose what she would’ve done without him. Because of all the arguments, their relationship failed and the pair wanted a divorce.

3. The message of this chapter is that although your faith cannot change reality, it can help. An-mei’s culture couldn’t have saved Bing from drowning. But, it helped An-mei though the tragedy. Her culture and beliefs gave her hope that Bing is still alive. But, her culture couldn’t bring Bing back. We saw this when she prayed to the Gods and gave them presents but Bing still didn’t come back. Faith also helps An-Mei because she wrote Bing’s name in the Bible “lightly, in erasable pencil”

Saturday, January 05, 2008 5:05:00 PM  
Blogger YAYit'sdavidg said...

'' The depths of Nengkan ''

1. I liked this chapter because of the drama and sadness that Tan brings to the reader. I applaude how Tan foreshadows a tragic event while the family is having fun at the beach. At first, I didn't quite understand what was happening with Bing and the cliff. After reading the chapter, I was surprised that of all the family members, the youngest was the one to die. This chapter really made me cherish the people who I have around me and that I should never take their existence for granted. Tan is constantly pounding all these gothic chapters as we read. Regardless of all the tragedy in this chapter, I give it two thumbs up.

2. The relationship between An - Mei and Rose is by far the best mother - daugher relationship in this story. They both have understanding and great communication between each other. Though they have a greater relationship than the other mothers and daughters in the story, I agree with most of you in that they have their differences. An - Mei's faith in having the '' abillity to do anything [she] put [her] mind to '' (p.128) is very contradictory to Rose's belief in fate. Their strong bond as mother and daughter gave me some relief that not all the mother - daugher relationships were pathetic.

3. '' Half and Half '' connets to the opening allegory in the idea of fate and faith. In the opening allegory, the mother's faith in '' The Twenty - Six Malignant Gates '' can relate to An - Mei's faith in nengkan. The little girl's fate in that she would fall if she rode her bike around that corner is an example of Rose's ideas of fate, where the little girl had no control in what would happen. Tan uses faith and fate to relate this chapter to the opening allegory.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 4:30:00 PM  
Blogger Derek Lau said...

Bing Beat the Bible

1) Overall, I felt that this chapter was saddening, but extremely well written. I liked how the flashback at the beach was so nice and peaceful...then BAM! Bing falls into the ocean, no one sees him, he's a goner. I thought it was wonderfully written and not monotonous and the same old happy family time. I would give this chapter a two thumbs up.

2) I think that the relationship between Ted and Rose would be almost fake. I think that by pretending to be Ted's maiden in distress, she was treating her marriage as a game. Then when Ted tries to stop being playing the "saviour" game, Rose keeps trying to do it which ends up in their divorce. I felt that Rose was treating marriage and love seriously.

3) I think that there is an internal conflict inside of An-mei. After Bing's death, An-Mei sort of lost faith in religion after she failed to find Bing after he fell into the Ocean. I feel as if An-Mei just lost her devotion to religion. She in a way fell after the blow and wasn't able to recover from it.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 4:34:00 PM  
Blogger christopher_tam said...

Coffee Anyone?
Half and Half
1. I thought this chapter was saddest chapter so far. It was sad when Bing goes to see his father but ends up drowning. I don’t think it was Rose’s fault that he drowned because she was helping her other brothers but she should have said something when he went into the water. Bing drowning was easy to foreshadow because it had that calm moment like in Kindred followed by something devastating. I also thought it was sad when An-Mei keeps trying different things to find Bing but never does.
2. The relationship between Rose and Ted has changed from their time together. They started off as lovers who disobeyed their parents to get married but now are getting divorced. Rose was always indecisive and let Ted make all the decisions but after seventeen years he wants Rose to decide on things. He wanted her to make decisions because he doesn’t want to take all the blame for his actions but Rose is unable to decide on things. This led to their failed relationship and divorce.
3. I think Tan’s message is faith can never change fate. Bing’s fate was to drown and An-Mei tries using her faith to bring him back. She recites prayers and offers the sea her tea and precious ring but it doesn’t help. Even though faith helped her by giving her hope that he was still alive she never finds him. An-Mei dives up her faith with, “that leatherette Bible wound up wedged under a too-short table leg.”

Sunday, January 06, 2008 8:16:00 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

Fix This- “Half and Half”

1) I thought this chapter was extremely sad but very appealing. I thought it was interesting how the chapter started with Rose’s marriage and then changes to a flashback of her family’s day at the beach and how her mother stopped believing in god. I think it was sad when Ted’s mom told Rose how people might think of people of her race. I thought this was very rude and not necessary. It made me want her to marry Ted, just to spite their parents. I was so sad when Bing fell into the water and they searched for him. I was angry with the mother for not watching the children and making Rose care for them. She should have at least been watching a little bit but she did not notice anything. I feel sorry for Rose who will have to bear the burden of knowing it is her fault that her little brother died, even though it is more of her mother’s.

2) I think that Ted and Rose’s relationship is very peculiar. In the beginning of their relationship Ted is very controlling of Rose and she does not get a say in much of anything. I think this might be because of the incident with her brother when she was little. Maybe she doesn’t trust her decisions much anymore? Well, in any case Ted decides everything for her and this makes her life very simple and kind of boring. It is only when Ted gets sued does he begin to make her decide more things and she does not know how to react and what to do. Rose gets confused and is very indecisive. Ted all of a sudden does not like this new behavior and wants a divorce. I think they really did not know each other that well in the first place.

3) Amy Tan uses many different writing techniques to improve “Half and Half.” She starts off with a little opening statement that describes her mother’s faith in the bible but does not say why she has this little faith or how she lost her total faith. She then tells us about her divorce and how her mother will want her to fight it, but insists that she can’t fight it. There is a flashback to when she was first seeing her husband and it leads up to their divorce. The story then goes even further back to a day at the beach with her little brother. Amy Tan uses foreshadow with the line, “I still see him, so clearly that I almost feel I can make him stay there forever.” This line tells us that something is going to go wrong or something will happen to Bing. It made me think that Bing was going to fall into the water and die, which is exactly what happens.

Sunday, January 06, 2008 8:43:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

A non-average day at the Beach.

1) I think that this was a really depressing chapter because of how Bing was lost. The beginning starts off with Rose and her husband who are having problems with their relationship. I think that their relationship was sad because it was because of getting sued for malpractice. If that had never happened, then Ted may have been still making all of the decisions for Rose. Then the story changes to when Rose was still a child and their family went to the beach. I think it is sad how the two older sisters are able to run off and be free while Rose is left to take care of all three brothers at the same time. I was surprised that they did not blame Rose for the disappearance of Bing, but almost everyone blamed themselves. It was sad how hard they looked and at the sacrifice they made yet they still did not get Bing back.

2) I think that the relationship between Ted and Rose is terrible after they started fighting. Rose is too indecisive and Ted does not want to make decisions because of a bad one he made on a patient which caused him to get sued. "No, because you can never make up your mind about anything" (page 127), this shows that Ted is starting to become annoyed because Rose is not helping their family and he is scared to make another big mistake. Their relationship is really bad because the main supporter of the family suddenly took a turn and is turning on the other member and is trying to get them to lead.

3) Allegory.
This Chapter relates a lot to the opening allegory because of the twenty-six malignant gates. They mentioned it as a book that told of all the bad things that could happen to someone in the allegory as well as in the chapter. In the story, Bing dissapears when he falls into the water, which was one of the twenty-six malignant gates so it relates to the allegory because one of them actually happened in the story. They both show that something bad happens a character in the chapter.

-Aaron Ly

Monday, January 07, 2008 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger daisy! said...

Bing )=

1. I was so sad when Bing drowned! This is by far, the saddest chapter. But I was very glad when An-Mei Hsu did not blame her daughter for her son's death. A typical mother would've probably been so so angry after assigning her daughter to watch over her son, and then resulting in his death. I was like yelling, "Rose! Rose! Why didn't you go save Bing?!" I thought that was kind of foolish, but she was probably so shocked. But then again, I felt sorry for her because her sisters got to go play and so did her brothers, but she was stuck with the job of taking care of her brother. But i think Tan did an excellent job of capturing An-Mei's belief in Chinese customs and such. When returning back to the beach, she prayed to the gods to help her find her son. Many Chinese people turn to the gods or their ancestors for help. It was also non-surprising whe An-Mei threw the bamboo pole into the sea, she expected her son to come back to her, alive and safe. But I think deep down, she knew that he wasn't going to. And of course, when Bing's body was found, that was only stating the obvious, that An-Mei couldn't save her son. This was so sad.

2. I think that An-Mei and Rose have the strongest bond in the family. I wondered why An-Mei only told Rose to go with her to the beach the day after Bing drowned. I thought that proved that they had a relationship that was stronger than with the other family members. Also, their relationship could've also been the reason why An-Mei didn't blame her daughter for not watching Bing very carefully.

3. Tan uses excellent word choice and similes in this chapter to greater expose the true characters to the readers. "Her hair, her clothes, they were all heavy with the cold water, but she stood quietly, calm and regal as a mermaid queen who had just arrived out of the sea." In this example from the story, Tan uses words that really define the kind of scene she is trying to describe. Her "mermaid queen" comparison also is very imaginable because they do seem like queens of the ocean with the way they are described in stories; their elegant swimming ways and how when they are finally seen, everyone is in awe.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 5:17:00 PM  
Blogger Benji said...

“Watch out for that high tide”
Half and Half

1/ Although this chapter was sad, I thought that this chapter was really well written. Not only is Rose going to get divorced but there is flashback of the youngest member in the Hsu family disappearing into the sea. I especially liked how Amy Tan wrote the flashback in this chapter. She made the death of Bing so sudden yet gave many hints that it would happen. I also felt really bad for An-Mei in this vignette. It is sad to see a women so determined and sure she would find her son just to fail and lose faith in the Bible and God at the end.

2/ Ted and Rose’s relationship is based on correcting each others faults. Their relationship works at first because Ted is able to make up with Rose’s inability to make decisions. When Ted loses the confidence to make decisions, it throws the relationship off balance. Ted can no longer correct Rose’s fault of being indecisive and thus, they break apart from each other.

3/ I think the message of the chapter is that even though one might think that a situation is hopeless, one must keep on trying. This is shown in the chapter by the death of Bing. Even though An-Mei has already lost already tried and loss hope in ever finding her son again, it is shown in the end that Bing’s name is written in the Bible in erasable pencil. The use of the Bible shows that despite God not helping her during her search Bing, she still tries to hold faith in him. Also, the fact that Bing’s name is written in erasable pencil shows that she tries have faith that one day, Bing will turn up again and have his named erased. The message also is what An-Mei tells Rose when Rose tells her of the divorce.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 8:05:00 PM  
Blogger kristalikesyou said...

"Barter with this, God!"
(Half and Half)

1) Reaction: I didn't really care for this chapter. I thought Rose's mother was irrational, even for a Chinese woman (considering the other crazy things these mothers have done...). I also found Ted's mother to be a self righteous you-know-what. I was even more disappointed in how the reverse psychology that seemed to tug on Rose's heartstrings. She wasn't interested in being Ted's girlfriend until he told her to go against his mother's wishes. She acted a fool. Bing's part in the story is related to An-mei's "fate" (faith).

2) Relationship: An-mei seems overbearing half way through the chapter; she doesn't answer questions and ignores or draws attention away from inquiries. When Bing died, Rose thought her mother would scold her but An-Mei was fighteningly calm and collected; she thought the events could be reversed. Rose admired her mother for this, while she lacked faith in fate, her mother thought she could prevent all bad things that would befall her children.

3) I think the message of this chapter is that superstitions dont work. Because An-mei thought she could prevent and reverse all tragedies that could and/or ever would plague her family she threw away some of her most valuable pocessions along with her faith. People can fight their fate with faith, (which may or may not work) or they can embrace their fate.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger kristalikesyou said...

"Barter with this, God!"
(Half and Half)

1) Reaction: I didn't really care for this chapter. I thought Rose's mother was irrational, even for a Chinese woman (considering the other crazy things these mothers have done...). I also found Ted's mother to be a self righteous you-know-what. I was even more disappointed in how the reverse psychology that seemed to tug on Rose's heartstrings. She wasn't interested in being Ted's girlfriend until he told her to go against his mother's wishes. She acted a fool. Bing's part in the story is related to An-mei's "fate" (faith).

2) Relationship: An-mei seems overbearing half way through the chapter; she doesn't answer questions and ignores or draws attention away from inquiries. When Bing died, Rose thought her mother would scold her but An-Mei was fighteningly calm and collected; she thought the events could be reversed. Rose admired her mother for this, while she lacked faith in fate, her mother thought she could prevent all bad things that would befall her children.

3) I think the message of this chapter is that superstitions dont work. Because An-mei thought she could prevent and reverse all tragedies that could and/or ever would plague her family she threw away some of her most valuable pocessions along with her faith. People can fight their fate with faith, (which may or may not work) or they can embrace their fate.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger kristalikesyou said...

"Barter with this, God!"
(Half and Half)

1) Reaction: I didn't really care for this chapter. I thought Rose's mother was irrational, even for a Chinese woman (considering the other crazy things these mothers have done...). I also found Ted's mother to be a self righteous you-know-what. I was even more disappointed in how the reverse psychology that seemed to tug on Rose's heartstrings. She wasn't interested in being Ted's girlfriend until he told her to go against his mother's wishes. She acted a fool. Bing's part in the story is related to An-mei's "fate" (faith).

2) Relationship: An-mei seems overbearing half way through the chapter; she doesn't answer questions and ignores or draws attention away from inquiries. When Bing died, Rose thought her mother would scold her but An-Mei was fighteningly calm and collected; she thought the events could be reversed. Rose admired her mother for this, while she lacked faith in fate, her mother thought she could prevent all bad things that would befall her children.

3) I think the message of this chapter is that superstitions dont work. Because An-mei thought she could prevent and reverse all tragedies that could and/or ever would plague her family she threw away some of her most valuable pocessions along with her faith. People can fight their fate with faith, (which may or may not work) or they can embrace their fate.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger ronak=) said...

“Everlasting Faith”
Half and Half

1.I have to say this is one of my favorite chapters so far in this novel. The combination of Bing’s death, Rose’s divorce, and An-Mei’s faith really pulled me into the novel and made me want to continue reading to find out what happens next. This is probably the only chapter that had done that so far. I really loved how her mother had everlasting faith that her Bing would be brought back to her. Unfortunately, she loses her faith when Bing doesn’t come back. I didn’t get why Rose didn’t do anything when she saw her brother fall into the sea. Shouldn’t that just come as a natural instinct for her? Anyways, this chapter was really fun to read.

2.Rose Hsu Jordan and Ted start out with a really loving and caring relationship but later on end up with a frustrating one that is not working out. After Ted gets sued and loses in court he becomes more aware of the fact that he makes all the decisions in their relationship because Rose always tells him to They need more open communication and willingness to change to work out their problems.

3.Through this chapter I learned about how Chinese people believe in Chu Jung, the three-eyed god of fire, the Coiling Dragon, and that if one paid back an ancestral debt they could get what they so desperately wanted. They also believe in nengkan, which allows them to do anything they put their minds to.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ramon M. said...

"When the Coiling Dragon gets Angry, Give Him a Tribute":
1) Reactions to "Half and Half":
This chapter was extremely dramatic for me, but in a good way. It is really depressing how she first loses her baby brother, and then her relationship, fifteen years strong, suddenly collapses like a tiny thread. This one chapter I think could be a short story in itself. From the start, the book alludes to Rose not having a very strong relation ship with Ted. First of all, on page 122, that "Ted and me...we're getting divorced." also, other signs that showed this was how Rose had no opinion of how her marriage was to be conducted. It was as if she lost her want to do things after Bing died.
2) Relationships in "Half and Half":
Overall, the most conflicting and obvious back and forth relationship was that of Rose and Ted. First of all, the fact that Ted did not have his family on his side while he was dating Rose caused some strain in the very early crucial points of their relationship. When he said, "And you're just going to sit there! Let my mother decide what's right," he had some doubts about his confidence in Rose's effort. Because Rose did not try in the relationship, it was as if she was forced to start clinging to him. Rose also says how the relationship was "exhilarating, and draining,(Tan 125)" showing an foreshadow of some further strain in the future. Another sign of strain was how Rose was given some new responsibility that she could not handle. For one, if a partner loses their job, it usually falls upon the other two do the major decisions, something she was not ready to handle. Because of her background with her younger brother dying, the incident made her careful of decisions, and her lose of faith in taking risks. These back and forth cases of on support from family, the early signs of weakness in Rose, the sudden demand of Ted for so much, and Rose�s inability to decide caused this couples relationship to be strained and finally broken.
3)Essential Questions in "Half and Half":
A very important Chinese fact that I learned in this chapter was the Chinese belief in tributes to the gods and how they can retaliate. When An-Mei the story of the young bicycle boy who lost his arm. "This mother said she would pay an ancestral debt ten times over. She would use a water treatment to soothe the wrath of Chu Jung, the three-eyed god of fire. And true enough, the next week this boy was riding a bicycle both hands steering a straight course past my astonished eyes!(Tan 137)" First of all this quote is pure superstition, but it does reveal the belief in pleasing the gods, which leads her to the conclusion of soothing the god of the waters, the Coiling Dragon.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 6:25:00 PM  
Blogger isabel said...

Undecided, Half and half
Reaction: This chapter was pretty weird. Her mother stood out there expecting a miracle like her son would pop out of nowhere. If I were rose I would have reacted quicker than what she did. I f I knew my brother was going to fall in I would have screamed for someone to help. The fact that the girl couldn’t make up her mind tells that she does not want to be in charge of her future. The girl relies to much on other people and not enough on herself.
2)The relation with Rose and her mom is confusing. Rose seems to respect her mother but she to is confused on her mothers faith. She doesn’t seem to know why her mother thought her brother was going to come back by praying.
3) This chapter uses the same book from the allegory. Just like the allegory something bad happens.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 5:02:00 PM  
Blogger kerry_lupercio62 said...

Goodbye, Bing
Chapter: Half and Half

1. Reaction
This chapter was very enjoyable to read, but it was very sad. I loved how Tan included two main stories into one chapter. It was very depressing to read about how Rose and Ted were once a loving couple, but now their marriage is falling apart. I felt very tense when reading about the Hsu’s outing at the beach because I just knew that something bad was going to happen! Although Bing’s death was kind of foreshadowed, the story of how Bing just vanished into the depths of the ocean and the emotions of everyone was just so tragic. It was also very interesting how An-Mei used all of her faith in God in order to try to find Bing although there wasn’t success. The story of the Hsu’s day at the beach and how An-Mei uses her faith to help made Rose think about whether her own faith could repair her marriage with Ted. I liked reading this chapter a lot because I was pulled in with all the emotions and I could actually feel for the characters.
2. Rose Hsu Jordan & Ted
The relationship between Rose and Ted changed drastically as they continued their relationship. They attended school with each other when they first met and they were both attracted to each other. When Rose and Ted attended the family picnic, Rose was able to meet Ted’s mother. Ted’ mother who lowly of Rose and told her that she would be judged by others that would work with Ted, but Rose said she had no intention of marrying Ted. After Rose told Ted what his mother had said, Ted did not care because he loved her. Rose fell in love with him too. However, after Rose and Ted married, their relationship began to fall apart. This was because Ted had made all of the decisions while Rose was indecisive because all she could do was follow everyone else. When Ted asked her for her opinion, Rose would tell Ted that she doesn’t care and let him make the decision. Because of this, Ted became fed up because he wanted her to take responsibility of things for once instead of him making all the choices. This resulted in Ted filing for a divorce. Rose and Ted’s relationship was once built upon their love for each other, but later turned into disaster.
3. I learned many superstitions and beliefs of Chinese people by reading this chapter. I learned that some Chinese people including the pharmacist’’s assistant believed in nengkan, which was the “ability to do anything [he or she] puts his mind to” (128). Chinese people believe that nengkan helped them receive the good things in their life. Some Chinese also believed in the superstition that a child’s fate was predetermined according to their birthdate, known to be in the Chinese book called The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates. Chinese also believed in Chu Jung, the god of fire and the Coiling Dragon of the sea who controlled some forces of nature. I didn’t know that Chinese believed in so many superstitions and this chapter really helped me learn more about the Chinese culture.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 6:54:00 PM  
Blogger evelyntang said...

“The Lost Brother”
Chapter: Half and Half

1. This chapter had a lot of mixed feelings and emotions. Losing someone in your life is a really hard thing to go through. Everybody is affected differently, like in Rose’s family, everybody blamed themselves for not doing something or doing something that caused Bing’s death. An-Mei just slowly drew away from the people around her. Rose thinks that her mother has died emotionally. But the well kept bible and the erasable letters of Bing’s name in the bible show the reader that An-Mei just has not accepted fully that Bing is gone.

2. The relationship between Rose and her husband Ted is a very complicated one. Ted wants a divorce because he is tired of making decisions for everything and forces Rose to. When she could not, he snapped and wanted a divorce. Little does he know that there is a reason to why Rose is so indecisive, that she was not always like this. He does not seem to know much about her past. Having gone through the traumatizing event of losing her brother, she blames herself for not keeping a watch on Bing. She became afraid of making decisions, because making decisions are always followed by consequences, good or bad.

3. The conflict in this chapter is internal within Rose. She is eternally changed as a result of the loss of her brother, whom she was supposed to be responsible for watching. She is scared to make decisions, but even more afraid of the consequences turning out to the loss of someone close to her. But because of that disability, Ted wants to have a divorce.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 7:15:00 PM  
Blogger CurlyXPrincess8 said...

“The ‘F’ words”
(“Half and Half”)
1) I was surprised to have such a sad chapter after the chapter we just had. Amy Tan doesn’t give us a relief, she just bring out all the sad things at once. I was very surprised at how much the dead of Bing affected Rose. She didn’t seem that affected by it. Another surprise I got was when the family didn’t blame it on Rose. From everything else we read in the novel, I would have thought that Rose would get all the blame from the family and that she would be exiled or something. It was an unexpected twist. I thought it was really sad when Rose tells her mother about her divorce. Its sad that their marriage broke. It seemed that they loved each other a lot, but it was odd that Ted wanted to marry her when his mom told Rose not to. I can understand what that Ted might have fallen out of love, as well as with Rose. Ted seemed very affected by the accident he had at work.
2) I want to compare Ted’s mother and Rose’s mother. Both these people don’t want the couple to get married. They didn’t like the fact that their children where getting married to a person of a different race. But I believe they had different opinions about why the couple shouldn’t marry. Rose’s mother is used to her other daughters who married Chinese, and I think she expects her daughter to do the same. But Ted’s mother didn’t want the couple to marry because Ted needed a reputation. Even though Ted’s mother seems to have good intentions, it is none of her business to butt in to Ted’s and Rose’s relationship.
3) This chapter has huge amounts of internal conflicts. Ted has a terrible problem with not being able to decide what to do, he relies on Rose for opinions for everything! Rose has the conflict of her mother’s voice in her head. She loves Ted but their divorce was something boiling for sometime. We can see all this with the fights that the two characters engage in. Many of their fights are because neither can make up their minds about various situations.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 7:55:00 PM  
Blogger Diana_Ngo said...

“Nengkan”

1) This chapter was very sad. When I read the part where they saw a figure walk towards them, I believed for a moment that that was Bing…This chapter was very good. I feel really sad for An-Mei, because she really believes that Bing is really alive. She has a lot of faith, but fate interferes. At first it’s hard for An-Mei to accept the fate. I think that is why she continued to search for her son. After awhile she just chooses to accept the fate. I like the way Tan, sets up this chapter. It all starts off like any other day at the beach, but ends in tragically, with the lost of a family member.

2) Rose Hsu Jordan and An-Mei Hsu:
Rose and An-Mei’s relationship is different than the ones before them. I think the Rose is a bit more obedient than the other girls. She watched her younger siblings like she was suppose to and she even went with her mother to search for Bing. An-Mei holds on to the hope that Bing is still out there and alive. She does all these things, but in the end she realizes that her faith can not help her.

3) An-Mei’s internal conflict is she is struggling with her faith and fate. When she tries to search for Bing she uses all of her faith to try and bring him back. But fate is what took him away. She gives up on faith when she uses the bible “to correct the imbalances of life” (122). I don’t that she truly lost her faith in God. At the end of the chapter, An-Mei tells Rose that she must try and save her marriage. Even though at the beginning she didn’t fully accept their marriage, this shows that she still has faith.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 8:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jeeennifer said...

"I Like Whole Milk Better, Thanks"

1) I think this chapter was very sad. What Amy Tan wrote was so convincingly touching that I actually believed and hoped that it was Bing who was coming back on the beach. I felt the disappointment Rose and her mom felt when Bing turned out to be just a stranger. I give this chapter two thumbs up.

2)Rose learns a lot from her mother in their relationship. She learns not to give up and not just let things happen if it could be prevented. Even if Rose knows something will happen and think it inevitable she must try and shape it. Rose sees that An-Mei didn't easily give up finding Bing whereas she thought that her brother was gone forever. She also sees that her mom wrote Bing's death in erasable pencil, a sign that she still hasn't given up faith that he might be back. Rose's mom's faith and effort in doing things made her realize that she had always been letting things happen even if she saw signs and did nothing to prevent them.

3)Amy Tan does a flashback to where Rose just let Bing fall to show how
she let her marriage fall apart with Ted. This makes a point in what Rose is like.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 9:31:00 PM  
Blogger piink&green_lvr14 said...

Gone in a Flash
Chapter: Half and Half

1. This chapter was really hard to read because it was so sad. I really like this chapter because it takes you from one scene another in a very good transition. During the beach incident, it was so terrible how her brother so quickly died and no one could do anything to help. I think that is the reason why everyone in the family feels responsible for Bings death. Also, I really like this chapter because Tan has a way of reconnecting her theme to later passages. Because of her brother’s death, it is impossible for her to make decisions on her own which results in her divorce with Ted which is also pretty sad. This chapter taught me to cherish every moment you have with your family because they could be washed away forever.

2. Out off all the other mother daughter pairs, Rose and An-Mei have the strongest and most stable one. They don’t fight like Waverly and her mom and the surly don’t neglect each other like the St. Clairs. When Bing fell off the cliff, An-Mei didn’t automatically blame Rose for the incident and I thin that shows how trusting she is of her daughter.

3. I think that Tan is trying to show us that things that happen in the past never go away, that you just have to deal with it the best you can and live on. Incidents may change you for the better or for the worse. With a death, I think that the pain never really heals, it;s always there to hover around you like a dark cloud. Some can face while others cannot.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger eelaineelam said...

"Seaweed Bing"
"Half and Half"

1. I give this chapter thumbs up because it is really touching even though Bing died. Throughout the time Rose and her mother were searching for Bing, I really hoped that they would suddenly find Bing instead of "a dark spot of churning seaweed" (137). I liked how the family members didn't blame Rose for not looking after Bing but instead they blamed themselves. I was angered when the patrol did not even find Bing's body and they just left.

2. The relationship that Rose has with her mother An-mei is stronger than An-mei's relationship with her other children. When she wanted to go out to search for Bing, she brought Rose along. An-mei showed how she is strong and has nengkan. She taught Rose what she believed in and that she must give back to the waters for an ancestor that stole water. An-Mei never gave up because of her nengkan which she tries to teach Rose to have nengkan as well.

3. The scene where the Bible was under the table leg, reminded me of my mother's friend who had just lost one of her family members. From that day, she never really went to church. She lost faith in God as well. Another scene was when Rose's entire family was walking along the beach in a single filed line from oldest to youngest. This reminded me of The Sound of Music when all the children were walking on the hills traveling to Switzerland at the end to get away.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger emily. said...

Two Parts of a Whole – “Half and Half”

1. I thought that this chapter was kind of sad. Rose’s mother nearly lost faith in God because her son was taken away by the ocean. Even when they knew that there was no hope in finding her youngest child, Rose’s mother continued to have faith in God and believe that God would bring back her son. It was very depressing because Rose lost a part of her that day, her full belief in religion. This chapter made me realize that no matter what might come along, religion will always prevail and that there is always a reason for something happening. It was devastating to read about when they finally found her son’s boy.

2. Rose and her mother’s relationship when Rose was young was very different from a normal relationship. Her mother would force Rose to be a good older sister and watch her children. However, Rose wanted to go play. Rose was refrained from having fun and had to grow up at a young age. Even though Rose hated it, she did it because she wanted to respect her mother. Both of them knew what the other was thinking.

3. The scene of a boy dying like that can relate to life today because no matter how safe you think you are being, there is always that small possibility that something might go terribly wrong. Even though one thinks that it cannot happen, it is still very possible. Even so, everyone relies on their religion to help guide them through their toughest times. This is just likein the scene of Rose’s little brother getting taken away by the waves.

Friday, January 11, 2008 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger ChrisNg324 said...

Water Dragon
"Half and Half"

1) I thought that this chapter was very very saddening. I feel that I can understand why Rose Hsu Jordan’s mother feels this way. I give this chapter thumbs up for the feelings that it can induce in a person. I also feel that it is kind of messed up how Bing, the only non-Christian named child, dies. It is as if God conspired against poor four year old Bing.

2) Rose and her mother’s relationship are similar to that of your average Chinese family. Despite what Rose wants to do, she obeys her mother’s command to watch over Bing instead of playing with her older sisters. You might often see this in any Asian family. Also, I find that Rose and her mother have very similar personalities too. When Rose was watching Bing, she worried of everything and even noted to herself that she acted an awful lot like her mother.

3) Question 4: I saw a lot of Chinese culture in this chapter, whether it is about the Twenty-Six Malignant gates or about Rose’s mother trying to get Bing back. It showed me that Chinese people use rumors heard from the past or suspicions to try to do a task, for example, An-Mei Hsu tried sweetening the “Water Dragon” in the sea to soften it up and then give it a ring so it would let go of Bing. Of course, this didn’t work, but this is your everyday Chinese suspicion.

Friday, January 11, 2008 4:53:00 PM  
Blogger Catherine Deng said...

Oh, this? I forgot

1. This vignette is ok. I just don’t understand the personalities of these characters. Surely, Rose has to have SOME opinions. I don’t understand how she has no opinion and lets her husband make every decision. I also think that Ted is a jerk, it’s his fault he got sued, he shouldn’t take it out on his wife. I think that Rose is really indecisive. When Bing fell in the water, she could not decide what to do, even though his life depended on it. When her husband asks her opinion, she doesn’t know what to say, even though they are simple questions that can be easily answered.
2. Rose and Ted
Rose and Ted only married because of Ted’s mother. If she had not played the bad guy that tried to rip them apart, they probably would not have married. Rose and Ted imagined the mother was trying to keep them apart and instead clung to each other even tighter. “With imagined tragedy hovering over us, we became inseparable” (125). Rose has no opinion about the things around her and instead lets Ted make the decisions because he is the dominant one in their marriage. Ted becomes angry at her because he makes all the decisions. Ted says, “‘you can’t have it both ways, none of the responsibility, none of the blame” (126). He thinks that if his decision did not work out, he would be to blame and that it wasn’t fair because Rose should take some of the blame too.
3. Opening allegory.
This story relates to the opening allegory because of what Bing does. Rose tells Bing not to get close to the water but he does, and he drowns. If he had listened to his sister, nothing might have happened, but he did and his life paid for it.

Friday, January 11, 2008 5:16:00 PM  
Blogger Xochitl_didn't_eat_the_pie! said...

Title: So, Swallow My Child, and My Faith
(Focusing on “Half and Half”)

1) This chapter was so sad! I knew what was going to happen the minute Rose was put in charge of the children, because what else could happen that would make her mother lose her faith in God? I knew it was either going to be either Bing or the brothers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but I really didn’t want it to be Bing. He was too young; too innocent. I thought a wave might sweep in and drown Luke because he was buried in the sand and probably couldn’t get out if a wave came and swept over him, but when Amy Tan mentioned the reef that Rose’s father was on, I knew immediately what was going to happen. It was really sad, and I still get mad thinking about it; how Rose should have known what could have happened to Bing if he stepped out there. I mean, he was only four! She should have at least known as much as to not let him wander out there by himself! So I was really mad at Rose’s irresponsibleness in this chapter. I really didn’t expect Bing’s name to be BING, though. I mean, what was that about? Their names went Janice, Ruth, Rose, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Bing. Where the heck did that come from? Bing? Couldn’t his name have been something like David or Mat or something? You know, something that actually would have fit in with his siblings’ names? To me, that was just odd, but I guess Amy Tan could have meant something by adding that in. Maybe she just thought that Bing was a cute name, or maybe she was trying to make Bing like a symbol of Chinese culture, since it’s a Chinese name.
2) Rose and Bing’s relationship is kind of neutral; I mean, he’s her younger sibling, one of many, so she might not have any special feelings for him. To me, it just seems that she thinks of him as a burden; she was to watch over him while everyone else gets to have fun.
3) I think that Amy Tan is trying to send the message that if we’re not careful, the innocence that we cherish will be swallowed up and never be returned to us. The whole beach-incident was proof of that, what with Bing drowning in the ocean after he fell. A moment’s disregard, and he was gone, just like that! If we let our guard up, even for a moment, what we love will be lost forever, and we will never be the same. We must always be on the watch for trouble, but not let that stop us from having fun; if we look at our responsibilities as burdens, they will become burdens.

Friday, January 11, 2008 5:39:00 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

"Faith or Fate"
Half and Half
1. I didn’t like this chapter because it made me feel too sad. Not only did Rose’s mom lose her youngest son but she lost faith in her religion, something she should hold onto for hope. It also made me feel mad when Rose didn’t react at all when Bing fell into the ocean. She seemed to stay frozen for a very long time, long enough for him to sink to the bottom of the ocean. I did like the words that Amy Tan used to foreshadow the coming tragedy such as “shallow grave”.
2. It seems that An- Mei finds Rose as the most responsible out of her kids so she entrusts her to be like a second mom. When Bing dies she tries everything from calling out to God, throwing precious things into the water, and even starts hallucinating about Bing being alive. When she loses hope it has a huge effect on Rose steered her into believing that she can never find a way. Leading her to think that since she couldn’t prevent Bing’s death then she cant prevent the failure of her marriage. Her mother doesn’t understand why Rose isn’t going to try to save her marriage, she just thinks that it “is [her] fate”. Rose cant understand why her mother wants to try because to her “there is no hope”. After Bing’s death their view of life became completely different leading them to misunderstand each others decisions.
3. I learned from the Chinese culture yet another mythical story. That there is a Coiling Dragon living in the sea that likes to coil tightly around treasure he finds. Another myth is of a three-eyed god of fire. These myths are fun to tell as children stories to teach morals to them but not to use a reference of what to do in life. I understand that An-Mei was desperately trying to get Bing back but these ways were not very logical at all.

Friday, January 11, 2008 5:56:00 PM  
Blogger emily_chong said...

Half Present – Half Past-“Half and Half”

1. Although this chapter was definitely one of the saddest out of all the other chapters, it was interesting to read how expertly Tan was able to connect Rose’s present with her past. In the past, after Bing fell into the ocean, Rose’s mom didn’t give up hope. She believed in God hoping He would bring Bing back to her and desperately continues searching for Bing but to no avail. Finally giving up, she lost faith in God and “it made [Rose] angry…that everything had failed [them].” Now, Rose is getting ready to be divorced and she does not even have the faith to keep fighting. Her mom is trying to help her, telling her “that [she] should still try.” Rose’s loss of faith in her marriage can be compared to her mom’s loss of faith in God.

2. The relationship between Rose and Bing is a typical older-younger sibling relationship. When they are at the beach, Rose is constantly worried about Bing telling him to not get “too close to the water. You’ll get your feet wet.” However, just like any other four-year-old kid, Bing is easily distracted and heads to the reef to see his dad. Then, quietly, Bing falls into the sea. During this time, Rose is watching Bing fall and she didn’t do anything. Numerous ideas were running through her head but she was unable to execute any of the decisions.

3. In this chapter, Amy Tan makes great use of a flashback. Tan successfully connects the ideas of faith and fate to Rose’s present and her past. From the flashback we are able to learn why An-Mei pushes Rose to save her marriage, that she should not give up faith, no matter how hopeless it seems. We are able to see if Rose can change from who she was in the past. At the beach, Rose did nothing once Bing fell into the sea. However, now, there is a possibility that instead of doing nothing, she might stand up for herself and try to save her marriage.

Friday, January 11, 2008 6:11:00 PM  
Blogger Where_You_At_Grambow? said...

Try, Try Again (Half and Half)

1. I like this chapter because Rose’s mom keeps telling her to keep on trying. I had a feeling something bad was going to happen at the beach, so when Bing died it was sad but predictable. When he died, I was amazed at how the whole family seemed to be blaming themselves, taking the responsibility that Rose was suppose to learn by watching her brothers. I found it interesting how the mom was praying to God and then when Bing didn’t come back she threw her ring into the water to please the Coiling Dragon.
2. Rose and Ted’s relationship is not well built. Ted used to make all of the decisions until he made a curtail error. After that, he blamed Rose for not helping him make decisions and made her make all of the decisions. Rose didn’t know how to make them so their relationship feel apart. From the very beginning, Ted and Rose did not communicate with each other. Rose didn’t know she was Ted’s girlfriend until she met his parents.
3. This chapter and the allegory both talked about the book The Twenty-six Malignant Gates. In both cases, the children cannot read the book, and the mother warns them about the unknown dangers. The child in the allegory simply disobeys her mom and rides her bike, however, in the chapter Bing listened to Rose when she told him to stay close to the wall. The children in both get hurt and the mothers could not stop them from the dangers.

Friday, January 11, 2008 7:55:00 PM  
Blogger hyxue said...

“Fate and Faith”
(chapter: Half and Half)

1. Reaction
I didn’t really understand this chapter. I got really confused near the end when An-Mei and Rose went to search for Bing. What was the pole and the lifesaver about and why did the siblings say they saw Bing when they didn’t? Besides being extremely confused and having to read the chapter over again to grasp an understanding, I found myself very agitated when Bing fell into the sea. Bing’s death could have been avoided if Rose stopped thinking so much and took action, the mom could have been watching Bing instead of pushing the responsibility on a young child.  The list goes on and on

2.Relationship
Rose and her husband have a very frail love relationship. Their relationship wasn’t always frail though. When they were dating, they were head over heels in love with each other but as their love progressed into marriage, things could shaky. As soon as things could tough and a lawsuit came about, Ted an Rose’s marriage tore apart. I guess their love wasn’t as deep as they thought it. I think that Rose and Ted’s relationship is pretty typical in America since divorces are so common in the United States.

3. Message
I think that the message of this chapter is to be careful and pay attention so that you can avoid bad fates. I believe this is the message because Rose says in the end that half of fate is shaped by carelessness. Also, since Bing’s death was largely caused because the family didn’t pay attention, it would be very reasonable for the message to be “pay attention.”`

Friday, January 11, 2008 9:04:00 PM  
Blogger Erick with a CK said...

"Twice and Twice as Many Tears"
(Half and Half)

1) As previously stated by the 48 people above me, obviously, this chapter is very saddening. All the foreshadowing about "The Six Malignant Gates" in the beginning of the chapter and An-Mei's mispronunciation of "faith" all makes sense by the end of the chapter. The scene that most struck me was the day after Bing fell into the sea. An-Mei heads over to the beach once again with Rose in order to bring Bing back. Using all of beliefs, confidence, and faith, God never returned Bing back. Throwing away her wedding ring, a life saver, the result remains the same. As I was reading, my reaction was like "Wow, she's really devoted o_o." Fate is something that cannot be changed.

2) The relationship between Rose and Ted is quite simple. Ted always making all the decisions and occasionally asking questions like "what do you think?" Every time he asks a question like that, Rose would just simply agree and follow whatever decision he makes. Eventually this causes the downfall. Ted begins to find Rose's act of always agreeing annoying and forces her to make decisions. She refuses to choose and Ted immediately wants a divorce. This almost reminds me of myself sometimes, always agreeing with other people. Hope this doesn't have with my future marriage.

3) I think the main conflict in this chapter is Rose vs. herself because of her lack of responsibility during the beach. She was told to watch Bing by An-Mei, but literally, she watched Bing fall into the ocean. Horrifically, she expected it to happen. Asking herself, "why didn't I stop it from happening," "why didn't my body move to save him before it was too late?" It seemed like she was in the state of panic and unable to move nor think. All of this wouldn't have happened if she just acted instead of blankly watching Bing.

Friday, January 11, 2008 9:04:00 PM  
Blogger Christina Tran said...

“Come back, Bing. Come back”
Chapter “Half and Half”

1) My reaction
I thought this chapter was tragic. I was angry at Rose for “not moving, not saying anything” when Bing was drowning (134). It was such a pity that Bing died. One thing that made me annoyed was how An-mei was praying to God so He could give Bing back to her. To free Bing from the Coiling Dragon on page 137, An-mei even “poured out tea sweetened with sugar into [a] teacup and threw [it] out into the sea.” Not only did she throw a cup of tea, but she also tossed “a ring of watery blue sapphire” into the water. She believed in too many superstitions that I got irritated. I gave this chapter a thumbs down because it was too superstitious for me.

2) An-mei and Bing
Their relationship was a loving, caring mother-son relationship. When she realized that Bing wasn’t coming back, she couldn’t face reality. She tried many ways to get Bing back and continued until the very last second. However, her wish did not come true and that’s when she decided to accept the truth. An-mei was devastated over Bing’s death and that’s when she lost her faith in God.

3) Writing techniques
Amy Tan uses several writing techniques such as similes, symbolism, and allusions. She used a simile to describe “Bing walking stiffly like an ousted emperor” (131). The simile compared Bing to an ousted emperor. Bing was angry at his brothers for excluding him and therefore was stomping on the beach. The Bible in this chapter symbolizes An-mei’s faith. On page 121, An-mei “used to carry a small leatherette Bible [however] after [An-mei] lost her faith in God, [the] Bible would up wedged under a too-short table leg.” She lost her faith because of Bing’s death. She felt that God didn’t help her bring Bing back. The symbolism in “Half and Half” summarizes the main point of the chapter. Amy Tan deliberately named the brothers in this chapter Matthew, Mark, and Luke because those names were from the Bible, proving her deeply religious faith for God. On the other hand, the youngest child was named Bing possibly because she already began to lost faith in God. The writing techniques that Amy Tan used in this chapter enhanced the story by adding more imagery and biblical information to the reader.

Friday, January 11, 2008 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger cassiiieee_ said...

“half and half”
1.)This chapter made me very emotional. As teens today might say, I was very emo when I read this chapter. This chapter brought joy, and sorrow within me and it taught me to be careful, and watch over my family. In this chapter we meet Rose Hsu Jordan, a middle child with three younger brothers and two older sisters. While at the beach with her family, they loose the youngest child in the sea, Rose feels like it is her fault, and feels that her family would hate her. To tell you the truth a cried when I read this chapter. I really really liked this chapter. It kept pulling me in, it was very good, and I could not put the book down. However, this chapter also made me think about my family and how I should look over my younger cousins, and be careful, because you never know what’s going to happen.
2.)Two characters I would like to spotlight on are Rose and her mother, An-Mei. They have a mutual mother daughter relationship. Rose is brought up to be a very obedient daughter, and listens to her mother, and does everything her mother tells her to do. Rose is definatley an understanding person. She feels what her mothers feelings. I really love how Rose’s mother is so positive that the gods will give Bing back, however at the same time I felt really disappointed.
3.)#5
The biggest conflict in this chapter is Bing’s death. Every one blames themselves for it, and his mother is the one who still believes he is alive. Rose’s mother is experiencing internal conflict. After finding out that the gods would not give back Bing, after all her offerings she had given, she keeps it inside that she had lost faith. She puts the bible she had once kept next to her heart under a kitchen table. She doesn’t tell anyone she had lost faith, but it surely shows, in the way she acts. Although it seems that Rose’s mother does not care, and has accepted Bing’s death, her mother still believes he is alive, for at the end of the chapter, rose opens the bible and flips through the pages, and there at the chapter of “death” is Bing’s name in ERASABLE pencil. Which means that the mother still has faith that Bing will come back.

Friday, January 11, 2008 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger  said...

Got Faith?

1. This chapter was pretty sad, but it also made me fell frustrated. In the begining of the chapter, the reader gets a forboding feeling and is proven correct when Bing falls into the ocean. This part also made me annoyed because the mother was trying to blame Rose for losing Bing when the mother should have been watching her four year old son! Even though her mother told rose to watch him she should always keep an eye on her children. I really liked the story that she told about her mother and losing her faith, but still having it in the back of her mind. The part where Tan adds in that An-mei still keeps her bible,but its hidden under a table leg. Another description i thought was good to add was that the bible stays clean and white. This tells the reader that although An-mei's faith was not as strong as it was before the death of her son, she still respects the faith.
2.The biggest conflict that I see in this chapter is An-mei and her faith. At the start of the chapter she is extremely religious and believes that if you keep faith anything can happen. By the end of the chapter, after her son Bing dies, she is hurt by her faith because it did not help her when she was in need the most. Even though she doesnt really acknoledge the leatherette bible to other people in her family, by how well she takes care of it, the reader can tell that she still believes.
3. I really liked how this chapter directly relates to the opening allegory. In the allegory, there is a mother and a daughter arguing and the mother tells her not to do something. the daughter doesnt listen and falls down. Rose doesnt listen to her mother, An-mei, and her little brother Bing dies.

Friday, January 11, 2008 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I think that this chapter is the most tragic of all the ones that I have read so far, because of Bing’s death. The general theme of the loss of faith is also very touching, and adds some realism to this chapter. I liked the part at the end where the mother, even though Bing had disappeared for years and years, still kept the small Bible close to her, and had so much faith in nengkan that she wrote Bing’s death there in erasable pencil.

The major relationship in this chapter is between Rose and her mother. It seems, to me, that it actually extends far beyond that of what we would consider a normal mother-daughter relationship. On the day that Rose’s mother goes out to the beach to try and bring back Bing, the only family member who she brings with her is Rose. Furthermore, Rose seems to be very convinced of the nengkan, even more than her father.

I learned everything I know about the concept of nengkan from this chapter. Even though I grew up with very traditional Chinese grandparents (who actually moved to Vietnam), I had never heard about this before. However, this could explain why my grandfather is so determined to get what he believes in that the rest of us consider him rather obtuse.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger xxxlilaznboiandrewxxx said...

“The Double Fs”
“Half & Half”

Reaction:
I thought this chapter was fairly normal. There was nothing too exciting or interesting. This chapter did contain some racism though. It was sad to see that Rose broke up with her boyfriend Ted because of his mom. They made it through the hardships though and got married but eventually, it went downhill. When Bing died I was so pissed. He had the coolest name and he died because Rose just had to look away. She was the cause of his death. I was mad.

Rose and Mrs. Hsu:
This mother and daughter couple are very similar but also very different. They both suffer loses that have to do with faith or maybe even fate. When the mom loses faith in the bible, it’s similar to Rose losing faith in Ted. They’re different in that the mother doesn’t give up where as Rose is the opposite. Mrs. Hsu still has faith and still believes that her son isn’t dead so she writes in the bible with pencil so that it can erase. Rose gave up on her marriage after it went south, never trying to bring it back up.

3] This chapter very much relates to the opening allegory. The opening allegory talks about how a child fell off a bridge with feet in the air. Bing falls of the cliff in this chapter also, with feet in the air. This talks about disobedience and bad things occur when you disobey.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Vinky said...

Inaudible Expectations – “Half and Half”

Truly, this chapter is one of the most heartfelt chapters so far in the book. I felt the pain that An-Mei felt before, loosing a family member in an accident involving the ocean. I never really understood the concept of a mother’s love of her child until this chapter. The scene where An-Mei desperately tries to offer her everything to God just to get her son back, was really emotional. Of course, I knew Bing was not going to come back but An-Mei still had hope and persevered. I loved the Hsu family’s energy and the idea of nengkan. It really showed me how even in the darkest times, you can still preserve and hope for best.

Rose’s relationship with Ted was pretty bland. To me, it seemed more like a feeling of master-servant. Their relationship lacked love and tenderness a husband and wife relationship usually have. I noticed how great a guy Ted was but gradually their relationship died as Ted became more demanding and taking credit for Rose’s accomplishments. Rose was attracted to Ted because of his differences from Chinese boys; however that was also the reason they had so much problems. Both of their parents’ feelings towards their relationship gave Rose a hard time too. The little problem Rose had before of being indecisive led her marriage to tear apart when both of them could not decide or agree on anything.

The repetition of the idea of nengkan appeared to me as the theme. Rose marriage fell apart because she did not have enough strength, perseverance and endurance. She knew her marriage was beginning to fall apart just like she knew her brother, Bing, was going to fall into the sea waters yet she did not do anything. One half of life is what is expected but the other half is from ignorance.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Whose fault is it?
Half and Half

1)This was the best chapter so far because it was touching and very sad. Bing was lost and nobody knows if he is still alive or dead. Rose had to take care of her brother but when he was lost, no one blamed her because they all blamed themselves. But I was mad when Rose thought of what was going to happen, but didn’t even try to go stop it. That really surprised me and I sort of blame Rose for Bing’s life. Now, the family is missing one member and things will never be the same.

2)Rose mother is like giving the “mother” responsibility to Rose and telling her to go watch after her brothers and especially Bing while she goes off somewhere doing her thing. But it is like Rose’s mother cares more about her sons than her and that makes Rose feel bad. Everyone is having fun while Rose has to watch after Bing and follow his every step.

3)It had interesting cultural information about religions and traditions some people follow. It was interesting how Rose’s mother went to the beach the next day with her bible and tea and her sapphire ring. She talked to god and her also sacrificed her family ring because she thought she had to trade with the gods to make it fair. She also poured sweet tea inside the ocean because she thinks the oceans needs to be sweeter. Rose’s mother thought that by doing all this will help her find Bing. But he didn’t not show up.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Minh the Master said...

½ = 2/4
“Half and Half”

1. Right off the bat, it’s pretty easy to see that the Bible is going to be an important part of the story. However, that’s to be found out later as Rose quickly tells us about her meeting Ted. I think it’s pretty great how they get together, but Mrs. Jordan’s reaction to their relationship was angering to see because it doesn’t seem like she really means it when she says it’s nice tat Rose and Ted are dating. Their marriage doesn’t seem well formed though, as it appears that the only reason they even stayed together was only for the sake of rebellion. Their relationship begins to fall apart as Ted gets angry at her passive attitude to everything, as if she doesn’t even care. The next part of the story is really tragic when it talks about how, just on a casual fishing trip, Bing gets lost at sea, and through every attempt of his family he doesn’t show up. Even though they had tried so hard, nothing was successful, not praying to God, not distracting the sea, and not throwing a line to him. Even though the divorce and the loss of Bing are very far apart, she recalls it because even though she tried very hard to find Bing, he never came back. Just like that, she knows that no matter what, the marriage cannot be saved. I don’t really understand the fate/faith part of the story, besides the part when they call out to God, asking for Bing back
2. The relationship between Ted and Rose seems very impractical because of the way she describes her being “rescued” by Ted all the time, and how it’s draining for the both of them. It’s not a practical relationship, as it doesn’t seem like they even consider their future very much when they’re dating. The breaking down of their marriage seems predictable because after the thrill of resisting their parents, it doesn’t seem like there’s much else to their marriage.
3. I think the theme of this chapter is on fate, and what you can do to help decide it. Rose didn’t do anything to save Bing, and she lost him, just as she’s losing her marriage because she’s not doing anything. I think the point is to show that if you don’t do anything to affect your fate, it will just turn out bad.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger ayellowpirate said...

the extra name
“Half and Half”
1. This chapter was a lot more enjoyable than the previous chapter. The only problem I had with this story is that it was a bit depressing. When Bing was lost, Rose and her mother An-Mei looked desperately and so faithful, yet Bing didn’t come back. It hurts to know that the faith these people believed in so strongly failed them. Other than that, the story was quite enjoyable. It was very confusing, yet amusing have Ted and Rose could divorce so easily after a stupid reason, just because Rose couldn’t make up her mind. I also found it cool have An-Mei and her husband had such NengKan, how they were so determined to succeed and so focused accomplishing their mission.
2. Bing and Rose Hsu have a normal, but strange relationship. Although they are brother and sister, Bing listens to what Rose says and actually does what he’s told. Normally, a child his age would argue and do whatever he wanted, but Rose told him to walk close to the wall and he did. In away, Rose is Bing’s other guardian, besides their parents. She looked after him and, just like a mother would do, scolded him when he was doing something slight dangerous. Rose may despise watching over her brother, but she loves them enormously.
3. The scenes from this chapter relates to other events and life today such as religion. People today, well a large per cent of them, pray and hope for the best. Still, most of the time, their pray don’t succeed and yet they still believe. Like with An-Mei, she put her entire faith on the line. She knew she would be rewarded by the Lord since she and her family had done only good. However, Ping never showed up. Yet, religious people still believe in this, thinking as long as they do good, only good could happen. Yet time and time again, it fails them and they still believe. An-Mei was an exception; she lost her faith.

Friday, January 11, 2008 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Dead Brother, Dead Marriage
“Half and Half”
1. When I first read the title, I thought that Rose was only half-Chinese but after reading I guess it meant that Rose did things half-heartedly. I thought that this chapter was a bit depressing. It revealed the death of Rose Hsu Jordan’s younger brother and the death of her marriage and connected both deaths together. I also thought that it was gloomy how Rose’s mother put so much confidence to finding her son, only to be let down and going so far as to lose faith in her religion. I don’t really get the Bible wedged under the table. Because it’s still white, does that mean her mother cleans it? I also want to know whether she still believes in it or just looks at it to see Bing’s name written in it.
2. The relationship between Rose and her soon to be ex-husband, Ted, was dependent. Rose put too much dependency on her husband and Ted could not depend on her at all. Rose could not make any decisions and only followed what she was told. Therefore, when he wanted to get a divorce, she didn’t do anything about it as if she wanted it to happen.
3. Amy Tan uses flashbacks in this vignette to show what Rose was like when she was young and allows the reader to compare her then and now. It’s effective because it shows that Rose watched her brother drown and now watches her marriage drowning. It shows how little Rose has changed.
4. The last page in the vignette states that “when you lose something you love, faith takes over.” It continues to say that “you have to pay attention to what you lost” and “undo the expectations.” I think what Rose says here is the life-lesson of this story. She also reveals it the day her brother disappeared. Although Bing was expected to be indisputably dead, Rose’s mother did not give up and tried to undo the expectation of his death. Even though it was a hopeless struggle, at least she did something.

Monday, December 22, 2008 7:35:00 PM  
Blogger RHEEAK. said...

Rikki Dionisio, Period 6
“Gemini’s are bad with decisions!”
The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates: “Half and Half”
1. This chapter was incredibly sad. At first I thought this would be a change of pace and be a little bit lighter and cheerful, unlike most of the book so far, but it wasn’t. Tan took a sudden turn that most likely threw everyone for a loop. I thought that Bing was going to be some source of knowledge without even knowing it, but he really wasn’t. This is also a very relatable chapter because Rose, as most older siblings, had to watch over the young child reluctantly but at the same time with the utmost protection.
2. Rose Hsu and Ted had a very typical rebellious relationship that I often see in the movies. Both their parents oppose their relationship which fuels their desire to be together even more because the most important women in their lives are completely against the relationship. In addition to that, Ted sort of comes off as the hunky type of guy who is always their to rescue his lady but when he takes a massive blow to the ego he reverts inside himself leaving all the responsibility to his woman, who for much of their relationship, did not have to lift a finger.
3. The flashbacks were very affective in this chapter because Rose “watched” her brother drown and is down witnessing many other important aspects of her life drowning as well, including her marriage and her mother’s once being a devout religion woman. Because the praying did not work An-mei finally just gave up on the idea that God would somehow give her closure for the fact that her son drowned. Also, because Rose really did not get much closure either (because she believed she could have prevented Bing’s death), she is “drowning” in her sorrows and sadness because she has bottled up emotions that she’s repressing in addition to her failed marriage and brittle relationship with her mother.
4. What is the main conflict in the chapter? Is it internal or external, human vs. self, vs. society, vs. nature, vs. human and how do you know?

I believe the main conflict in this chapter is between Rose and herself (internal). The chapter focuses on eventful hurtles she has and is facing in her life and her lack of coping skills. Because she hasn’t dealt with and doesn’t know how to deal with the problems she has repressed and are facing she is never going to be able to grow as a human and will “slowly fall into the water without leaving a ripple.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger JessieT said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 7:21:00 PM  
Blogger JessieT said...

1. “Expectation and Inattention”
2. “Half and Half”
3. Although this chapter was very enjoyable, it was also extremely sad. In the beginning of the chapter, I wondered why An-mei Hsu was being such a hypocrite. She wedged a Bible under a table leg and “pretended that the Bible [wasn’t] there” but years later, “that Bible [was] still clean white” (122). I found the little section about Rose’s forbidden relationship with Ted quite interesting. It was funny when Rose told Ted’s mother that she wasn’t Vietnamese. I can sympathize with her because that happens to me sometimes too, and I hate it. Because of that statement, I was rooting for Rose to defy Mrs. Jordan’s wishes and marry Ted. When Rose said she belonged to a family of nine, I began to pity An-mei because she had to be pregnant for such a long time. When Bing began to go over to his dad, I totally knew he was going to fall into the ocean because Tan foreshadowed it by mentioning the book, The Twenty-six Malignant Gates. It was really depressing afterward because everyone in the family began blaming themselves for Bing’s death.

4. Rose Hsu and her little brother Bing had a typical brother-sister relationship. Although Rose cared for Bing, she had to stay back and watch everyone else in her family have fun because of her duty to keep him away from danger. Bing respected Rose’s decisions and tried to do what he was told, even though he was still very young.

5. One writing technique Tan used in this chapter was foreshadowing. Rose describes The Twenty-six Malignant Gates, and how certain tragedies befall children who are born on a specific date. She describes a picture of a little boy falling off of a bridge. Not too long afterwards, Bing tells her that he wants to go to go climb the reef to see their father. Almost like the picture in the book, Bing soon falls off the reef and into the ocean.

6. One of the themes in this particular vignette is that a person does not know what he or she has until it is too late. Rose found his little brother as an annoyance because she had to watch over him while the others got to go play on the beach. It is only when he falls into the ocean, never to be found again, that Rose is suddenly hit with a wave of grief. She terribly missed her brother and regretted taking her eyes off of him.

Sunday, December 28, 2008 7:22:00 PM  
Blogger Diana Nguyen said...

Deeper Water
“Half and Half”
1.When I first read this chapter, I was immediately overwhelmed with sadness and felt really depressed when I learned that Rose's brother, Bing was never to be found in the dark, frigid waters. After reading the previous chapters that were quite depressing I didn't expect this chapter to be also morbid and somber too. I have deep sympathy and a kind of remorse for Rose because of the loss of her brother and the impending divorce with her white husband. Bing's death left a hole in both Rose and her mother's hearts and also created a rift between them. Rose mentions the expression on her mother's face when Bing was lost; “My mother had a look on her face that I'll never forget. It was one of complete despair and horror, for losing Bing, for being so foolish as to think she could use fate to change fate” (130). It was also very sad to see Rose lose her faith because she thought that she was in some ways responsible for the death of her brother and also her marriage.
2.Rose Hsu and Ted's relationship can be only be defined as unsustainable and not independent. Rose describes being rescued by Ted numerous times before and that sort of shows that she wasn't a very strong and reliant person. She depended on her husband for too much stuff and that was probably the main reason why their marriage fell apart. I kinda felt sorry for Ted though because he didn't deserve to be treated that way since he was the one who contributed and put in more effort to the whole marriage in some ways.
3.I think that the flashback scenes with Rose when she was younger and while she was watching her little brother, Bing at the beach served as an excellent way of comparing and contrasting how Rose has changed throughout the years. We get a glimpse of what kind of person she was at the time when Bing was lost in the waters to her as an adult now, going through a terrible divorce with her husband. That scene showed me that she hasn't changed very much and is still the same person as in the past.
4.The main conflict in this chapter would have to be human vs. self and I believe that there's this internal struggle within Rose. The battles that she wages against herself, which is believing and having faith that she can accomplish something by herself, is a thought that's too terrifying for her and she lacks the necessity to face them head-on. She continues to have this same outlook on her life and can't conform to be what she could be, which is someone who's courageous and knows how to make their own decisions. Because Rose chose not to have faith and become a different person than her younger self, she is led down a different, more difficult path in her life.

Monday, December 29, 2008 3:08:00 PM  
Blogger dappled said...

Eileen Ly from 7th period

Forgotten Faith

“Half and Half”

I am mad at Ted. He is a complete moron. He was the one making all the decisions in the first place and just because he gets sued for making one wrong decision with a surgery, he gets all mad at his wife. WHAT A JERK. Although, I guess it’s kind of Rose’s fault too. The only reason they got married was because of some rebellious streak that bloomed into sappy love, like in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. If Romeo and Juliet had really gotten together, how would the marriage turn out? With Romeo always heading out for damsels in distress, Juliet would probably have been forgotten. I mean it was only a night they were together and they decided to get married just because of that? Rose starts to realize that she let it all run haywire and whatnot, but by then, it’s already too late. Her marriage is screwed. The big question is: will she save it? And that’s the part I’m completely annoyed about. Rose should stand up against Ted and make him sober up for god’s sake. He’s an m-a-n, not some spoilt brat. There’s no use crying over spilled strawberry milk. Rose should be told off, too. She’s been living her life sheltered from the decisions of the world, always letting her husband deal with all of the choices that life hands to people. She should be more dependent, as a young woman. Try to change things by yourself. Don’t let other’s do it for you, do it yourself. With my reaction, I think their marriage needs Dr. Phil. I also feel a bit sorry for Rose. In her flashback about Bing, her mother tried so hard with her nengkan, to save and find her son. She was so sure, that he was still alive, but in the end, faith let her down. All Rose got from that was why even bother trying? Fate was unchangeable, like the currents of the ocean. The only way you could survive would be by staying in your boat, and letting life run its course. However, I think that Rose should realize, she could’ve saved Bing. So why didn’t she call out? She could’ve changed fate; she had the chance. Instead of being so mad at the world for failing her, Rose should come to appreciate what it can do for her, as long as she is willing to step up and grab it by the horns.
The relationship between Rose and Ted is best described as strained. Ted wants decisions from Rose but Rose can’t find herself to make them. Due to her flashback of Bing, Rose just chooses to live her life in fate’s hands. It seems like she’s lost all faith. Even when Tim calls her for a divorce, Rose seems unfazed, only a little saddened that “even if [she] had known what [she] was going to do with [her] life, it would have knocked the wind out of me” (127-128). Ted, on the other hand, his “feelings about what he called ‘decision and responsibility’ changed” (126). IT also seems that Rose is afraid of making mistakes. I can sympathize with her on that part. Being so indecisive about simple things is possible. I mean, I’ve done it. Should I get chocolate or vanilla…vanilla or chocolate….or maybe mint chocolate? What if I get tired in the end with vanilla? No, I should get chocolate…nah; I’ll go with whatever you have. However, putting my miniature ice cream dialogue away, Rose needs to make these decisions that she’s been putting off for someone else; they hold more consequences for her than just some regular ice cream flavor.
I noticed that Tan used a huge flashback to help the reader comply their own thoughts about Rose’s character. So in a way I guess she used the flashback to add in more indirect characterization about Rose and her mother. Like how Jessie said, Tan also uses foreshadowing of Bing’s unfortunate death with the 26 Malignant Gates.
The theme is to take control of life; don’t let it control you. In her flashback, Rose recounts how she could have shouted to save Bing. But then why is she mad at the world? Or is she really mad at herself? Because of her memories and fatal occurrence with what she believed was faith, Rose allowed herself to fall behind in line. She even thinks to herself that even if life put her in a situation, what happened had happened. She let herself be swallowed by her own guilt and allowed it to turn into self-contradiction and anger-hopelessness even.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 1:57:00 PM  
Blogger Hi. Orange without Seeds. said...

Jane Wong
Period 6

1. Faith and Fate
2. Half and Half
3. This chapter was rather depressing. I believe it was called Half and Half because it completely consists of how "fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention " (140). I thought that this chapter took the reader through a somewhat long journey through a short vignette. It mentioned about how Rose Hsu married a man that was American named Ted Jordan. I think a lot of adults can relate to their kind of relationship today because a lot of times, diverse marriages happen and then some kind of chaos happens. Personally, I guess I don't have anything against diverse marriages, but I do see that there will be some sort of problems happening sooner or later such as communication and actions. In this case, Rose Hsu is a Chinese-American who married an American man. They both loved each other a lot in the beginning. Then it got to the point where communication became a problem. "Italian food or Thai. One appetizer or two" (127). These are all indecisive decisions that Rose Hsu could not decide on. I felt bad for her when he said, "No, becuase you can never make up your mind about anything" (127) when she asked if he wanted her to go with her on the trip or not. Later in the chapter, it goes back to the point where it mentions how Rose Hsu and her family lose a member of their family; Bing Hsu, a four-year old boy who just had to go in the water by himself when he was told not to. I thought it was completely selfish of how her brothers just sat in the car reading comic books while everyone else was out searching for their own brother. It did make me question their moralities. Did they not have any senses left in them? It's their own brother lost out there in the water.
4. The character relationship would be between Rose Hsu and her husband Ted Jordan. Their relationship would be described as indecisive. Maybe they were sure that they loved each other in the beginning, but a lot of people's relationships start off like that. I'm not sure if I should judge them by making such a quick decision to marrying right away after seeing each other for only a few months, but overall, I still think that it wasn't such a bright idea to do so afterall because of all the complications. Also, I guess it wasn't entirely just the loving each other part, but more of the stress in people. It said that Ted was stressed out that he lost one of his jobs. It is understandable that people may become angry or feel pressured by a lot of things that don't satisfy themselves anymore. Many times, people take it out on others to make themselves feel better. In this case, Ted didn't really say things to make him feel better. He probably did feel annoyed that Rose was never able to give him a complete answer anymore. Part of a good marriage consists of good communication.
5. In this chapter, Amy Tan brought back a flashback. She started out the vignette with how she and her husband met and then married later on. Then she stated how she wanted a divorce, but her mother told her to not do so. Later, it goes more indept to how she first went to the beach with her family and then lost her four-year old brother Bing when her mother told her to watch all of the boys. She did pay close attention, but he went in the water anyway without her consent. I thought this flashback was quite meaningful because it really showed how she kind of let her brother go in the water from afar. This related to her own marriage that eventually turned into a divorce because Rose knew that she kind of let it fall down into pieces.
6. a. I think the theme of this chapter is to just have faith in your own fate. At first, Rose said, "When something that violent hits you, you can't help but lose your balance and fall. And after you pick yourself up, you realize you can't trust anybody to save you-- not your husband, not your mother, not God. So what can you do to stop yourself from tilting and falling all over again?" (128). She questioned herself in the beginning because she knew that her mother had always just brushed by her mother's bible, but secretly did still care for it. Later when she described how her mother used the bible and God to pray that they could find Bing, the story eventually showed the reader how not even God could help them find Bing. After, when Rose brought up her divorce with Ted again, she said, "What's the point? There's no hope. There's no reason to keep trying" (139). Her mother replied by saying, "Because you must. This is not hope .Not Reason. This is your fate. This is your life, what you must do" (139). I thought this came off quite strong because sometimes you just need to have faith in your own life and it will eventually take you to your own fate. Faith and fate are two separate things. Faith is what you believe in and fate is where it will take you in life. It's like a half and half decision. It just all depends on how one reads it later on.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger Kimmy T said...

Kimmy Tran
Period 6

1. Down Under
2, Half and Half

3. I thought that this chapter was really sad. When Bing disappeared, I was hoping that he would suddenly show up somewhere and that Rose would learn a huge lesson from it. When An-mei was pleading and praying to God to save Bing, I felt very sorry for her. When I figured out that Bing had definitely died, I was really mad at how Rose just watched Bing drown and just stayed there. She should have yelled when she saw him going closer to the water or when he did disappear, she should’ve had told her parents a second after, rather than just standing there until someone else notices.
I liked An-mei’s still thriving faith to God. By still believing in God, An-mei shows that she has moved on with the accident. Although her faith to God is not as open, she still believes in him no matter what. I was surprised when no one got angry got Rose. If that happened to me, my parents would probably shun me from the house.
I thought that Rose’s story about Ted was very boring. I didn’t like reading about it. I didn’t understand why Rose let him make all the decisions and why Ted got mad at her when she refused to decide for herself. I felt that Ted and Rose were close only because of everybody else’s disapproval of them so I could understand why they could divorce so easily. I thought it was very stupid of them about how they couldn’t make decisions for themselves and wanted someone else to do it for them. Even if they are married, they have to make their own decisions. It’s part of growing up.

4. Rose and Ted are very dependent on each other. Either one or the other would make the decisions. Rose often liked being “rescued” by Ted and depended on him to make the decisions. But after the lawsuit, Ted “started pushing [Rose] about everything” (127). None of them can make decisions on their own. They always depended on each other. It is shown when Ted starts asking Rose about everything, and how Rose couldn’t decide.

5. Amy Tan uses flashbacks to show us more about the experiences Rose went through. She used a flashback to show Rose’s relationship with her soon to be ex-husband, Ted and more importantly, she used a flashback to show how Bing, Rose’s brother, died. It helped the reader understand the story more and helped us see more about the motives behind the characters’ actions and thoughts.

6. (a. What is the theme or life lesson in this chapter and which line or scene reveals this?)
The theme of this story is that you have to control your future, not fate. I think that Amy Tan is trying to say that fate is when you let things happen in your life and don’t pay attention to them afterwards. You have to pay attention to the things that happen, take the reins and guide your life. This is stated at the very last page of the chapter when Rose says “fate is shaped half by expectation and half by inattention. But somehow, when you lose something you love, faith takes over. You have to pay attention to what you lost. You have to undo the expectation” (140).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 6:19:00 PM  
Blogger Linda Nguyen said...

“Fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention.”
Half and Half

I think the vignettes are getting grimmer and grimmer…there’s so much death everywhere but I suppose that’s what makes it real. I noticed that this chapter addresses lots of human mistakes, faith, and fate. First of all, I think it’s so impetuous and foolish for Rose to marry Ted not because he’s American but that he basically coerced her into being his girlfriend and she started liking him just because he was different than the Chinese men she usually sees. And then the fact that they started living together after a year is ridiculous! I thought it was sort of funny when Ted mom, Mrs. Jordon, thought that Rose was Vietnamese. I realized that the Americans saw the Vietnam War in a different light then Vietnamese. However, both their families strongly discouraged their relationship, which even blew more wind to their flickering flame. Like Romeo and Juliet, “with imagined tragedy hovering over,” they were only addicted to “the emotional effect of saving and being saved” (125). Rose compared their relationship to yin and yang but I don’t think it’s wise for a person who’s always saving and protecting to be with another who’s weaker. I had an inkling that their relationship was doomed before it even started; they married for the wrong reasons. I think the way Rose “lost her balance and fell” after the divorce was like the way her dead brother, Bing, lost his balance and got swept away to sea. The part was very depressing to read, although when I read, I, like Rose, somehow knew how it was going to end. Maybe because I was expecting it, but I didn’t hope for it. This is how I felt some sort of connection to Rose. Many times I come about experiences or occurrences that I predict the outcome, either positive or negative. I imagine what might happen, even if it’s something morbid. I think it connects to fate and faith, both to which Rose’s mom believed in until the day she “lost her faith in God” and “found that things of unquestioned certainty could never be trusted again,” the day she lots Bing (128). When Rose told us that she “[thinks] that fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention,” I believe she meant that if we expect something to happen and if we don’t heed the signs and warnings, then it will happen. Rose saw the ending of the marriage at the beginning and the signs, but she let happen what she expected. She took her watchful eye off of Bing, and expected him to fall in the water, which he did. I was actually quite angry and disappointed at Rose for not rescuing Bing quicker. In fact, it was like she just stood there, frozen in time. Maybe she was too shocked that it actually happened. I just hate it when I read about a young child dieing. Even though there’s lots of grief and suffering here, I like how Amy Tan makes her readers really think deep after each vignette.

Rose’s relationship with Ted is like Puppet and Puppet Master or like a boss and an employee. Ted’s always making the decisions for Rose, like she doesn’t have any opinions or mind of her own. He would decide “where [they] went on vacation,” “what new furniture [they] should buy,” and that they “should wait until [they] moved into a better neighborhood before having children” (126). Rose was passive and “preferred to ignore the world around [her], obsessing only over what was in front of [her]” (126). It takes two to make a marriage work and when life started to take a wrong turn for Ted, he relied on her to make all the decisions. One day, I think he realized that she wasn’t in the relationship fully to begin with, that it was unbalanced, and called for a divorce.

Flashbacks were used in this chapter, showing how Rose met Ted and the their tragic “star-crossed” relationship, how she witnessed Bing’s death at their family picnic at the beach, and how her mother still sees the Bible wedged under their table. I think Amy Tan used the flashbacks skillfully without ever confusing the reader. It clearly explains how Rose’s mom lost her faith in God and the flaws in Rose’s relationship with Ted and why it ended the way it did.

The life lesson presented here, I think, is that “we have to pay attention to what [we] lost” and “undo the expectation” (140). In other words, we can’t ignore the terrible misfortunes, and we can’t allow ourselves to accept that they had to happen because it was expected, because it was fate. In the end of the chapter, Rose sees that in the Bible, in the section “Deaths,” her mom wrote “lightly, in eraserable pencil,” Bing Hsu (140). I think that half of her mom still believes in the Bible and God, but the other half believes that Bing might not be dead. It means that fate does not control our destiny; we are in control of it. If we expect our fate to be something horrible, then it’ll turn out that way. We should still have faith and be more aware of our concealed control of our own destiny.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger spiderlaurie said...

Nengkan
Half and Half

1. I think that this must be one of the saddest chapters in the book. Still though, I thought it was kind of funny how the parents thought that they could do anything they set their minds to. I guess I was just reminded of my own mom, and how she always thinks she can replicate anything she eats in a restaurant. Also, I can identify with how Rose just watched her little brother Bing drown in the ocean. She realized what was happening, but it didn’t didn’t click in her brain until it was too late. The same thing happened to me, but on a much smaller scale. One time I spilled coke on the carpet in my cousin’s house. I just watched my foot knock into the can and I watched the can spill coke onto the white carpet. I watched for about five seconds before I realized I should pick up the can and clean the mess up.
2. I think the relationship between Rose and her husband is shallow. When they were dating the main reason they were attracted to each other was because they felt like they were forbidden by their society to love each other. In a way they were just playing a game. “With imagined tragedy hanging over [them], [they] became inseparable” (125). After they were married and life became harder for them they woke up from their dream and realized that they were “like two people standing apart on separate mountain peaks” (127).
3. I think Amy Tan uses symbolism in this chapter. The Bible wedged underneath the table leg is the hope that the mom depends on in the story. After Bing dies she is almost sure that God will return her son to her if she tries hard enough even though the situation has no hope. And now that her daughter’s marriage is falling apart, the mom tells her daughter to try to fix her marriage because there is till hope no matter how small. In both these situations it seems as though there is no hope, but hope is always there. Just like hope, the Bible is always there. Even though no one pays attention to it, it is still there, being dusted off and kept by the mom.
4. I think the main lesson in this chapter is that no matter how bleak and hopeless the situation is, we should always keep trying to make it better. Just like how even though the mom knew Bing was dead, she still went back to the beach in hopes of finding him. Likewise, even though Rose’s marriage was falling apart, her mom wanted her to go back and try to fix things and not give up. Rose said that fate is “half shaped by expectation” (140). If we expect the situation to never get better, then it will turn out that way. But, if we are always trying to make things better, then maybe one day a miracle will happen.
-Laurie Jeng

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Maria.uHHH. said...

“I’d like to order some sweet tea and a sapphire ring”
CH. Half and Half

3. This chapter was so heart wrenchingly sad. The loss of Bing surprised me, but the fact that Rose’s mother kept on searching with high hopes made the biggest impact on me. Even though I knew all along that something bad would happen when I read they were going to “Devil’s Slide”, but I did not expect it to be the death of Rose’s baby brother. Even then, I assumed that the family would just mourn and give Bing a proper funeral; instead, An-mei took Rose out the very next morning to make sacrifices to the Coiling Dragon. She “poured out tea sweetened with sugar into the teacup, and threw this into the sea. And then she opened her fist. In her palm was a ring of watery blue sapphire, a gift from her mother…” (138). Her fruitless attempts of finding Bing reminded me of a mother animal who just lost her baby. She stays by their side for many days until she finally accepts the fact that the baby is dead.

4. The relationship that Rose and Ted had could be described as naive and superficial. In the beginning when they met each other, they fell in love, but “clung to each other with a rather silly desperation” (125). They were young and thought that they could live on as long as they had each other. However, little did they know the hardships and quarrels they would come across in a marriage. After getting married, they started to see the bad sides of each other and instead of talking it out, they argued which then led to a early divorce.

5. In this chapter, Amy Tan uses flashbacks to compare and connect each of Rose’s experiences. The first part is the story of how Rose and Ted met and became married, and about how their marriage is now doomed. The second part flashed all the way back to when Rose’s brother got swept into the ocean and died. These two scenes are very cleverly related and the transition does not confuse the reader unlike the chapter “The Voice from the Wall”.

6. a. What is the theme or life lesson in this chapter and which line or scene reveals this?
I think the life lesson in this chapter is “If you think you can do it, never give up trying”. Amy Tan constantly uses the Chinese word nengkan, which means your “ability to do anything [you] put [your] mind to” (128). Even though An-mei knew that Bing had probably drowned and died, she still clung onto the idea that there was a slight chance her youngest son was still alive. Overcoming her fear of driving, she maneuvered the twisting roads and even sacrificed a precious ring that her deceased mother gave her. This shows how we should never give up because if we do, we will lose all the chance we ever had.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger Joanna Trinh said...

You're the missing piece to my puzzle, the black to my white, the yang to my yin....
and with you, my heart's always been.
“Half and Half”

1. I think it's pretty obvious that Rose's mother, An-mei, still has faith and hope in God because a scene tells us this: when Rose was watching her “mother sweep under the same kitchen table, something she does every night after dinner. She gently pokes her broom around the table leg propped up by the Bible”(122).
Rose's attraction to Ted reminds me of the yellow fever. She said she liked him because of “the things that made him different from my brothers and the Chinese boys I dated...”(123). My math class in Mathenrichment had a discussion about it in the summer. My teacher came to a conclusion that the reason why there's “a hand ful of Asian guys are wondering what happened to all the girls” is because white guys are just more chill (Mrs.Li's words, she teaches or used to teach at Leland). Their parents aren't always so strict (like Asian parents are) so they turn out to be fun (not that some Asian guys are not fun) and laid-back. Plus, we also thought it was because white guys are more athletic. Actually, we (mostly the teacher) came up with many reasons for yellow fever and there were many opinions.
I think it's stupid how the Chinese mothers believed in The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates. I wonder why it has to be that way, why “some terrible danger that awaited young innocent children”(131). I believe that danger would be called LIFE? What is possibly the worst that could happen?
I thought it wasn't very bright of An-mei to toss her beautiful ring into the ocean, believing that that would bring back her dead son, Bing. Every living thing has to die, and when they die, they don't come back to life. Well, they can nowadays because we are in the “Clone Age.” I guess you can bring him back to life—he just won't be the same.

2. I think Ted's relationship with Rose is really one-sided. It's like there is only one participating in the relationship because Rose never makes the decisions. She needs to get a brain. Rose said so herself that “Ted simply decided. And I never thought of objecting. I preferred to ignore the world around me, obsessing only over what was in front of me: my T-square, my X-acto knife, my blue pencil”(126). That's such a waste of life. Ted was right to want a divorce. Who wants a wife who never gives an opinion? That would be a really boring relationship, no ups or downs, just completely apathetic.

3. I noticed that Amy Tan used a really great simile in this chapter. After Ted asked Rose what she would have done if he hadn't married her, Amy Tan wrote, “This was such a big leap in logic, between what I said and what he said, that I thought we were like two people standing apart on separate mountain peaks, recklessly leaning forward to throw stones at one another, unaware of the dangerous chasm that separated us”(127). That was a good simile. It shows how distant Ted and Rose are to each other. Similes can spark up writings when they are used wisely.

4. I think the life lesson in this chapter is that if you can, you should try to change your fate (if it's bad). You have to learn from your mistakes. Rose should have never took her eyes off Bing and left her spot when her mom told her to. What was the worst that could happen to her two other brothers fighting? They wouldn't have died. But Bing did. She saw, and she didn't scream or anything. She also saw the signs of her marriage falling apart but didn't try to change it. This theme is revealed by the ending of the chapter, where Rose sees what her mom wrote in the Bible. “...there's a section called 'Deaths,' and that's where she wrote 'Bing Hsu' lightly, in ERASABLE PENCIL”(140).

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 8:10:00 PM  
Blogger tatztastic said...

Brian Tat
Period 7

Control Over Fate

Half and Half

On page 123, I thought that Rose should’ve tried saving her marriage, instead of thinking it was hopeless. It was great to hear that the mother encouraged her to fight the divorce, however, I disliked Rose’s thought on the matter. To me, reading about Rose’s marriage with Ted made me feel that she is merely the puppet in the relationship. It made me believe that Rose didn’t care about decisions and responsibility for she just allows Ted to do so. It was like she couldn’t make up her mind about anything, even if it was important. Ted, to me, shouldn’t have asked for a divorce so swiftly and rashly. I believe he should’ve worked out his problems with Rose. Amy Tan creates a peaceful atmosphere at the beach and then includes Rose’s description about the Chinese book The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates. I liked how she suddenly transitioned this peaceful atmosphere, and turned it into a chaotic situation, in which it is caused by a simple family conflict. I wonder why Rose just stood there, as she watched her brother Bing fall into the water and disappear. Learning that Bing has disappeared in the ocean, I felt it was heart-breaking for the four year old to suddenly drop into the ocean and lost. I still don’t understand, however, the meaning of Bing’s name written in the bible in lightly, in erased pencil. I know there is some symbolism to it, but what does it mean or stand for?

Rose and Ted’s relationship seemed robotic for most of their marriage. It felt like Ted was the one making all of the choices for Rose and himself yet Rose shows no defiance for being easily controlled or manipulated. It is described that over the years of their marriage, Ted decided where they went on vacation or the furniture that they should buy. Rose had allowed anything that happened in life and accepted it as fate.

Amy Tan uses flashbacks in the story to explain the relationship of Ted and Rose, and it helps the character understand how they are getting a divorce. She, however, also includes another flashback to explain the disappearance of Bing and the story of her mother’s nengkan. It makes the story more interesting, by including explanations of what motivated characters and clarified what happened to the characters. Tan also incorporates symbolism, and it makes the chapter a lot more mysterious and exciting. It is written in the section Deaths of the Bible the name “Bing Hsu” in erasable pencil. The pencil is erasable, and can also symbolize the fate of Bing Hsu, in which it could’ve been erased. The symbolism helps the audience recognize and think more about the author’s choice of words and connections.

In this vignette, I believe the theme is that “Rather than accepting what happens in the world as fate, take control and do what you feel you must do.” When I read the quote by An-Mei, I felt that this was the theme of the whole story. She says, “This is your fate. This is your life, what you must do.” (139). From hearing this, Rose understands the importance of having control of what happens to them.

Thursday, January 01, 2009 2:18:00 AM  
Blogger Trung said...

Trung Tran
Erasable Pencil
“Half and Half”

1.This chapter is very touching and sad. Amy Tang describes the family as loving and caring and she makes you believe that everything is fine. Then she quickly transitions into foreshadow of someone dying. And because of this, it made me want to keep reading to find out what will happen next. I was shocked to see Rose Hsu Jordan stand there and watch as her brother Bing falls into the water and drown. Yet, she did not scream and yell for help. Is it because it happened so fast she did not know what to do? I still cannot believe someone who sees their own flesh and blood in trouble would just stand and watch.

2.The relationship between Ted and Rose was rather dull. Ted was always making the decisions. He was right to be mad at Rose. Who would want a relationship where one person always makes the decisions? Rose needs to take charge and have some opinions about things.

3.I love how every word Amy Tang use has a meaning to the story. For almost every scene, if you think deeper about it and why she puts it in there, it has a lot of meaning to it. For example, when she put “erasable pencil”, I thought to myself why she would describe what type of pencil the mother was using to write her dead son’s name in the bible. Who cares? But when I thought deeper, I realized it was because the mother still has hope, hoping that maybe her son lived and one day, she would be able to erase her son’s name under death in the bible.

4.The theme of the story is to take charge and don’t just let things happen. Like Rose, she just watched as her brother was drowning just like she watched as her marriage went down the drain when she has seen signs. She did nothing to prevent any of those things from happening.

Thursday, January 01, 2009 5:31:00 PM  
Blogger amy wang said...

Fate and Faith
Half and Half
1. So at first, I’m wondering why Rose’s mother uses a bible, of all books, to wedge under a table leg. After I realize it’s because of Bing, and that she has lost faith in God, I feel really sorry for her. She had believed so much in God, she gave up her ring from her mother, hoping that God would bring her to her son. Despite the fact that she knows, deep down, that her son is dead, An-mei keeps trying to find him, until she has nothing left to give. This is when she loses her faith in God. I also think that Rose should try to save her marriage with Ted. Just because Ted had messed up on a surgery and lost his lawsuit doesn’t mean that he should make change suddenly, making Rose make unimportant decisions. Rose should also try to take some of the responsibility of the household instead of letting Ted make all of the decisions.
2. Rose and Ted’s relationship is a false marriage. Rose and Ted imagined tragedy hovering over them, making them inseparable. Their relationship was never in danger, yet because of the talk that Ted’s mother had with Rose, they thought that their relationship was always in danger, forcing them into a “saving and being saved” situation, which was what kept their relationship together.
3. Amy Tan uses a lot of foreshadowing in this chapter. Rose describes her marriage as them clinging “to each other with a rather silly desperation.” This foreshadows that that Rose and Ted’s marriage is of false love and that it will not have a happy ending. When Rose’s family went to Devil’s Slide to go fishing, the words “devil” struck me as something bad was going to happen. When her father notices Bing, something starts to tug on his line, Rose’s brothers get into a fight, forcing Rose to take her eyes off of Bing, this foreshadows that something bad will happen to Bing, which does.
4. I think the theme of this chapter is to take matters into your own hands. Rose knew Bing was in danger, but she had let it happen. She also knew that her marriage was falling apart, but she had still let it happen. “…fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention”(140).

Thursday, January 01, 2009 6:21:00 PM  
Blogger christinehwang said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, January 02, 2009 9:36:00 AM  
Blogger christinehwang said...

Nengkan
Focusing on: Half and Half

The actions, words, and mentality of An-mei Hsu truly were inspiring and reminded me of the hidden power or motherly nengkan. Though Bing, An-mei's son, was most likely gone for eternity,she had hope and thus continuously searched for him with all her power and ability. She went past her limits and did unimaginable things like jumping into the ocean, despite the fact that she did not know how to swim. In many ways An-mei reminded me of my mother. She was like my mother in that my mother also had in a sense nengkan. An-mei also reminded me of my mother because of the everlasting hope and positiveness that she had in times of difficulty. Besides An-mei, there was another character that caused me to react. This character was Rose Hsu, who oddly reminded me of myself. Her slowness to react when Bing drowned frustrated me, not only because she could have saved him but also because I believe that I would have done something similar. Though, I do not blame her for the entire situation, I believe that she played a huge part in it. One scene that affected me was the scene in which Ted sent Rose divorce papers.Though he had "loved" her and desperately held onto her, Ted insisted on ending the relationship based on the fact that Rose couldn't make her own decisions, or basically because she lacked "leadership". Their relationship reminded me of the many foolish relationships that young people have and the divorces that so many couples simply decide upon today. Apart from my reactions, I also have a question. I just wanted to make sure if I was interpreting the following text correctly. When Amy Tan says: "My mother is not the best housekeeper in the world, and after all these years that Bible is still white clean." I was wondering if it meant that An-mei still had hope and was continuously keeping her faith in God.

One adjective to describe the relationship between Rose Hsu and An-mei is "ying-and-yang ." When Rose says, "there's no hope. There's no reason for trying," upon her marriage, An-mei is there encouraging her saying, " Because you must, this is not hope. Not reason. This is your fate. This is your life, what you must do." Since Rose and An-mei have very different mentalities this causes one person, in this case An-mei, to be or to have more of something, in this case "optimism." An-mei's positiveness helps in her efforts to convince and give hope to Rose, who is in the process of giving up on her marriage. In this way, they are each others' opposites and are able to balance each other out, just like ying-and-yang.

One writing technique that Amy Tan used in this chapter was foreshadow. An example of this was shown when Tan was describing the characteristics of the cove at the beach. She drew an image of a ominous, dark cove when she said, "this beach cove was a terrible place, full of wet shadows that chilled us and invisible specks that flew into our eyes and made it hard for us to see the danger," causing readers to get a sense that there was some kind of danger ahead that dealt with the beach cove, which was exactly what happened. Her use of foreshadow made the story better in that it helped build a mood and made a better approach towards the climax.

I believe that the theme, or life lesson of this chapter is "never give up." Though An-mei is unable to find her son, who is probably long gone, she still has hope and shows this when it is revealed to the readers that she has written " 'Bing Hsu' lightly in erasable pencil," in her Bible in, "a section called 'Deaths,' " suggesting that she still believes that he is alive somewhere. This is also revealed throughout this whole chapter in that An-mei expresses and tries to pass down her everlasting hope to Rose telling her, " 'You must think for yourself, what you must do. If someone tells you, then you are not trying.' " An-mei's life story is full of hope and seems to teach readers that there is always hope and that you should never ever give up.

Friday, January 02, 2009 9:38:00 AM  
Blogger kristin x] said...

All the Faith in the World…
Half and Half
1. This chapter was unexpectedly sad. It started with a story about a happy couple. I thought it was really cute, how they were so inseparable. But then the story turned into how they were having marital problems, and it wasn’t so good. Then there was a flashback, to a happy Chinese family on the beach for the first time. Then there’s another plot twist and the youngest kid dies. The sad thing is that Rose totally sees that Bing is going to fall, and doesn’t do anything about it, just sits there. And the mom, An-Mei, she still thinks she can find Bing. She has a lot of faith that he’ll be okay, that he’s still sitting on the beach waiting for them, but all the faith in the world couldn't help Bing be found alive.
2. I thought Rose and Ted’s relationship was very rebellious, like many relationships in movies. Their parents opposed, so they were drawn to each other even more. Most relationships that start like that in movies don’t end up working too well, just like Ted and Rose’s. They decide to get a divorce because Ted is tired of all the responsibility. Rose has trouble making up her mind about things, annoying Ted. When he goes to Los Angeles for a dermatology class, he calls Rose and asks for a divorce.
3. There were a lot of flashbacks in this story. It started in a kitchen in the present time, and then there was a flashback of Rose’s marriage. The present comes back again, talking about a bible, and then there’s a flashback about the beach and how Rose’s brother dies. The present is brought back when Rose remembers that her mom wrote Bing’s name in the bible that helped keep their table level.
4. This relates to the allegory because it’s one of those things in the book, the Twenty-six Malignant Gates. An-mei thought she could protect her kids from all twenty-six dangers, but she found out she couldn't. She wanted her kids to be safe from everything, but because she wasn’t the one watching him, she lost him.

Friday, January 02, 2009 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Brendan said...

Lost
Half and Half

1. I thought this chapter was really depressing, the way all the events happened. It seemed so happy and peaceful at first until the little boy went missing. It was really sad how it happened, and how they couldn’t find his body. His mother tried so hard to get him back, until she finally gave up her hope. I would call it lost because Bing was lost, and the mother had lost her hope with him. I thought it was Rose’s fault because she didn’t do anything even though she saw him fall in. She might have saved him if she just ran in there and went after him.
2. I would compare Rose’s relationship with her mother as precious. Rose was precious to her mother, and she was given a lot of responsibilities. Her mother believed in her, just as in the scene where she was apologizing at the sea, and told God that Rose will teach Bing better manners. Her mother is very caring for her children and recognizes Rose as a responsible one. She was supposed to learn responsibility just as her sisters were responsible for her, in a way her mom considers Rose as precious.
3. Amy Tan uses symbolism in this chapter. In a way Bing could be represented as his mother’s hope because he was young and innocent. When he is lost, she has lost hope towards everything and no longer had faith. She also uses flashback to go back to the event where Bing died to relate it to the marriage of Ted and Rose, it showed the hopelessness of the marriage was just as hopeless as the finding the child.
4. I think a lesson taught in this chapter was never give up even when it’s hopeless. When the mother lost her 4 year old child she continued to look for him even though it was hopeless, no matter what she continued. It showed how much she cared about her son and how far she was willing to go. She was willing to give up a 25 year old precious sapphire ring for her son. She woke up early to find him; she threw a safety tube out there to find him. She was a truly devoted mother and never gave up hope, even though in reality it was hopeless.

Friday, January 02, 2009 1:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tina Truong said...

1) Faith with a Leatherette Bible
2) The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates “Rose Hsu Jordan: Half and Half”

3) The very beginning of this chapter kind of foreshadowed a grim and depressing plot. I thought that the fact that An-mei, Rose’s mother, pretends that she forgot about the Bible that she stuck underneath the table leg hints that she is either trying to hide something or is at least trying to forget about it. I later learned that sticking the Bible under the table leg was a way for her to cover and weigh down the disappointment she experienced when her all her faith failed her. It was so sad when Bing died…and he was only four too. I think that everyone in the family had his/her own fault, not only Rose, and she knew it too, for “[she] heard them, one by one whispering their regrets,” (135). For example, An-mei could have stopped the fight herself, why did she have to ask Rose to do everything? Her daughter’s hands seemed full enough as they were. Then there was Rose, who I really don’t understand. She claimed that she was expecting Bing to fall in as she watched him near the water’s edge. She said that “[she was] the only one who [saw] what Bing [was] doing,” (133). Well if she was the only one who saw, than why didn’t she do something about it? She didn’t have to keep pulling the other two boys off one another, it’s not like they can die if she leaves them for a few minutes. Moving Bing away from the edge would have been a more important deal. I was so mad! She even sat there thinking after it happened... “Should [she] run to the water and try to pull him out? Should [she] shout to [her] father……” (134). If she didn’t spent all that time thinking, maybe she would have been able to reach him in time; all that time… wasted.
I was touched that her mother believed in her nengkan so much that she fooled herself to think that she would be able to find Bing the next day. She didn’t stop to reason with herself, but yet, I thought that it was an of the moment thing. As a mother, she loved her son and didn’t want to believe that he would be gone forever so she lured herself into thinking that she would be able to bring him home.
Also, I thought that, for her children’s sake, An-mei didn’t wallow in sorrow for the rest of her days—or at least a very long time—like Lena’s mother did in the last chapter when she lost her child. The fact that she didn’t want her children to keep feeling sorry for her and she wanted everyone to move on with their life, even if it meant that she would continue thinking and possibly, crying, about it to herself later. Showed that she cared about their future and wanted them to focus on other things.
The fact that Rose’s own personal matter was placed in the same chapter as Bing’s death made her problem seem insignificant and futile. Even though the two stories were linked together with the purpose of proving that An-mei believed in God’s faith, as individual stories, Rose’s unsuccessful marriage was of little importance.

4) The relationship between Rose and her husband, Ted seems broken. I thought that their relationship was to prove to their parents, or rather their mothers, that nothing those two say can change the couple’s decision of being together. I think that it was kind of like Romeo and Juliet… the fact that they were unwanted together attracted them to one another even more. Then when they did get married, Ted was making all of the decisions and that was how things were. Suddenly, when he stopped because a lost trial in court, he gave up and abruptly turned to make Rose make all of the decisions. He later accused her that “[she could] never make up [her] mind about anything,” (127), which was never a problem before and then wanted to file a divorce. I thought that that part was the most foolish, ignorant… most dim-witted thing I’ve ever heard/read.

5) The most significant writing technique in this chapter was where Amy Tan used a flashback to describe her unsuccessful relationship/marriage with her current husband, Ted and a flashback to describe Bing’s death. It improved the story because it provided a way to connect with the point that “[Her] mother believed in God’s will for many years,” (128). It also helps readers understand what Rose went through.

6) (d. How is this chapter connected to the allegory at the start of the section?)
I think that this chapter is connected to the allegory at the start of the section by the means of the re-mentioning of the book called the Twenty-six Malignant Gates. It tells of “terrible dangers that awaited young innocent children,” (131) and both the allegory at the start of the section and this vignette include a child who faces a danger. In the case of the allegory, it tells of a child who fell off her bike before reaching the corner and in the chapter “Half and Half”, Bing fell of the edge and into the water and then disappeared.

Friday, January 02, 2009 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger hi,imterri said...

1. “The Ocean’s Clutches”

2. Half and Half

3. At first, I thought that this chapter would be different. Instead of miserable deaths and situations, I believe that this chapter would be about love and marriages. Boy was I wrong. I didn’t enjoy this boring chapter. It turned out to be about death after all, which was very disappointing for me. When I read about Rose Hsu Jordan’s unsuccessful marriage with Ted Jordan, I came to dislike both of the characters. I can’t believe that, as adults, they didn’t have their own opinions or the ability to make simple decisions, like choosing to pay with cash or Visa. A wife shouldn’t rely on her spouse, and vise versa. She becomes too dependant on her spouse, and if she has to do things on her own, she might not know how to do those tasks. It made me especially sad when Ted asked Rose for a divorce--and over the phone!  Other characters that I weren’t fond of were Rose’s brothers—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. At the beach, they were so rude to their littlest brother, Bing, who was pushed by his brothers because they didn’t want him to ruin their sand creation. That’s not fair. Couldn’t they be more civilized and just politely tell him to not touch their sand castle? I also don’t understand why Rose just sat and watched, doing nothing when Bing was on the edge of the water. She’s not in a movie theater, watching some drama while on the edge of her seat anticipating what’s about to happen. She obviously expected that Bing was “going to fall in” the water (133). Luke was a big boy; he could get rid of the sand on his face by himself.

4. Rose’s brothers Matthew, Mark, and Luke did not get along with their younger brother Bing. This problem could be caused from their huge age difference. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and Bing were twelve, ten, nine, and four, respectively. I could see why they didn’t get along because my two younger brothers and I also have the same amount of age difference between us. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and I didn’t really want to hang out with our younger siblings because they probably wouldn’t understand our ways of having fun. Even if our younger siblings did, they might ruin our fun. In the chapter, Bing’s older brothers didn’t let him help or watch them build their sand castle because they thought that Bing might crush their sandy creations. Bing’s fate could’ve changed for the better if all four brothers just got along in the first place.

5. In this particular chapter, I noticed that Amy Tan uses foreshadowing. In the beginning of the chapter, she writes about An-mei’s use of the bible, which is as a table balanced that is put under one of the table legs. It tells the readers that they’ll read about the connection between the Bible and the Hsu family. If the bible wasn’t going to be important, I’m sure that Tan wouldn’t have written about it, otherwise I’d consider it a waste of space (and ink). The bible was, indeed, important in the chapter. When the family had lost their youngest son, Bing, to the ocean, his mother, An-mei, decided to believe in faith again, in attempts to ask God to safely return Bing to them.

6. The allegory for this chapter was about a story that was included in a book called “Twenty-Six Malignant Gates,” where a child disobeys her mother and falls from her bike when she rides around the far corner of her neighborhood, where her mom can’t see her. In the chapter, Bing is the child that is on the bike, while Rose is the mother that tells him to be careful. She tells Bing to stay “away from the water” and “away from the mean fish” (133). However, he didn’t listen and went too close the water’s edge, eventually falling into the ocean and off his bike.

Friday, January 02, 2009 6:13:00 PM  
Blogger hi,imterri said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, January 02, 2009 6:13:00 PM  
Blogger hi,imterri said...

1. “The Ocean’s Clutches”

2. Half and Half

3. At first, I thought that this chapter would be different. Instead of miserable deaths and situations, I believe that this chapter would be about love and marriages. Boy was I wrong. I didn’t enjoy this boring chapter. It turned out to be about death after all, which was very disappointing for me. When I read about Rose Hsu Jordan’s unsuccessful marriage with Ted Jordan, I came to dislike both of the characters. I can’t believe that, as adults, they didn’t have their own opinions or the ability to make simple decisions, like choosing to pay with cash or Visa. A wife shouldn’t rely on her spouse, and vise versa. She becomes too dependant on her spouse, and if she has to do things on her own, she might not know how to do those tasks. It made me especially sad when Ted asked Rose for a divorce--and over the phone! ;[ Other characters that I weren’t fond of were Rose’s brothers—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. At the beach, they were so rude to their littlest brother, Bing, who was pushed by his brothers because they didn’t want him to ruin their sand creation. That’s not fair. Couldn’t they be more civilized and just politely tell him to not touch their sand castle? I also don’t understand why Rose just sat and watched, doing nothing when Bing was on the edge of the water. She’s not in a movie theater, watching some drama while on the edge of her seat anticipating what’s about to happen. She obviously expected that Bing was “going to fall in” the water (133). Luke was a big boy; he could get rid of the sand on his face by himself.

4. Rose’s brothers Matthew, Mark, and Luke did not get along with their younger brother Bing. This problem could be caused from their huge age difference. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and Bing were twelve, ten, nine, and four, respectively. I could see why they didn’t get along because my two younger brothers and I also have the same amount of age difference between us. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and I didn’t really want to hang out with our younger siblings because they probably wouldn’t understand our ways of having fun. Even if our younger siblings did, they might ruin our fun. In the chapter, Bing’s older brothers didn’t let him help or watch them build their sand castle because they thought that Bing might crush their sandy creations. Bing’s fate could’ve changed for the better if all four brothers just got along in the first place.

5. In this particular chapter, I noticed that Amy Tan uses foreshadowing. In the beginning of the chapter, she writes about An-mei’s use of the bible, which is as a table balanced that is put under one of the table legs. It tells the readers that they’ll read about the connection between the Bible and the Hsu family. If the bible wasn’t going to be important, I’m sure that Tan wouldn’t have written about it, otherwise I’d consider it a waste of space (and ink). The bible was, indeed, important in the chapter. When the family had lost their youngest son, Bing, to the ocean, his mother, An-mei, decided to believe in faith again, in attempts to ask God to safely return Bing to them.

6. The allegory for this chapter was about a story that was included in a book called “Twenty-Six Malignant Gates,” where a child disobeys her mother and falls from her bike when she rides around the far corner of her neighborhood, where her mom can’t see her. In the chapter, Bing is the child that is on the bike, while Rose is the mother that tells him to be careful. She tells Bing to stay “away from the water” and “away from the mean fish” (133). However, he didn’t listen and went too close the water’s edge, eventually falling into the ocean and off his bike.

Friday, January 02, 2009 7:18:00 PM  
Blogger MMMMymy_ said...

1. “To Love and Have Lost”
2. Half&Half
3. After reading this chapter, I was left with an empty feeling. I had the want to narrow down all of the important things in my life, and appreciate that I had them. In this chapter, Rose Jordan is visiting her mother, debating whether or not to tell her about her failing marriage. From the way she described it, I think the two were in love with each other for a while, and this love flourished because it was forbidden. The parents didn’t quite agree, and this probably pushed the two into making it work. Eventually, they broke the rules, and decided marriage would be best for them. I thought this was actually really romantic, but it was kind of stupid, and it seemed like a hasty decision. Rose brings us back into the past, and tells us about the death of her brother, Bing. I’m sure the point was to make the story really sad, but it didn’t really hit me. I thought the death was a little pathetic, and the way Rose stood there watching her brother drown was even worse. She knew he was dying and she let him die. What kind of sister is that? Even with the commotion going on with the younger kids, she still should’ve ran over there and attempted to save him. Anyway, after making this terrible mistake, she still doesn’t learn from the lesson, and now she has to face the downfalls of a divorce. Hopefully, later on she’ll learn and won’t neglect a situation. In the beginning, in the scene where Rose describes her mother sweeping the kitchen, there is a bible wedged under a table. This REALLY confused me. I thought An-mei (the mother) was very faithful and religious. She seemed to be when her son was lost at sea. So why does she leave the bible under the table? It looked like she wanted to hide it away and just forget about it. I was also confused when Rose had somewhat of a premonition to what would happen to Bing. Why didn’t she prevent what she feared from happening? Did she really love her brothers and sisters? Also, at the very end, Bing’s name was written under “Deaths” in light pencil. Did this mean that An-Mei still had hope that Bing was still alive? Why was this chapter called Half&Half?
4. The relationship between Rose and Ted can be described as a withering love. Better yet, it could be compared to a withering rose. In the beginning the two unconditionally care for each other, and fight away the forces of parents who disagree to the relationship. The way they spent so much time together, and were practically inseparable showed how much they loved each other. It was like the full crimson red petal on a rose, happily showing off its beauty. As time passed, their lives together started changing. The happy relationship slowly burned down into pure tolerance with the fact they were a married couple. For a while, Rose doesn’t make an effort to make any decisions in the relationship. After, Ted faces his major mistake; he changes, and wants Rose to decide. She’s not used to this kind of attention, and the love they shared slowly began die down. Soon, they were left with nothing to base their marriage on. Thus, the divorce. The beautiful red petals of passion had dried, and withered down into a dry rose. They were no longer the blooming flower they used to be.
5. Amy Tan uses the flashback technique. She transitions from the scene when she is older and visiting her mom, to the memory of losing her brother when she was really little. She uses this to talk about the faith her mother had in God, and how she believed it was right to follow your fate and never lose hope. Even after her brother was reported unfound, her mother still kept trying everything to find him. Sadly, it was unsuccessful, and Rose blames herself for not preventing the terrible accident that she anticipated. Amy Tan then transitions to the story of Rose’s relationship with Ted. She tells about their whole love story, and how she had to go through a lot to be together, and unfortunately it still isn’t working out. After reading about her past, we see the irony in Rose’s mistakes. She knew she neglected her brother once before, and now she has neglected her relationship with Ted. The flashbacks help us see this, and realize her folly. Without it, we would not be able to understand why Rose goes into such deep thought about this divorce.
6. I think the main conflict in this chapter is man vs. himself. Rose is fighting with herself to push away the fact that she has been neglecting the important things in her life. The one man that loved her, she neglected. Her own little brother who was playing at sea was also neglected. Still, she doesn’t learn her lesson, and ignores her husband’s thoughts. After a while, he got tired of deciding all the time, and had to confront her. Now that the marriage is about to be over, she has to decide if she wants to let it go, or fix it. She has to choose what she wants by herself, not do what she is told. Rose has to find that power within to stand up and become independent.

Friday, January 02, 2009 7:53:00 PM  
Blogger Andy Lam said...

1.Grief/Relief of Losing a Family Member
2.Half and Half
3.As I began, I found it strange how An-Mei Hsu would use a bible as something that held up an uneven table by putting it under the shorter leg. There were other ways to neglect a bible, but that was a very strange one. Then, I read Rose’s marriage problems, which seemed like a typical way for a marriage to break. So far, the story seems normal. Next I learned about her entire family, and found it strange that only one child, the youngest, had a non-American name, which was Bing. I thought that maybe something special would happen to him. As all the rush of Rose Hsu’s father catching a fish, her brothers starting a fight with her mother trying to stop it, and Rose’s older sisters away for a walk, Bing was inching along the Reef. I knew in my heart that for sure Bing was going to fall in and maybe drown for sure because everyone was preoccupied and not doing anything to notice him, except Rose. She saw him fall, and I was mad how she didn’t immediately scream at her family to rescue him while sprinting maniacally towards her drowning brother. But maybe she also didn’t want her brother to exist because he was an anchor to her, always having to watch out for him and take care of him. Even with that reason, I was extremely mad at Rose for not immediately trying her best to save him. She got lazy protecting him too because she should have enough common sense to not let a 4 year old walk by himself on the reef. Then, when she was crying when her mother mentioned that Rose will “be sure to teach him better lessons of obedience before he visits you again” (137), I didn’t know if she was crying about having been forced to take care of Bing again or that it somehow sparked a certain sadness in her of losing Bing that she started crying. Then, as it was discovered that An-Mei had written Bing Tsu under deaths in the bible, she wrote lightly in erasable pencil, as if she was ready to erase it from the deaths section in the bible, as if he would come back to the family. In the end, An-Mei never gave up hope, but Rose already did. I was engulfed in sadness by that iconic ending.
4.The relationship between Bing and Rose wasn’t close at all. Rose didn’t seem to care much about her own brother. She was always complaining about having to take care of him and it was unfair that she had to take care of him. She felt as if Bing was just a burden to her, and that she would be better off without him. She “sank to her knees watching that spot where he disappeared, not moving, not saying anything” (134). She didn’t even bother to save her brother. If she had ran after him and tried to pull him out, she might’ve been successful and Bing might’ve been saved.
5.In this chapter, Amy Tan’s foreshadowing was employed brilliantly. As I read that as “something tugs on my (Rose’s) father’s line and he’s reeling fast as he can”, and at the same time “Someone had thrown sand in Luke’s face and he’s jumped out of his sand grave and thrown himself on top of Mark, thrashing and kicking. My mother shouts for me to stop them”, Rose also sees “Bing walking alone to the edge of the reef” (133); meanwhile both of Rose’s sisters were preoccupied somewhere else on the beach, I knew that something would happen to the 4 year old Bing walking alone on a reef with nobody paying attention to him except Rose, who was “the only one who saw what Bing was doing” (133). It ends up with Bing losing his balance and falling into the water.
6.The life lesson in this chapter is to never give up hope, and try to risk everything to get something back if it’s important enough. An-Mei never gave up hope of finding her lost son Bing. She kept searching for him, trying to swim and look for him even when “she had never swum a stroke in her life” (134), drove when she had never driven before, because Rose “wondered the whole time as they drove to the beach how she had learned to drive overnight” (136), and tried to confess to god that she has learned what wrong she had committed with a long speech in the bible. Then she offers the Coiling Dragon her gifts of “tea sweetened with sugar” (137) and “a ring of watery blue sapphire, a gift from her mother, who had died many years before” (137-138), which she threw into the water. She even believe that Bing was in a cove far out in the sea, with which she tried to save him by tying a large inner tube to the fishing line from her husband’s bamboo fishing pole. After it all failed, she finally gave up, which showed us to never give up and keep trying our hardest to earn back something that we lost if it was really that important to us.

Friday, January 02, 2009 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger PeterThai said...

1. Two things create Fate
2. Half and Half
3. After reading this, I became very sad. I mean I wouldn’t consider the divorce very sad because it didn’t seem like they romantically met and loved each other. Even though I saw it coming, that Bing would fall in the ocean, I didn’t want to believe it would happen. After he fell, and after they tried everything to find him, I really thought they would find him but I guess not. What made me a bit angry was that even though Rose knew what happen to Bing, she just stood there which made me very disappointed that a person could be that heartless. This chapter also discussed about Rose and Ted’s divorce but after reading it, it did not catch my attention except that part of Mrs. Jordan thought Rose was Vietnamese because she was Asian.
4. The relationship between Rose and Ted were very unstable. At first, they started as being good friends but then Rose fell in love with him because he was “different from Chinese men”. Their love of how they just randomly started depending on each other was amusing but I did not think it would lead to a marriage. Their marriage at first seemed reasonable since Ted made all the decision but then he couldn’t decide as they proceeded living together. I thought their relationship was unstable because Ted started just throwing everything on Rose and they never had a good resolve besides divorcing each other.
5. One of Amy Tan’s writing technique she uses in this chapter that stood out was flashback. She uses this to show us why Rose has the opinion of giving in to the divorce with Ted. The flashback is when she allowed her four year old brother Bing to fall into the water even though she was watching him most of the time. At the time Bing fell, she knew she was in danger but she let it happen just like her divorce.
6. I think the theme of this chapter is that unless you take action, things don’t go the way you want. She just allowed her brother Bing to fall in the water without trying to help him. Like her divorce, she just allowed it to fall apart because in all of this she never took action to make a change.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Steeveen said...

1. Lost Hope
2. Half and Half
3. Reading this chapter made me feel very sad and depressed. Even though I knew that Bing was going to fall into the ocean’s depth, a part of me inside said no and this I kept reading, hoping that Bing will escape from the ocean’s wrath and cruel currents. What shocked me more was at the time when Rose saw Bing fall into the cold water, she just stood there, opened jaw and wide-eyed. She did not scream or tell anyone or even put in an effort to go save her younger brother’s life. All she did was sit there, staring at her own brother die. Aside from Bing’s death in the story, I was surprised at Rose. Reading the chapter, I could think of Rose as a weak person, never taking action for herself. Before she had already given hope on Bing, now she again gives up hope on her marriage. Rose is married to Ted Jordan, a non-Chinese man. Their relationship starts off with high happy notes, both turning to each other for comfort and closure. Soon after, however, Ted changes and with those changes he wants a divorce from Rose. If I was Rose and I truly loved and wanted to be with Ted, then I would have fought for my relationship. Unlike her, I would have not given up so easily just like that. Also, in the last passage of the chapter, the phrase “on the page before the New Testament begins, there’s a section called Deaths, and that’s where she wrote Bing Hsu lightly, in erasable pencil. Rose’s mother wrote this in her bible and it shows us a lot about her characteristics. Even though it mentioned that the mother had given up on the search for her lost son, she still has hope that someday they would come together and be a family again because if she didn’t, why would she have written his name with an erasable pencil? Though the mother had putted away her bible and stopped looking for Bing, she still has high hopes for him.
4. The relationship between Rose and Ted is pretty childish. They fall in love during college and shortly after one year, the two are already living together! They soon get married and the two are happily in love. However, when things take toll for the worst and their happy marriage goes down the drain, none of them tries to save their marriage. If you love someone deeply, by all means you would try to stay with them. Rose and Ted just basically ran from their problems ending the relationship with a divorce. They move into the relationship so fast in the beginning and ended so fast. So childish for old people.
5. Amy Tan used foreshadowing brilliantly in this chapter. As I was reading the part when the family was on a vacation on the beach, I knew something was going to happen to Bing. It was Rose’s duty to watch over her siblings and just as Bing was on the ledge near the water, Rose’s attention was distracted by her other brothers screaming, her sisters’ laughter, and also her dad. After all this, the suspense was Bing falling in.
6. I would say the conflict in this chapter was human vs. self. Rose is constantly at war with herself, as she struggles to keep and fight for what is important in her life. First, it was her younger brother, Bing, whom she ignored and sent off to a side. Now it is her lover, Ted. She does not look into their relationship, seeing it not important whatsoever. Therefore, she has lost both Bing and Ted

Saturday, January 03, 2009 3:16:00 PM  
Blogger ashleen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 6:25:00 PM  
Blogger ashleen said...

1. The Devoured Faith

2. Half and Half

3. I thought this chapter was really sad. When Bing was climbing onto the reef to meet his father, I had a feeling that he was going to fall into the ocean. I wanted to close the book shut, but the suspense lured me in and I continued reading. When Bing disappeared into the ocean, I kept thinking that he would rise above the waves and be safely surrounded by his family, but unfortunately he wasn’t. I was furious at Rose for not trying to save her brother. She stood there like a statue and watched. Rose should have shouted when she realized that Bing was going to fall into the water or she should have tried to run up and grab a hold of his hand! How could she let her brother die like that? I mean how can a person just stand there and not try! Wouldn’t she feel that guilt for the rest of her life?
Also, I wondered why Rose’s mother uses the bible to wedge under a table leg. She probably had a lot of books, but why did she use the bible? I understand that she prayed to God numerous times to try to save her son, but the bible was a sacred book and placing that on the floor was disrespecting God. I was surprised that religious person like her would do such a thing. I was shocked!

4. The relationship between Ted and Rose can be described as naive and wrecked. After some causal dates, they fell in love, and got married. They were foolish to not think about the hardships that were going to face later in their lives. Soon after their marriage, Ted lost faith in making decisions. They saw flaws in one another and their relationship started to fall apart. Then one day, Ted got mad and he told Rose what she would have done without him. Rose felt that Ted was pressurizing her, while Ted felt that Rose was not able to do anything by herself, that she couldn’t make any decisions. Instead of sitting down and resolving their problems, they kept on arguing with one another which led the pair to a divorce.

5. One writing technique that Tan uses is flashbacks. Tan used the flashbacks to compare and contrast each of Rose’s experiences. The first part showed the tragic relationship between Rose and Ted. The second flashback revealed Bing’s catastrophic death when the family went to the beach for a picnic. Tan used this technique marvelously and did not allow her audience to get confused. It helped the reader understand the story better. It also allowed them to find the reasons why a character performed certain actions and thoughts.

6. This chapter connects to the opening allegory because the book, The Twenty-six Malignant Gate, is mentioned again in the chapter. Like one of the horrible tragedies that occur in the book, Bing slips off a rock and lands into the ocean. Bing’s mother had told him not to wonder off too close to the ocean and afterwards Bing climbed a reef to see his father and faced the catastrophic incident. Just like Bing’s accident, in the opening allegory a girl falls off her bike after her mother tells her that she would because the book mentioned it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger Elise N. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 6:34:00 PM  
Blogger Elise N. said...

1.‘Cause I Gotta Have Faith, Faith
2.“Half and Half”
3.I liked this chapter. I think it is intentional that Rose Hsu Jordan is facing relationship dilemmas, as her mother, An-mei, did as a child. As Rose retells the tragic loss of her brother Bing, and the faithful An-Mei losing her faith, I thought, This must be the worst thing that could have happened to An-Mei, since the issue of family members has affected her life so much. I certainly felt sorry for the Hsu family, and as I was reading the family members express their feelings of guilt, I wished that they wouldn’t. Putting the blame on themselves just makes everyone feel bad. I loved how Rose’s parents believed in their nengkan – the ability to do anything one puts his mind to. It was very enlightening, and uplifting. The whole chapter itself was somewhat this way, and philosophical, which was nice for a change. I found the external story about Rose’s upcoming divorce to Ted to be a little typical, but I became angry when I read about Ted’s mother and Rose’s talk. I hated how she pretended to care about Ted’s studies and his future plans, when she clearly wanted to discourage the relationship due to Rose’s ethnic background (which she got wrong). On a happier note, I enjoyed reading about a grown-up daughter instead of a little girl with bitter thoughts and recollections again.
4.Ted and Rose’s relationship is very inconsistent and unbalanced. The responsibilities are not equal, and Rose is much too dependent on Ted. When Ted’s views are changed by a single malpractice lawsuit, their relationship turns sour. All the responsibility of decision-making goes to Rose, who never decided on anything before. I think that Ted had very rash thoughts and actions, and never gave their relationship a chance to straighten itself out. I feel that most of the blame is on Ted, although Rose is not exactly clean of the blame either. As a couple, the responsibilities should be equal, and she helped make the imbalance a long-term habit. I concluded that their relationship is probably able to work out, but for the most part, it is very unfair for both Ted and Rose.
5.I think that the flashbacks in this chapter are the main “meat” of it. The external story with Ted and Rose does not concern me too much, but the flashback held the important information (Bing’s death) that links together Rose and her mother, An-Mei. The key object, the white leathered bible, is in the flashback, which further exemplifies the flashback’s importance.
6.I think the real conflict in this story is an internal, human vs. self conflict. The “human” and “self” both being Rose. The external story of this chapter, her relationship with Ted and their upcoming divorce, shines a light on Rose’s inability to make decisions. She is indecisive to an extreme point, and the outcome of this flaw is that her partner is leaving her. She has to correct herself, and be a more opinionated person with an actual mind if she wants to have a personal relationship with someone. The second major wall that Rose experiences is her “faith,” or rather, a lack of one. She even acknowledges that she “just let [them] (her divorce and the loss of Bing) happen” (140). Her internal struggle for finding and having more faith is deterred by her ways of accepting unjust fates, letting things happen, and not trying for what they are worth.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 6:36:00 PM  
Blogger Rachhhh said...

1. An Ocean of Tears

2. “Half and Half”

3. This chapter was so sad! Bing’s death seems devastating. I did not even see any clues in the chapter to foresee it coming, and it made the death all the more shocking to me. The saddest part is that she thinks that it is her fault, because she was not paying attention to him. That is a horrible thing for her to live with, especially from such a young age. When she looks back on it, she compares her dying marriage to Bing’s death. She subconsciously knew that both were in danger, yet she let them happen. At the end of the chapter, she says that she thinks that “fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention.” Now she thinks she has to pay attention to what she lost and “undo the expectation.”

4. The relationship between Ted and Rose can be described as subservient. Rose lets Ted make all of the decisions for her because she does not think that her opinion counts. During their whole relationship, Rose is only concerned with the happiness of Ted, not her own happiness. I find it a bit ironic that Ted is the one to eventually get fed up with this.

5. In this chapter, Amy Tan uses An-Mei’s bible as a symbol for her faith in God. She used to carry it with her proudly, showing off her piety to the world, and particularly the other ladies at the First Chinese Baptist Church. When Bing died, she was devastated, and simply lost her faith in everything. She then puts the bible under a table-leg that was too short. This represents that she thought that God could even things out.

6. This chapter is directly connected to the allegory at the beginning of the section. The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates tells about all of the terrible dangers that awaited young innocent children. An-Mei thought that because she worried about all of the dangers, she could prevent all of them. Tragically, she finds that her faith cannot always prevail, and sometimes fate takes over.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 8:14:00 PM  
Blogger Beryllium Baiology said...

1. Stand Up
2. Half and half

3. First I was thinking, who are we talking about? Then I remembered that Rose is the daughter of the character that I really liked: An-mei. I didn’t think An-mei would turn out so religious though. As a typical mother of the Joyluck Club, she cares for her daughter and has many Chinese superstitions that she believes in. But anyways, I thought Rose’s reaction to saving Bing was too slow I felt like I wanted to shout at her. What was she doing just sinking her knees to the sand and thinking (!) of saving Bing. My goodness, I’d be diving into the water and trying to save him! How I wish I was there at that moment I could have helped. I can’t help feeling like I regret something even though it has never happened. Yet when she wishes that her father has beaten her or her mother beaten her for something that wasn’t really her fault at all.
In freedom of speech and religion, I just want to wonder: why do so many Chinese people back then and now believe in God? What happened to the good old spirits and superstitions of the Chinese where a xian (kind of a god but not quite so as should be called an immortal) should grant your wishes? Sheesh, get your own religion. I say this in Atheist.

4. We don’t really know that much about An-mei’s personality. So we can’t really say that she is a push over and gave that to Rose. But Rose is a push over and seems actually compatible with Ted’s brashness and assuredness. Of course, “You never know what coming to you” (Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons). So when Ted is sued, I think it crushed him. I agree, he is only human but as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “A man’s (or woman’s) true value shows when they are under times of challenge (? Was it?)” – definitely not accurate but something to that account. Then we see Ted isn’t the guy for Rose. This shows when he started getting agitated when he thinks Rose isn’t taking any of the responsibilities, but really it’s because Rose seriously thinks whatever he chooses is okay.

5. The beach is described “like a giant bowl, cracked in half, the other half washed out to sea.” This will happen to Bing and his family when he drowns and is washed out to sea. Just before his accident, he was sitting “just where the shadows ended and the sunny part began.” Like Rose and Ted, he was caught between “half and half” the title of the story. They both kind of foreshadow the section.

6. I believe the main conflict of this story was in Rose. An internal conflict that was “half and half.” She is “unbalanced” and has lost anything to trust after Ted wanted that divorce, not her mother or God. And she has to decide whether to tell her mother or not knowing it doesn’t make that big of a difference because she already knows what her mother will say to her.

Saturday, January 03, 2009 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger Vivian Tran said...

1) When Faith Fails
2) Half and Half
3) After the last chapter, which was disturbing, this one kind of brought me back down to earth. It was depressing but beautifully written. I love the way An-mei Hsu keeps her faith, how she carefully sweeps around the Bible under the table leg, and how it is kept clean despite her lack of housecleaning habits. Though it’s assumed that An-mei has completely lost God after Bing’s death, she still clings onto it subtly. I can tell that she still does because she tells Rose that her marriage needs to be saved just like she told her many years before that Bing needed to be found. I feel extremely sad over the fact that Bing’s body is never found and angry that the police give up on their search, sending the Hsu’s home, dismissing the case and closing it so quickly. I can’t imagine the absolute horror that Rose must feel and all the regret she kept inside of her for not being able to save Bing right when he fell in.
4) The relationship between Rose Hsu and Ted Jordan can be described as “fake”. I’m sure they love each other, but it almost seems as though they got married just to defy their parents, just to prove that it could be done. She was always the “victim to his hero,” (125) but never a companion. Their relationship was based on the pure adrenaline rush of being in love too quickly and as a forbidden union.
5) I think the foreshadowing in this chapter was fantastic. The reader can sense that the moment Bing is left in the care of Rose, who is annoyed at having to follow her little brother and reprimand him for getting too close to water, that something is going to happen. The moment that Rose takes her eyes off of him, leaving him in the care of her father who does not notice him, I could also tell that Bing was just going to fall into the water. Also, the section concerning the book The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates talks about the evils that a child is surrendered to, which also foreshadows that something bad will happen to a child in this chapter.
6) This chapter relates back to the allegory because of the book The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates. Both mothers tried so hard to warn their children of the evils that are shown within the book. In the allegory, by telling her daughter not to do something, her daughter ends up getting hurt because she tries to do it. In the chapter, by trying so hard to prevent any incidents, Bing is lost to the oceans.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Nila said...

1. "Precious"
2. "Half and Half"
3. This chapter is by far the worst one to read on a rainy day.
Flashing back to Bing's death, Amy Tan's words translated into pure sorrow and the way An-Mei was so determined to find her son made me feel miserable afterward. Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, the Hsu family began blaming their recent loss on themselves with Rose being the hardest on herself. Presently, however, Rose unfortunately compares her brother's death to her marriage to Ted, a man she thought she loved. When I read that even after Ted's mother refused any hopes of the two marrying, this incident allowed the two to attract even closer. I thought this meant a happily ever after, but it turns out that due to Rose's indecisiveness, the young lovebirds will not be able to work the marriage out.
4. The connection shared between Rose and her mother, An-Mei, is muted. Rose understands her mother, especially after bonding with each other at the beach the day after Bing's mishap. An-Mei's contains enough "nengkan" to fuel her daughter as well. Though they have such a strong connection, Rose refuses to let her mother's suggestions interfere with what she truly wants and feels is right for her life. Like with her decision to divorce from Ted, her mother is always offering advice on what she would do in the situation. However, Rose follows HER "nengkan" for once, and figures her life out for herself.
5. The most obvious writing technique used in this chapter is Tan's easily transferable flashback. In fact, most of the chapter consisted of a flashback. The fact that Rose describes the significance of her mother's bible in the beginning helps connect the idea to the recalling of her brother's story. This helps readers view the effect fate has on Rose's life and how much (or little) she accepts it.
6. (d. How is this chapter connected to the allegory at the start of the section?)
Rose's distraction from Bing, adding to the many other aspects on the beach that day, allowed him to fall into the ocean and drown. This is like the allegory at the start of this section because Bing was getting himself into danger. Before anyone knew it, he was gone. The child in the allegory defiantly disobeyed her mother, which resulted in falling off her bike. Contrasting with this girl's mild accident, the Hsu family suffered a greater deal of grief because of losing the life of a loved one.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 1:24:00 AM  
Blogger johnnyappleseed said...

Johnny Chu
Period 7

1. Believe yourself, not faith
2. Half and Half
3. Rose Hsu Jordan will be in a divorce. In college she was dating Ted Jordan which later became her husband. Her mother once said that she was a foreigner and he should not be trusted. But Rose didn’t listen to her and married him soon after college. Rose never thought made any decisions and let Ted decide. Which I think isn’t good because one person is always making the decisions. Soon Ted got very irritated and annoyed since she never made decisions. I think if Rose actually made some decisions and participated in their marriage more they would not have not divorced. When Bing Hsu, Rose’s youngest brother was lost, Rose felt very bad. The lost of Bing in my opinion was caused by Rose since she saw Bing fall into the water, but she didn’t tell anyone her family even till the present. I felt that she was very immature and irresponsible for someone that was fourteen years old.
4. The relationship between everyone in Rose’s family is close. When they lost one family member, Bing, they all grieved and got mad at themselves for the death of the brother. Which shows how close they were and in my opinion it was mainly Rose’s fault for seeing, but not telling. The relationship between Rose and her mother is different then any mother-daughter relationship so far in the book. This is because Rose is asked to look after all her brothers. As if the mother herself couldn’t do this simple task. She was also another cause for the loss of Bing. It seems to me that she was trying to pass on the responsibilities of a mother to her at an early age, but there are just way too many people and things happening sometimes causing these tragedies.
5. Amy Tan uses symbolism in this chapter very well. The fishing pole and the fishing of a fish are compared to the balance of things said in the book. The family was balanced as Rose’s mother had said, but later as the father gets a fish the family becomes unbalanced. Thus, leading to the death or loss of something or someone and that someone happened to be Bing.
6c. Chinese people believe in themselves most of the time and not so much of luck and fate. They always try to make their own faith meaning they don’t let god or anything else make them lose hope. However, sometimes they lose hope just like Rose’s mother.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 2:36:00 AM  
Blogger Ha Duong, Period 6! said...

“The Shape of Fate”

2. ROSE HSU JORDAN: “Half and Half”

3. My favorite part of this chapter was the part when Rose Hsu Jordan went to the Jordan’s family picnic. I thought it was really cute, because Ted, Jordan’s boyfriend and future husband, had introduced her “to all his relatives as his girlfriend, which, until then, [she] didn’t know [she] was” (124). I loved Ted and Jordan’s relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend, especially how they couldn’t get enough of each other, and how “[she] was [the] victim to his hero” and how she “was always in danger and he was always rescuing [her]. [She would fall and he would lift [her] up” (125). I felt that this part of the chapter was cutesy, and it was really a much-needed break, since most of the novel was depressing thus far.

The part that annoyed me during the picnic was how Ted’s mother, Mrs. Jordan, told Jordan that, “she had nothing whatsoever against minorities,” that “she and her husband, who owned a chain of office-supply stores, personally knew many fine people who were Oriental, Spanish, and even black,” and that Ted was going to be in one of those professions where he would be judged by a different standard, by patients and other doctors who might not be as understanding as the Jordans were” (124). The fact that she even felt the need to point out that Jordan was a minority annoyed me, because if it really didn’t matter, she shouldn’t have to point it out at all. My disappointment in Mrs. Jordan increased even further when she talked about “how unpopular the Vietnam War was” (125), because she had just assumed that Jordan was some form of Asian without even bothering to find out. It bugged me that Mrs. Jordan could be so proud as to think her son was even worth that much – had she even given the thought that maybe Jordan was too good for son?

When Bing fell into the water during the family’s trip, I really sympathized for the entire Hsu family, as they had all blamed themselves for the accident. They knew it would/could have happened, but they had done nothing to stop it. I thought it wasn’t fair for them, and that even though they knew it could have happened, how could they know for sure? I really felt it wasn’t fully because of them, if at all. Also, when Jordan is reflecting on how her failing marriage with Ted and Bing’s incident is so similar, I pitied her because she had so much regret on her shoulders, and because she had really felt as though she had lost all hope because of her experience with Bing, and because of her failing marriage with Ted. But, I really hope that she will save her marriage because I think that’s the only way to rid herself of the remorse.

4. I would describe the relationship between Rose Hsu Jordan and Ted as filled with misunderstanding and confusion. The scene where Ted and Rose are bickering about his trip to Los Angeles, every time Rose suggested his intentions, like how she thought he’d want to go alone to have more time to study, Ted said she was wrong, which showed that they both lacked communication and didn’t really understand each others motives. And, also Ted constantly thinks that Rose can’t make up her mind, but it’s really only because she wants to please him, and say the right answers to him. But all he thinks is that she’s indecisive, and that she does things only because people tell her too, not because she means it. He does not see her true feelings, which makes him misunderstand her actions. They both don’t fully realize each others motivations, actions, etc., which thus makes them both misunderstood and confused about one another, defining their troubled relationship.

5. In this chapter, I notice Amy Tan using flashbacks. First, she uses flashbacks to describe Rose Hsu Jordan and Ted Jordan’s marriage, and then she uses another flashback to show another experience in Rose Hsu Jordan’s life – her younger brother’s death. The flashbacks are vital to this chapter as both take up way more than half of the entire chapter, and because they really help compare the two experiences and the burden of regret that Jordan carries. As Jordan reflects, it lets her know that if she wants to protect things that matter to her (i.e. her marriage with Ted), she has to “undo the expectation” (140); instead of letting what she has lost leave her forever, she has to come back and fix it in order to free herself of remorse. And because Jordan also learns this lesson from her flashbacks, readers that read of her experiences and her reflections are also capable of learning the lesson of the chapter. The flashbacks also improve the story because it gives the readers tons of background information that lets us compare the two experiences, and the weight and importance of each experience in Jordan’s life as well.

6. How is the chapter connected to the allegory at the start of the section?
The chapter is connected to the allegory at the start of the section first off, because it talks of The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, and also because in the allegory, a girl fell on her bicycle after she did not listen to her mom, and the same thing happened a few times in the chapter as well. Bing didn’t listen to Rose when she had told him to stay clear of the water, but he went in anyway, which sadly led to his death. Rose, on the other hand, like the girl, fell because she had not tried to change what she had expected all along, like her mother told her too. She “fell” or gave up on her marriage before she “even reached the corner”, or before it even ended, like the girl in the allegory did with her bike.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 2:43:00 AM  
Blogger jpoon said...

“But I just let it Happen”
Half and Half
1. This chapter was very moving and tragic. The loss of Bing was so sudden. I really admired the determination An-Mei had for finding her son. Rose Hsu Jordan made me angry though. She could have at least tried to save her little brother instead of just watching the whole thing happen and not reacting. Like watching her brother walk into his own deathbed, Rose does nothing to try to save her own marriage. She said she saw the signs but let her marriage continue to go downhill. She could have also been more opinionated and made more decisions. Marriage is about teamwork and if you don’t add anything to the relationship, then it will just fall apart. If I were Ted, I would be extremely frustrated with her. No wonder he wants a divorce.
2. The relationship between Rose Hsu Jordan and Ted Jordan can be described as one-sided. Not only does Ted make practically all the decisions out of the two, it even came to a point when Ted and Rose argued over how Rose never had an opinion. Ted made all the decisions and Rose never objected. Rose “preferred to ignore the world around” her (126). Ted brought in majority of the income too which paid for the investments they had.
3. In this chapter, Amy Tan uses the writing technique of flashbacks. She makes the main character, Rose, flashback to when her little brother died and how she did nothing to prevent that from happening. This improves the story by helping the reader see what kind of person Rose is and justifies why she acts the same way with her marriage. The passing of her brother and the failure of her marriage help her realize what she has been doing wrong.
4. The life lesson in this chapter is to believe in your own “nengkan.” One can do anything as long as that person puts his or her mind to it. This is mentioned throughout the chapter multiple times. “Nengkan” was used when Rose’s father was fishing, An-Mei was cooking and when both came to America.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Marjorie said...

1. Not Half Right
2. Half and Half

3. My first thought of when I began reading was that this story was not going to be another story centered on the mother, but later on, it becomes more of her story than Rose’s. What really shocked me in this story was how Rose would et such unforgivable things come undone, like the death of her brother. Why would you let him go to such dangerous lengths alone, and when he fell, why did she not immediately react? I found her quite stupid and it bothered me how she could ever live with herself.

4. The relationship between Rose and Ted seems defiant at first, and then dependent. They got together out of defiance of their parents. Ted’s mother had distaste for minorities and Rose’s family was strictly Chinese. Thn when they got married, they relied on each other. He was the hero to her tragedies. Later, she stopped caring and Ted relied on himself.

5. Amy Tan uses flashbacks in “Half and Half” to create a better sense of understanding morals and reasons why she should save her marriage. The flashback of how her brother, Bing died was purposely used to connect Rose’s conflict now, and rose’s conflict then. She watched Bing die, and in a way, she let it happen. The same goes for her marriage, she saw the signs, and let it fall apart. The flashback draws to her current situation and brings a better moral understanding of “Half and Half”.

6. The theme of “Half and Half” is how things happen by chance or fate, while the other half happens by you trying to make them happen. Rose’s problem is learned when she sees she let fate run her course. She talks to her mother in the end, of what she should do for her marriage. Her mother tells her, “You must think for yourself, what you must do. If someone tells you, then you are not trying.” Rose thinks about what she says, and understands how she was only one-half.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger CHELSEA<3 said...

1. Fate vs. Faith
2. “Half & Half”
3. This vignette was interesting to read, but also extremely sad. When Rose’s mother told her she should still try and Rose asks what she could do, her mother says, “You must think for yourself, what you must do. If someone tells you, then you are not trying” (140). I think that statement is wise and is true for everyone. When one asks what he/she should do, that person is giving up. Instead of thinking what he/she should do, they’re asking what someone else would do when they should decide what to do because it’s their own life, their fate. When roes thought that “fate is shaped half by expectation and half by inattention” (140), I thought that was true, as well. When someone knows or realized something that’ll happen, it’s up to that person to either do something to change it or just let it happen. Also, I wonder why Rose did nothing to help save Bing. Why didn’t she leave the fight to her mother to break it up and save Bing? Or if she couldn’t leave the fight, why didn’t she at least yell out that Bing is going to fall in the water? I wonder if Rose felt guilty for not saving him when she’s the only one who saw him. I also thought Rose’s other brothers are exceedingly selfish for waiting in the car reading comic books as everyone searched for Bing.
4. The relationship of Ted and Rose would be described as changing. When they first began dating, the two became inseparable, “[clinging] to each other with a rather silly desperation,” like “two halves creating the whole: yin and yang.” But soon after they were married, the two began to lose communication. When they discussed matters a couple would decide together, Rose would end up saying “Ted, you decide.” Soon, there were no more discussions, allowing Ted to choose everything. But after he lost his first malpractice lawsuit, he began to push Rose to make decisions on her own, leaving her confused. Clearly, the two’s relationship began to die, leading to their divorce.
5. Amy tan uses flashbacks in this vignette. She begins telling about Rose’s relationship with Ted, how they went from love to slowly dying down, and her telling her mother she’s getting a divorce. Then, she flashes back to the day on the beach where Bing fell into the water where Rose was told to watch him. Rose saw him about to fall; but, did nothing about it. The same thing with Ted happened. She saw the signs of their marriage falling apart; but, did nothing about it.
6. I think the life lesson one can grasp from this vignette is that you shouldn’t stop trying. When one sees that things may be going bad, he/she shouldn’t give up. You should try to save it or make it better. For example, Rose’s mother still went back to the beach to look for Bing in hopes that he will be there. Also, her mother wanted her to fix her marriage with Ted and not give up. A life lesson in this vignette would be you never know, if you don’t try. If you don’t try, you’ll never know what could have been, or how the situation could have gone better. If you keep trying, maybe one day a miracle would happen.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 3:16:00 PM  
Blogger nguyenvivian said...

1. “When Faith Takes Over”

2. “Half and Half”

3. I believe that this, by far, was the saddest chapter. At first, it seemed fine and happy, Ted and Rose falling in love and getting married. Then just because he lost a lawsuit, his personality began to change. I thought how he accused Rose of only marrying him because she repeated after the minister was really harsh. It was like a slap in the face. It made me sad to see their marriage fail so quickly. The scene at the beach made me remember family gatherings and picnics my family goes to every year, but instead of nine of us, there were seven. We always followed where my mother took us and ate sandwiches for lunch, just like the Hsus. Like Rose, my mom always told me to watch after the little ones, to make sure they don’t get into any trouble. When Bing walked closer to the reef, I just knew that something bad was going to happen. But I didn’t expect all of the commotion of the dad catching a fish and the brothers getting in a fight to happen all at once. What really surprised me was that Rose just watched her brother fall. She didn’t even jump in to save him or tell someone what she witnessed. At the end, it was depressing to see An-Mei believe that Bing would come back. Waiting and waiting, never giving up faith until she knew he was gone forever.

4. Rose and Ted had a relationship that came from rebellion. Because both their mothers opposed they get married, they went through with it. Rose was also dependent upon Ted. She said “[she] was victim to his hero” (125) and that he was always there to rescue her. But she put too much dependency on Ted, never making a decision for herself. Whatever Ted said, went. And eventually, he snapped, not able to take all the responsibility of deciding on everything anymore, which led to him wanting a divorce.

5. Amy Tan uses the flashback scene to the day they lost Bing to show how that event affected Rose and her mother. For her mother, she lost her faith is God. Because he didn’t bring Bing back no matter how much she prayed and offered to the gods, she doesn’t believe in the Bible anymore. For Rose, she lost her hope and the reason to try to change something. Because of that, when her and Ted’s marriage is on the verge of collapse, she says “There’s no hope. There’s no reason to keep trying.” (139). The scene shows how Rose never really changed. It helps us see how she thinks there’s no point.

6. I think the theme in this chapter is to never give up hope, even when there seems there’s nothing left. In the line “fate is shaped half by expectation” (140) I think it’s saying that what you want and believe plays a role in how things will turn out. If we expect the situation to fail, then it most likely will. But if we try to make it better, then there’s a chance that things will go our way.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 3:45:00 PM  
Blogger yehray said...

Raymond Yeh

1. Fifty-Fifty Chance
2. Half and Half
3. I was pretty surprised that the little kid was killed off in the story. I was also surprised that the family didn’t really seem to care that the little kid died. Rose just sat there and let him drown, not even alerting her own family members. When the police deemed the search hopeless, the family just went home and had the feeling of “oh well, he died, too bad for him”. Perhaps Amy tan did not describe their grief too well. The only aspects of sorrow she mentions is the mother praying to God and the writing of a death list in the Bible.
4. An-Mei’s relationship with God started out to be strong. She would carry around a bible and go the church every Sunday. When Bing drowned, An-Mei believed she could use faith to change fate. She prayed to God and hoped that Bing would still be alive. Turns out he’s dead. An-Mei then “discovered that maybe it was fate all along, that faith was just an illusion that somehow you're in control." (121). She gave up her trust of God and wedged her bible underneath the kitchen table.
5. Amy Tan uses a flashback for almost the entire chapter. It shows how that even though Bing was claimed by the sea, An-Mei never gave up hope in finding him. She went back to the beach to search for him and prayed to God hoping that her intense faith would bring him back. She even wrote Bing’s name on the “deaths” page in erasable pencil because she hoped she could one day erase the name off the list. All of this shows how Rose wants to be like her mother and have hope that she can save her own marriage.
6. I believe that the theme of this chapter is hope. Even though the police searched the waters for hours, An-Mei still believes that Bing is still alive. She and Rose go back to the beach the next day and still try to find him. An-Mei threw a life buoy into the water over and over again until it was torn up. When Rose finds the Bible, she sees that her mother had written Bing Hsu on the “deaths” page in erasable pencil. This might mean that An-Mei still believes that Bing could be alive.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger Sean Massa XP said...

1. Death to my Lifelong Dreams
2. Half and Half
3. As I began to read the text, I understood immediately that Rose’s mother was not a strong Christian woman, because she lost her faith in God. Later on in reading, I found that Mrs. Hsu was ashamed of her daughter when she began to date Ted, a white man. And I also found out that Ted’s mother was not to happy about Ted dating Rose either. It seemed that both mothers were horrible for being so racist, but sadly today’s society is somewhat like that today. As I read on, Rose said that their love was from the danger of being in each other’s company, and not so much as sex. I thought the company part was good, but the disobeying parent’s aspect, I didn’t believe. Their relationship beginning was quite similar to Romeo and Juliet, a secret forbidden love that was not wanted by both families. This was different from Romeo and Juliet however, because the families were not rivals, but instead racists. Rose began describing the relationship between her and Ted, her new husband, being quite Victorian, where Ted was head of household, making all the decisions for the two. I knew instantly after I read this that their relationship was going to fall apart. This was quite similar to my own parent’s relationship before their divorce, where my dad made all the decisions, not letting my mom have much of a say at all. A successful marriage takes two people making decisions, and working through hardships with each other. Rose’s relationship with Ted seemed to be quite extreme, where Ted made all the decisions, then forced Rose to do the same. Ted was quite self-absorbed, as seen when he told Rose: “What would you have done with your life if I had never married you” (120). Overall, Ted’s self-centeredness caused him to neglect the aspect that marriage is made of teamwork, and thus their relationship ended in a crash. I noticed too that Ted was a medical doctor, and I too notice that most medical doctors think they are always right, thus leading to their self-centered attitude; I see this in my father also. When I read later on that Ted tried to suck the red veins out of a woman’s face, I was quite shocked. Since I am taking physiology, I know that this would be a very illogical act, being that veins are needed to supply nutrients to the skin layers of one’s body. Later on in the text, I read about Rose’s deep depression that she felt when she was going to divorce, saying that you can’t trust anyone, not even God. This left no hope in her life and so she seemed to remain a depressed figure throughout the story. I realize that even if we stumble in life, we need to get up and start anew, and forget about past problems and tragedies. If she followed this, then she would probably be a happier person. I noticed a couple of religious aspects that were very contradictory throughout the story. An-mei Hsu was supposed to be a “true genuine Christian,” but I noticed many things that went against this. I noticed her faith was not a “true” faith in God, because she also believed in household gods and in Daoism, in balance of elements. In this way she used syncretism to combine her Christian beliefs and old Chinese beliefs, making up her own authentic religious beliefs. Rose laughed at the idea of her Chinese family trying to be an American family when they went down to the beach. I questioned this concept because there is no definition for what exactly a true American family is, as well as what a Chinese family is. As I read, I noticed that Rose said her mother was always “worried beyond reason” (123). I picked this up because this term could be used to describe most of the women from China that we have learned about in this book; then again this term could be used to reflect motherly instincts also. When I read that An-mei named three of her eldest sons Matthew, Mark, and Luke, I noticed something immediately. Those three names are the first three names of the books in the New Testament, thus An-mei named her sons after books of the Bible. When I read that the book The Twenty-six Malignant Gates, I thought the whole thing was silly and nonsense. How would a book know the fate of children, in just a few pages? I honestly questioned Chinese beliefs in superstition, and why did they believe these false texts so trustingly. One major event that baffled me in the chapter was the disappearance of Bing after he fell into the water. If Rose was watching him the whole time, how could they lose him? Even with a strong tide, it should have been quite easy to find his body, unless there were extremely strong winds and gigantic waves. And in the text, the family reacted in seconds; how then did they still lose him? Still, shock hit me when I found out they couldn’t find him. I thought it was kind of silly that An-mei and Rose went back to look for him the next day. If he had been in the ocean for that long, the tide would have taken him out very far. I wondered why An-mei began begging to God if she had no more faith, and also why she believed a Coiling Dragon had her son in the sea; this also contradicted Christianity. I thought it was quite ridiculous of her to throw her expensive ring into the sea also. I did feel sorry for their family, however, because they lost someone they loved, who was so close and dear to them; this is something I can’t relate to. An-mei’s overall faith in God was just used so she could get his blessings; this was the same reason she believed in her other polytheistic household gods. One last thing that left me pondering was when Rose discovered that her mother wrote “Deaths” in her Bible. Was her mother expecting more deaths to come soon? Did she actually believe it was God’s fault? Did she believe this was foretold in her book? Overall, Rose’s story was filled with depression, describing the hopeless disasters in her life.
4. The relationship between Rose and her husband Ted could be described as a one sided love. This can be seen when Ted made all the decisions for Rose, making the marriage not a team effort, but instead a self effort. He tried to be in charge of their marriage, but after one small mistake he tried to force all the responsibility on Rose, who wasn’t used to it, and thus she couldn’t handle it. Overall, the extremes in their marriage caused the relationship to be one-sided and doomed from the start.
5. Tan’s use of foreshadowing helped improve this particular chapter. She used phrases that hinted at a negative that was going to happen in the future. Right at the start of the story, Rose states that her mother uses the Bible to “correct the imbalances in life” (116). This hinted that something bad was going to happen in their lives. Another foreshadowing could be seen when Rose stated that the day they went to the beach her “mother lost her faith in God” (121). This hinted at some future terrible tragedy because it must have taken a lot in order for someone to lose their well trusted faith. Overall, Tan’s use of foreshadowing was used to pull readers in, making them want to know more about the multiple misfortunes that occurred.
d. The allegory at the story, which revealed Rose’s divorce, related to the story of Bing’s death. In both, Rose saw the signs of what was going to happen, something bad, although she never took any action. In Bing’s death, she was watching him. She watched him fall in, but she didn’t move, she just stared at him, thinking elsewhere. During her marriage, Rose saw her husband being overly controlling, but she never went against any of his decisions, she just agreed during each time. Overall, her neglect to take action in these problems caused both her brother and her marriage to die.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 5:44:00 PM  
Blogger carmen c. said...

1. “Make Up Your Mind!”
2. THE TWENTY-SIX MALIGNANT GATES: “ROSE HSU JORDAN: Half and Half”
3. I felt that Rose and Ted’s relationship is a good example of two people who fall in love despite what their family members say and think. Rose is Chinese while Ted is American. Their decision making schedule confused me because I thought that each person should make their own decisions about things. However, since Rose can’t decide about things, I guess their routine worked out fine. I felt that Rose should have made decisions when Ted wanted her to make decisions instead of him and maybe that would save their marriage from falling apart. I felt very sad and heartbroken when Bing falls off into the water. I was mad at Rose because she did nothing to try and save her younger brother. She didn’t tell anyone about what happened to Bing and I just wanted to shout at her for doing that. I was amazed when Rose’s mother drove the car to the beach even though everyone knew that their father was the only one who could drive. I felt that her nengkan was very strong and her willpower to find her son was tremendous.
4. The relationship between Rose and Ted can be described as follow the leader. After Ted and Rose get married, they played roles of leader and follower. Ted made decisions for both of them while Rose followed. After Ted became stressed out and wanted Rose to be the leader and make decisions, their marriage fell apart. Without guidance and one of them to take care of every little thing, they ended up separating.
5. One writing technique I notice Amy Tan using is flashbacks. Rose’s attitude did not change throughout the story. When she was young, she couldn’t make up her mind. The fact that she allowed Bing to die without telling anyone shows that her mind could not choose to do the right thing. When Rose grows up, she ends up getting a divorce because she simply could not make decisions when she her husband was stressed out and needed someone to make simple decisions for him. Flashbacks improves the story by allowing readers to compare and contrast characters.
6. This chapter is connected to the allegory at the start of the section. Ted’s mother and Rose’s mother disapproved of Ted and Rose’s relationship from the start. The mothers warned them about their feelings but Ted and Rose ended up marrying each other. In the end, the couple separated and got a divorce. They didn’t listen to their mothers and received a broken heart. Rose didn’t fully listen to her mother about taking care of Bing. Although Rose watched over Bing, her laziness and selfish needs allowed her younger brother to drown to death.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 5:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

1. Not What I Wanted
2. "Half and Half"

3. I really loved this chapter because I thought it was both beautiful and touching. I liked how the chapter started optimistically with the mentioning of Rose's relationship with Ted and how they were in love and rebellious. The scenes later switched to the family beach picnic and I thought it was really sweet how close the family seemed to be.The chapter slowly foreshadowed something dangerous as it mentioned the Twenty-Six Malignant Gates and the sea cove. I was overwhelmed by Bing's death because I didn't expect a young child to die so unfairly in this book. D;

4. Rose Hsu and Ted's relationship can be described as a dying rebellion. At first Rose and Ted were blissfully happy with their relationship that was disapproved by Ted's family. They felt that their love can survive no matter what anyone says. Unfortunately, Ted and Rose began to grow apart due to the weight of the responsibility that a relationship asks for. In the end, their relationship was only formed due to a rush of adrenaline

5. In this chapter, Amy Tan uses foreshadowing. Rose Hsu describes the Twenty-Six Malignant Gates and she describes the different tragedies that befall children on certain days. There was also a picture of a young boy falling off a bridge. Soon after at the beach trip, Bing falls off the reefs into the water and died.

6. This chapter connects back to the allegory because both stories have a child not listening to what they're told to do. In the allegory, a young girl doesn't listen to her mother because she didn't believe in the Twenty-Six Malignant Gates. In the end she falls as predicted. In the chapter, Bing doesn't listen to Rose when she warns him to be careful around the reefs. He eventually disobeys her and falls to his death.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 6:24:00 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

1. The Magic of Will Power
2. Half and Half
3. This chapter was pretty straightforward and I enjoyed reading it. It really frustrated me that Rose wasn't willful and was incredibly indecisive. So many things happened because she lacked the ability to chose for herself. If she had been more willful and actually made some decisions in her marriage, she might have been able to save it. If she were as determined to save Bing as her mother was, then maybe they would have found him. It was her lack of decisiveness that caused Bing to fall into the waters in the first place. I was so frustrated when I read that she just stood there trying to decide what to do instead of letting her impulse kick in and dive in after her baby brother. Not only was Rose inable to make up her mind, she does not even try to save her marriage or look for her brother. I'm not only sad because of Bing being lost, I'm angry at Rose for not even trying to do something about it.
4. The relationship between Rose and her husband Ted was a basic damsel in distress relationship. In the beginning, Ted was always there for Rose and he always protected her. He called all the shots and made sure everything was okay. Later on, the damsel in distress portion of the relationship starts to wear off and Ted pushes Rose to make decisions and be his partner in marriage instead of being constantly protected and shielded by him. It's proven that she cannot handle the challenges that stand before her, not even the simple ones such as what to eat for dinner. Ted eventually tires of Rose's neediness and dependency on him and leaves her.
5. One writing technique that enhances the chapter is flashbacks. Tan flashes back to the time before Rose and Ted got divorced and shows Rose's inability to choose for herself. She flashes back even further to show more about Rose's character and how she didn't learn from her mistakes. The flashbacks showed the ripples effects of Rose's flaws. Not only did she lose her marriage, but she lost her baby brother as well.

6. The main conflict of this chapter is internal. Rose is constantly battling within herself on what decisions she should make. Rose never wins or loses these battles because she always gives up and lets someone else decide for her. Even though there is no obvious outcome, she is still having these emotional battles within herself.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:10:00 PM  
Blogger PamelaY said...

1. “I don’t know, you decide!”
2. “Half and Half”
3. Rose Hsu Jordan reminds me of myself; in that like her, I am never able to decide things for myself. I was shocked at how much a person could change because of one lawsuit, and was disgusted at how Ted acted towards Rose afterwards. I was appalled at how rude Ted’s mother was to Rose when she first met her; and if I were Rose, I might have considered telling her to “back off,” even if it isn’t the smart thing to do. How would she like it if people asked her if she supported Hitler if she was German? It makes me scared to get married and meet parent-in-laws.
4. The relationship between Rose and her mother-in-law at first can be described as picky choosing. When they first met, Mrs. Jordan made it clear to Rose that she wanted him “to concentrate on his medical studies,” and that she didn’t favor people of the Vietnam War (124).
5. The writing technique Amy Tan used in this chapter was flashbacks. In the beginning of the section, Rose was considering speaking to her mother about a divorce with her husband, Ted. Several paragraphs later, she spoke of how she came to know Ted; and soon after, why her mother always left her bible underneath the table.
6. b. The main conflict of this chapter is human vs. nature. It is external, and is shown when Bing disappeared “without leaving so much as a ripple in the water” (133). After searching for him for hours, the family lost the battle against nature, along with their youngest child.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:53:00 PM  
Blogger dark bad dan said...

Dan Truong
Period 06

Expect the Unexpected
(on “Half and Half”)

3) I thought “Half and Half” was the most sad and depressing chapter. Amy Tan began this chapter with a light-mood. It pulled me in and was a lot better than “Voice from the Wall”. I couldn’t stop flipping the pages even while I was taking a huge dump. Suddenly the mood shifts and Rose takes you to a depressing time where she describes fate taking away her brother. I knew something unfortunate would happen because Tan foreshadowed it in her words when she starts things off positive and then they become negative.

4) I would describe the relationship between Rose and An-Mei as stable and loving. They didn’t yell or argue with each other, like how Waverly and her mother argued. An-Mei has a lot of wisdom and faith, and Rose looks up to her as a role model. An-mei gives advice to Rose, like on her marriage, and Rose listens to it, thought she doesn't necessarily do what her mother tells her to do, but at least she shows her mother respect by actually listening to what her mother has to say.

5) Amy Tan used flashback in this chapter. At first it began with Rose’s issue with her husband Ted requesting a divorce, and then Rose flashes back to the time when she goes to the beach with her family to act like an American family, but then her brother dies. This flashback is related to her divorce because she believes that there are two halves that shaped fate; inattention, and expectation. Rose’s inattention to her and Ted’s marriage causes him to want a divorce, but it is also expected because Rose is the one that has Ted make all the decisions for her. Bing’s death is also decided by fate, due to Rose’s inattention.

6d) The allegory for this chapter is about a child who disobeys her mother’s warnings and ends up hurting herself. Like this girl, Rose goes on to marry Ted even though An-mei opposes it. In the end, just as the child falls from her bike, Rose’s marriage becomes doomed and she ends up divorcing Ted. Also, Bing did not follow Rose’s directions and so falls into the ocean and dies. He does not listen Rose and so hurts himself. That is how the allegory is connected to this chapter.


;-;

Sunday, January 04, 2009 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy Nham said...

1. Faithless
2. Half and Half
3. Wow, who would’ve thought that the Jordan’s family outing can turn into a tragedy. It was incredibly sad that Bing’s death could’ve been avoided if things didn’t happen at the wrong moments. I also felt bad for An-mei because she believed so strongly that her faith in God would help her find her son’s body yet her faith failed her and she became deeply disappointed in the end. But, I really did like how like how Rose connected Bing’s death to her own divorce and to the reason why her mother “doesn’t” put her faith in God anymore.
4. I would describe Rose and Ted’s relationship and as doomed. At the start, Rose’s mom didn’t approve of their marriage. The same went for Ted’s mom. Then when Ted was sued, his feelings changed and he and Rose argued over trivial things causing them to decide to divorce. If it wasn’t the disapproval from their families that broke them up, it would’ve been for other reasons, like Ted getting sued.
5. One writing technique that Amy Tan used was similes. When Rose realized that their argument can lead to separation, she described she and Ted were on separate mountain peaks, throwing stones at each other, not noticing the dangers of falling off. Similes help better understand a situation. In this case, it helps readers understand the status of Rose and Ted’s marriage and how it was on thin ice.
6. The main conflict of the chapter in human vs. self. Rose is at a difficult time in her life since she is on the verge of a divorce. She dismisses the possibility of she and Ted resolving the issues because she doesn’t have the faith that there was no chance. Therefore, she doesn’t want to try. She is basically her own worst enemy.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 8:16:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lai said...

1. Endless Hope

2. Half and Half
3. Such a sad chapter this was, although the death of Bing wasn’t unexpected, to me at least. I thought the sudden jump from a happy family vacation to a saddening forlorn scene was brilliant. It really sucked me into the chapter, making me want to read faster and faster. While reading this chapter, I could really the family’s disheartening pain, but what really got to me was that her mother kept searching. She never gave up hope which made the scene more powerful. I just felt worse when her mother never found Bing and that she was forced to give up. I believed she would keep searching and searching until she saw Bing with her two eyes, dead.

4. The relationship between Rose and Ted seemed to be controlling, although it may be willing. Rose never made her own decisions and so Ted made them for her. The constant “Ted you decide” phrase comes up a few times, portraying Rose’s indecisive behavior and that Ted decides everything for them makes him seem somewhat controlling.
5. I noticed there were a few occasions of symbolism that Amy tan uses in this chapter, but the one that jumped out at me the most was when Rose saw that “[her mother] wrote ‘Bing Hsu’ lightly, in erasable pencil” in a section called “Deaths” within the first page of her mother’s bible (140). I believed this was a symbol of her hope, since most of this chapter discusses about Rose’s mother never giving up hope, and that there is always a way to fix things. The erasable pencil meant, to me, that after all these years, Rose’s mother, An-mei, still believes that there is hope and that one day she may find Bing alive, so she could erase his name off the dreaded “Deaths” list.

6. The theme of this chapter, I believe, is: If you truly believe in something, never give up on it and never lose hope. Rose’s mother never gave up hope after Bing was taken away by the ocean. Instead of mourning for her lost child, she believed he was still alive and the next morning she set out to find him. Although she never did, she never lost hope.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 8:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Tiffany Vuong
6th period
1. Ia Faith in Control of Fate?
2. Half and Half
3. In the beginning of this chapter I remembered doing a journal on interracial dating and brought me back to this passage. Rose's mom is fairly disappointed when she starts to date ted because he's American instead of a Chinese boy from their church. After I was finished reading this chapter I was speechless. Rose saw Bing right there, being sucked into the wave of the ocean and just stood there, still, deciding. Instead of deciding, why couldn’t she run after him? It was heartbreaking to read her standing there motionless, while her little brother is slowly drowning. It pained me so much, to read that no one really blamed her; they blamed themselves. But actually Bing’s death was caused by everyone; everyone took part in his tragic death. Each person was focusing on something else rather than their little brother walking along the reef.
4. Rose and Ted’s relationship could be described as distressing. They weren’t the best couple when they first got married but they weren’t living with regret or they weren’t fighting much. But because of the incident of one of his patients, all the tables were turned. That’s when the trouble began. And I think their situation is distressing because it wasn’t because of each other, it was really from what had happened to his patient and how she sued him.
5. In this chapter, Amy Tan uses a flashback to connect the situation she was going through with Ted to the tragic death of her little brother, Bing. The flashback emphasized the reason why her mom wanted her to try to fix her relationship with Ted.
6. a. You have the ability to do anything you put your mind to. The scene that reveals this theme is when the mom learns how to drive almost perfectly overnight. Showing how much she wanted to find Bing, and emphasizing the theme: having the ability to do anything you put your mind to.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 8:21:00 PM  
Blogger Krasivaia Natasha said...

1. sapphire sacrifice
2. half and half
3. I was impressed at the faith or “Nengkan” that the family showed while looking for their son. Although in the end it wasn’t enough to save Bing from his death. Although I seems like this strong sense of belief did work, Rose’s mother drove without ever trying before, Bing was forever lost. The faith that her mother had, that she could protect all her children was great.
4. The relationship between Rose and her mother can be called respect. Rose can see how much faith she had in God. How she thought that anything she really put her mind into, she can do. Rose was impressed by the things that her mother was able to accomplish because of this mentality she came to America, bought a hours in the sunset district, and drive for the first time. When her mother told her to come look for Bing with her she did not object and just followed her the next day. She watched how her valuable sapphire was thrown into waters in an attempt to please the God’s anger
5. I think the use of local color in the dialogue was interesting. Nengkan is a deeper Chinese way of “ doing anything you put your mind into”. Also when her mother reminds Rose to “Dangsying Tamende shenti” it has a more deep meaning. She has to watch for their bodies. It is more serious in Chinese.
6. I think the allegory is shown most in this chapter. The story at the beginning of the vignettes showed how the mother had a book that told of all the bad things that could happen to a child. Rose’s fears came from the same book, the twenty-six malignant gates. Even though her mother tried to take everything into consideration Bing was lost. He wasn’t watched by Rose and they couldn’t find him in the sea.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 9:22:00 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

1. "Looking towards Faith"
2. "Half and Half"
3. I think this chapter was the best chapter so far even though it was really depressing. I really wanted for them to find Bing but I knew it was useless. The way the mother struggles and keeps believing that she will be able to find her son made it ten times worse when she didn’t. She claims that she has lost her faith in God but I don’t think that’s completely true because she still keeps the Bible around and makes sure it does not become dirty. It was annoying because the Amy Tan kept getting my hopes up whenever there was something that resembled Bing but it turned out to be something like seaweed. Rose Hsu Jordan must feel just as remorseful as her mother because she saw the accident happen but was too in shock to do anything. She blames herself for a lot of things, even for her divorce because she saw the signs in front of her, but did not do anything about them. I feel sorry for her but I also am angry at her. She can’t make any decision for herself and she knows that she can prevent things from happening, but she does not act on it.
4. The relationship between Bing Hsu and his mother can be described as loving. The reader can clearly see that they once had a very close relationship; otherwise her mother would not believe that she will eventually find Bing. She never gives up because she cannot imagine losing such a big part of her life. She goes so far as to learning to drive in one day and becomes a little crazy with hallucinations during her search.
5. Amy Tan uses flashbacks in “Half and Half” to show why Rose Hsu Jordan should save her marriage. By telling the story of her brother, how she could have prevented his death, she connects it to her divorce. Her mother is a smart woman and always tries to think positively by encouraging her daughter that she still has time to save her marriage. Rose Hsu Jordan even admits that she saw the signs much like how she saw Bing falling before he actually fumbled into the water. This flashback shows that it is possible to still save her marriage if she acts on it quicker.
6. I think the theme of this chapter is to never lose hope. Even though Rose’s mother claims to have given up, she still has the Bible under her kitchen table which means that she hasn’t completely given up. She still encourages her daughter to save her marriage. If she continues to lose hope, she will keep repeating the same mistakes again. I think that if she didn’t just sit there, she would’ve had a fighting chance at saving her brother but instead she was hesitate, because she didn’t believe she could and she just lost hope.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger Raman said...

“Deaths: Bing Hsu”
Half and Half
1. This chapter was extremely sad. First of all, poor Rose is getting a divorce. I thought it was kind of stupid that she depended on her husband for everything and never made a decision by herself. I despise theses kinds of weak women. But I can see how Rose got addicted to the feeling of being “saved” by Ted. It would be nice not to have to worry about anything, and instead just rely on my husband. However, this kind of dependence is not healthy psychologically. It allows Rose to become malleable and easily swayed. In being so, parts of Rose’s identity are lost. It was also depressing that Rose’s brother, Bing, was tragically lost to the sea. It broke my heart to see An-Mei try so hard to find Bing. All the rituals she preformed were of no use. Bing was still dead. Even still, I would not let my grief interfere with my faith in God. I would just remember that everything happens for a reason, even if I cannot see it. It also broke my heart to see everyone blaming themselves. It wasn’t anyone’s fault that Bing died, but rather an unfortunate set of circumstances. I can’t blame Rose for blaming herself though. I’m sure I would have done the same thing in her situation.
2. The relationship between Rose and An-Mei seems to represent the conflict between fate vs. faith. Rose feels that all of the unfortunate things that happen to her in her life are the work of fate, and therefore unavoidable. She refuses to try to save her relationship with Ted. She also sees Bing’s death as fated to happen. On the other hand, An-Mei believes that with enough faith, you can fix just about any circumstance. Rose is afraid that “she’ll still persuade [her] to try” to fix her marriage (123). Even after Bing is presumed dead, An-Mei does not give up hope that Bing is still alive. Only after it is clear that Bing is not returning does An-Mei seem to accept that Bing is not coming back, and with that acceptance, she dies a little inside. Yet the fact that Bing’s name is written in the “death’s” section of the bible in an erasable pencil says that she has not completely given up the hope that Bing is still alive, and therefore, she has not given up her faith.
3. In this chapter, Amy Tan uses a lot of flashbacks. Her flashbacks explain how Rose and Ted got married, and how that marriage falls apart. She then flashbacks to show how Bing died and how An-Mei consequently lost her faith. The use of flashbacks improves the story by explaining past event and giving insight to how the characters felt throughout the course of the story.
4. The main conflict in this story is Human vs. Self. Rose is scared by the event that takes place with her brother, leaving her unable to make decisions. This is seen in her belief with fate rather than faith. She battles with this weakness when her marriage is failing, trying to take charge with her life. Whether nor not she was successful in her endeavors remains to be seen.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger The Showboater said...

Sean Thai
Period 7
Feng Shui, Yin and Yang
Half and Half
3) Throughout this chapter, the depressing mood continued, but in a more earthly way. Last chapter, I was left depressed and feeling morbid by preternatural things, but in this chapter I was brought back down to earth, by a combination of life, gravity, and Murphy’s law. I was shocked throughout the chapter, for so many times I had thought they rescued Bing, only to have the happy rays of sunshine to be ripped to shreds in the awesome fury of deception. Throughout the chapter, I was touched by the strength and will An-mei has. I was also touched by the belief of nengkan, “[her] ability to do anything [she] put her mind too,” (128).
4) In this chapter, I think the relationship between Rose and Ted was special. In this chapter I really do believe that they loved each other, but it became samething different as it progressed. I think that their relationship started out as love, but grew into a mere rebellious cause, and was fed by the youthfulness of the two when they had been younger. I believe the best place where we can see this is the whole bottom half of page 125, like where she realizes that “that they had clung to each other with a rather silly desperation,” and how she believed that “with [the] imagined tragedy hovering over us, we became insperable,” (125), from this I think they became almost best friends not really in a romantic relationship.
5) The writing style of this chapter, with so many flashbacks, reminds of Kindred. By using flashbacks, Tan provides a happy mood, while the real life provides the sad and heart breaking parts of life.
6) This chapter, I am proud to say, actually connects to the allegory very well, and we can see why. During this chapter, one can see that if people do not pay attention closely, everything they love and work hard for withers and dies right before their eyes. One perfect example is how when Rose takes her eyes off of Bing for one second, he dies, sadly enough, while she cannot do anything but watch in horror.

Sunday, January 04, 2009 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Annnnnie. said...

Anchors of My Life

“Half and Half”

1. “Half and Half” brought tears to my eyes by the time I finished reading it. I was amazed that Rose and Ted would divorce over a silly matter like fighting over who gets to decide things. The flaws in their relationship did not seem serious at first. However, their lack of agreement on everything soon served to be a problem, “Credit card or cash” or “MasterCard or Visa” (120). I felt terrible pity for them. I felt suspicious; the mood of the beach trip had been too calm at first. However, when Rose says that she “[worries] beyond reason inside” (123), I could tell that something terrible would be happening. Right before Bing falls in, Rose knows that he will fall in but does nothing to stop him. I was shocked, as shocked as Rose was after she realized what just happened. That’s when the tears began to well up. I felt pity for Rose’s family, her mother especially. She wouldn’t give up on trying to find her four-year-old son and even prayed to God, never losing her faith. Even now, when Rose opens that Bible wedged underneath the table, An-Mei has never given up hope that her son would one day be returned to her by God.

2. I think Rose and Ted had a one-sided relationship. It felt like they had a good start. However, in a relationship, both people have to contribute their ideas and combine them together to reach an agreeable decision. At first, Rose was the dependent one in the relationship, allowing Ted to make all their decisions. However, when Ted’s feelings about “what he called ‘decision and responsibility’ changed” (119), the dependency also shifted. Ted now asked Rose to decide everything for their relationship, even the most trivial matters including “Italian food or Thai” or “one appetizer or two” (120). Things changed in their relationship, for the worse.

3. Amy Tan uses a couple of flashbacks in “Half and Half” to help improve the storyline and help readers understand the past behind the present story. Tan uses a flashback to tell about how Rose and Ted met, how their relationship started out, and what went wrong. She also included a flashback about Rose and her family’s first beach trip to explain why her mother had lost faith in her religion, and give some background information about her family.

4. The lifelong message in this vignette seems to be that, “Don’t lose faith.” An-mei, despite knowing that her son was gone, goes back to the beach and continues to search, doing everything that she could even if it was to no avail. She never loses faith in God and by writing Bing’s name in erasable pencil, she is still hoping that Bing’s fate may change and that one day, he would return to her. Her faith has kept her going and that is what Amy Tan wants us to learn, “Don’t lose faith” and we’ll have the power to move on.

Monday, January 05, 2009 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger marshmichello said...

1. Faith vs. Fate
2. Half and Half
3. Rose wants to tell her mother that she and Ted are getting divorced, but she is afraid that her mother will tell her to keep trying to work out the problems instead of divorcing. Then Rose talks about how she and her husband met and what led to the divorce. I thought the reactions of the parents were interesting because Rose is Chinese and Ted is Caucasian. Ted's parents seemed accepting of that fact, but his mother wanted him to concentrate on his career. Rose and Ted ended up getting married anyway. Ted was the decision maker in the relationship, that is until he accidentally "sucked out" someone's facial nerve and got sued. From then on, things went downhill. Ted kept pushing Rose to make decisions and got angry when she didn't. I felt sorry for both Ted and Rose. Ted had to live with ruining someone's face, and Rose was so used to Ted making decisions that she couldn't make any herself. Then Rose flashes back and talks about how she lost her younger brother. I was really sad when Bing fell into the water, and was never found. I felt even worse when Rose and her mother kept looking for him and Rose's mother kept thinking she saw him, but never did. In the end, Rose tells her mother about the divorce and she tells Rose she must try. When her mother leaves the room, Rose pulls out the Bible from under the table leg and sees "Bing Hsu" written in pencil under "Deaths." I thought that was a very good ending to this vignette; it shows that her mother never really lost faith.
4. Ted was dominant in the relationship between him and Rose. He always decided things because Rose let him, she never wanted to. That was how their relationship worked. However, when Ted made a mistake and caused an accident, it threw everything off balance. He no longer wanted to make the decisions. He was afraid to have the responsibility. He didn't want to deal with the consequences. Ted began to push Rose to make the decisions and their relationship fell apart. Ted eventually asked for a divorce.
5. Bing Hsu's name written in the Bible is very symbolic. It seemed like Rose's mother had lost her faith after losing Bing because she put the Bible she always carried under a table leg. However, at the end of the chapter, Rose opens the book and finds her brother's name written in "erasable pencil" under "Deaths." This shows that her mother had not completely lost faith; the name could easily be erased.
6. The allegory at the beginning of the story suggests that children should listen to their mothers. Rose tells her mother she is getting a divorce and her mother tells her to keep trying instead. It doesn't hurt to try. Her mother doesn't want her to lose faith. If Rose listens to her mother, it just might save her marriage.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 3:19:00 AM  
Blogger Vernana Dee said...

Losing My Religion
"Half and Half"
1.To echo almost all of the other comments, I thought this chapter was really sad. I wasn't expecting Bing's death. Amy Tan had already set up a nice little family trip at the beach and then bam! At first, I wasn't sure if I was reading it right because what had happened was too crazy and morbid. It's when thing to have your brother die but it just elevates to an extremely terrifying level when you watch him die and do nothing about it. What Rose did was...horrible like beyond words. I guess I can relate to what happened to Rose when she watched Bing drown. I’ve had moments where I just space out completely and practically feel paralyzed like I was in a dream. I think Rose was feeling the same thing; that moment felt so surreal that she felt like she there was nothing to do. That’s such a traumatic experience; I can’t imagine how much it scarred her.
I couldn’t believe how racist Ted’s mother was. How she clumped the Vietnamese and the Chinese was stupid. This is another reason why I don’t understand Rose. Why would she marry someone if you can’t even get along with their mother? It’s not like she’ll be out of their lives as a married couple because if she were that wouldn’t be fair to Ted.

2.Ted and Rose’s relationship was derived from passion. But like a flame on a candle (I hope that phrase isn’t as clichéd as I think it is), their passion slowly died down. When the initial passion ran out, I think they didn’t know how to handle each other in a slowed down relationship. I think they jumped the gun on the relationship because they probably didn’t see who their partner really was and how living with them would offset their own personality. I don’t think their relationship was a very healthy one. Like Rose mentioned, she was always the damsel in distress and Ted was always there to rescue her. Rose should have realized that eventually Ted wasn’t going to save her, she needed to save herself. I think Ted and Rose are complete opposites of each and that their relationship only validates the truth of the saying: opposites attract.
3.Amy Tan uses flashbacks to juxtapose Rose’s current situation with Bing’s death. Flashing back to her brother’s death, helped build Rose’s and An-Mei’s character. In the flashback, Rose just watches Bing drown just as she’s watching her relationship essentially drown. An-Mei, on the other, has tremendous faith; faith that Ted and Rose’s marriage can be saved and faith that Bing was actually alive somewhere.
4.Rose’s story relates to the allegory in the beginning because, like the girl on the bike, Rose wasn’t paying attention to Bing nor her withering relationship with Ted. Also, Rose mentions the Twenty-Six Gates as is mentioned within the allegory. And resembling the mother from the allegory, An-Mei is trying to help Rose by trying to save her marriage. Rose can’t seem to grasp the concept of nengkhan and undying faith that her mother holds so near and dear. The little girl on the bike and Rose both seem ignorant to old Chinese culture.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 8:43:00 PM  
Blogger Myles said...

1. Trying Isn’t Good Enough
2. “Half and Half”
3. In this chapter, “Half and Half”, Rose and her husband Ted are going through a divorce. Going through a divorce could be very hard on both spouses and I have seen it since my parents are getting a divorce. I do not like how a lot of people say they do not mind about anything and never make decisions. I used to be one of those kinds of people like Rose or Ted, later in the chapter. Now I think it is annoying and if someone asks what someone else’s opinion is about something that person should just answer because they were asked. There is nothing to be worried about. Also, when Bing fell into the sea, I got very worried and hoped that he would be alright, although Rose mentioned Bing as if she doesn’t see him anymore and that sort of set me in the direction that something that happened to Bing that made him sound like he was gone.
4. The character that I focused on in this chapter was Mrs. Hsu. She doesn’t seem to take care of her children in the chapter because she asked Rose to look after all four of her brothers while her two older sisters went off to play on the other side of the beach. I believe that watching over her brothers while her mother relaxes is not a very good way to teach responsibility. Rose was only fourteen at the time and she was supposed to watch over her brothers that were twelve, ten, nine and four. They could act hectic like all boys do at their age and they did when they fought. When the boys fought, excluding Bing, Mrs. Hsu asked Rose to stop their fight when she was pretty close to them and Rose was watching out for Bing. She knew it was a wrong idea after Bing disappeared, but it was too late by then.
5. The main conflict in this chapter is human vs. human. The conflict is conflicts and having to do better than just, trying, to fix them. Rose is in the process of getting a divorce with Ted while she mother tries to tell her to do better than her best to overcome her problems and Ted’s problems with each other. Rose doesn’t even try to stop the divorce between her and her husband when Ted told her he wanted a divorce. By the end of the chapter, Rose implies that she will try because she remembers throughout most of the chapter everything her mother did to try and find her baby boy, Bing.
6. The theme in this chapter is never giving up. To try your hardest and surpass your best to get to your goal even if it seems that the goal is impossible to reach. If someone’s goal is to try and bring someone back from the dead, then that is impossible to the facts that science has created. The line that reveals this is the line, “On the page before the New Testament begins, there’s a section called ‘Deaths,’ and that’s where she wrote ‘Bing Hsu’ lightly, in erasable pencil,” (pg. 131). This line means that even if there is an opinion about something, anyone can try to change it if they try there hardest. That is why the words are written in pencil; because they could have been erased.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 2:47:00 PM  
Blogger Soap on a Rope said...

Arun Jandaur
Period 3
Blog# 4: Half and Half

1. Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!

2. “Half and Half”

3. This was a sad, touching, and religious chapter. When Bing said he wanted to “see Daddy” (Tan 125), it was foreshadowing that he was going to fall. When he fell and even after a few hours they couldn’t find him, it was almost obvious that Bing was dead. That must’ve been a very sad thing for his family to cope with. When Bing’s mother and Rose went the next morning to find Bing, I was surprised to see how religious Rose’s mother was. She chanted something from the bible and even threw a sapphire ring into the ocean. That was scene was tough for me to understand. I didn’t get it when they “saw him light a cigarette, grow tall, and become a stranger” (Tan 129). I did understand the lifesaver, though. I represented Bing’s life and how it got destroyed. It’s interesting how Tan related all of this to Rose’s divorce and how Rose was half watching and half inattentive.

4. I found the character of Rose the most interesting. She seems to be the kind of person who doesn’t change and doesn’t do anything to prevent a tragedy from occurring like her divorce or the death of her brother. Even being the main character, she is merely a spectator. She watched her relationship with her husband slowly dwindle away and snap and she also didn’t do anything, literally, when her brother fell from the cliff. Her actions, or I should say her lack of actions, tell you that she is the kind of person who doesn’t take responsibility for anything and, therefore, certainly won’t share the blame either.

5. I think that the conflict this main character is having is with herself (human vs. self). She may have had a conflict with her husband, but that was temporary. The real fight was within herself and it was whether or not she should do something about what’s happening. She was trying to decide what to do when sand was kicked in Luke’s face and Bing started to fall. She also saw where her relationship was going with her husband Ted and decided to ignore it and acknowledge silently that she was approaching a divorce. Rose never solves this conflict within herself because, by the end of this chapter, Rose is still not taking her mother’s advice to try to save her own marriage somehow.

6. This chapter had a really good flashback. I think that Tan did a good job with it because the entire flashback relates well with how Rose got divorced. In both the current time and the flashback, Rose watched slowly as Bing’s life and her marriage faded away. She was half and half because “[her] fate [was] changed half by expectation, half by inattention” (Tan 131). This quote also tells us a life lesson: Never just sit and watch because it will hit you where it hurts the most and when it’s too late. Rose had to learn this the hard way, twice.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 6:15:00 PM  
Blogger T-DAN said...

Deaths: Bing Hsu
Rose Hsu Jordan: Half and Half

I thought that this vignette was sad for the Hsu had lost a child. Everyone blamed themselves. To An-mei, Rose’s mother, she must have taken it very hard. Since An-mei knew the dangers ahead of time, she became very over protective. Unfortunately, Bing still died. A mother wants to protect her child from anything and everything. Sometimes, mother take it to far. This results in curious children that rebel and experience things from themselves. Sometimes they get hurt in the process. I remember reading a quote about protecting children. Sometimes when you try to protect children from things, they will try to experience it for themselves. Because of this, they will get hurt and you will too get hurt. I’m not sure exactly how the quote went but I remember the idea of protection was in it. To me, I think that a parents’ occupation does involve watching and caring over their children. However, I also believe that the point of being a child to learn and experience new things for themselves. A child can argue that his or her parents are being kill-joys and should leave them alone so they can do whatever they want. (Does that sound familiar to anyone?) However, parents love their children and if they their children were hurt by something they could have prevented, it would hurt.

The conflict in this vignette is external human vs. nature because Bing was taken away from the sea. I think that it may also be human vs. fate as things happen without reason. There is no hope. The conflict is also external human vs. human. Rose breaks the news to her mother that she is getting divorce and her mother opposes it. The conflict is not settled yet and I think the book will continue with Rose and An-mei.

I think that Rose is insightful. Maybe it’s because her vignette differs from the other daughters as she tells some of her story at an older age, but Rose understands her mother more. I really liked these lights, “And I think now that fate is shaped half by expectations, half by inattention. But somehow, when you lose something you love, faith takes over. You have to pay attention to what you lost. You have to undo the expectations. My mother, she still pays attention to it” (131). I am glad Rose is able to talk to her mother about her marriage. I think that Rose understands her mother more or at least tries to unlike the other daughters.

This vignette is related to the allegory that introduced these sets of vignettes. An-mei has also read “The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates.” Like the daughter in the allegory, Rose does not understand the book because it is in Chinese. An-mei had warned her children yet the accident was inevitable like the allegory. Bing fell and like in the allegory his mother could not see or hear him cry.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Ben_Tran said...

1. Flip a coin.
2. “Half and Half”
3. This chapter was very sad, and full of religion. Rose remembers when she and Ted were dating and how her mother and Ted’s parents were against their relationship. Rose clung to Ted and Ted made the decisions in their relationship. When Ted lost his confidence through a malpractice lawsuit, he tried to let Rose make some of the decisions. When Rose didn’t, he became mad and accused her of avoiding responsibility. That’s when Ted wanted a divorce, which shocked Rose. I thought Rose just needs to grow up and start taking responsibility, and Ted did the right thing to make her realize what she needs to do. When Bing fell into the ocean, I thought he was going to be okay. I kept reading and waiting for him to be saved, but I was kind of sad when they never found him. I could see how religious An-Mei was when she threw the sapphire ring into the ocean. I didn’t really like this chapter because of the relationship problems.
4. I think Rose is scared of responsibility because she doesn’t want to be blamed for anything. Whenever something tragic happens, she just stays stationary and watches what happens when she should be helping. She watches Bing drown, and her brother fall off a cliff but I don’t think she blames herself.
5. I think the conflict in this chapter is human vs. self because Rose can’t take responsibility because she’s afraid of blame. When Bing drowns, she can’t build up the courage to go save him, and instead just watches him drown. Rose’s fear of responsibility didn’t change even after her divorce with Ted. Which shows her problem is very serious.
6. Rose’s story relates to the allegory at the beginning of “The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates” because she is like the girl on the bike. She didn’t pay attention to her marriage and that’s why her relationship with Ted deteriorated and ended. Rose’s mother is like the mother in the allegory because she tries to help Rose with her marriage problems. Rose doesn’t listen to her mother, which could’ve saved her marriage.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 2:31:00 PM  
Blogger Idara said...

Fate and Faith

“Half and Half’

1. This chapter was sad to read and be captured into. It starts off with the sad new that Rose and her husband are going to get a divorce and then the chapter closes with the additional sad news that Bing dies. Both families suffered a lot in the chapter. Rose’s immediate family lost Bing, a son and brother, which could have been prevented if only Bing was watched more carefully. The sweet setting of the beach brings a blanketing feeling of comfort and peace but it quickly disappears. Rose lost her husband, which also could have been prevented if Rose had more of a drive to make decisions of her own. It also must have been hard for Rose’s husband to have a moment of failure in doing something that he really loves. Rose’s husband enjoys his job of working in the medical field but when he makes a terrible mistake that causes the fall of a woman’s smile, it leads him into deep thought about decisions. This calls to Ted’s attention that he doesn’t want to be the only one making the decisions because in the end if something goes wrong, he will be the only one to blame. I really like how although this chapter was sad, I was still flipping the pages with interest.

2. One conflict in the chapter is An- mei’s faith. An- mei shows how strong her nengkhan is, a force that can help a person do anything they put their mind to if they are determined. When An- mei searches for her son, Bing, she persists on looking for him, thinking that she’ll find him alive. She uses many tactics such as throwing a sea dragon a very valuable ring hoping that in return, she will receive Bing. An- mei realizes that she alone cannot change fate so she turns to faith, praying to God. When for the first time, An- mei gives up, she loses her faith and shows this by using her bible as a leveler for a table.

3. The story connects with the allegory by when Bing runs towards the rocky cove even though Rose warned him to stay away from the water. In the Allegory, the girl ignored her mother’s warnings and was angry which ended with the girl falling off of her bike.
In this chapter, Rose knew what was best for Bing but there must have been something that Bing wanted to see, so he ignored the wise words of Rose. The terrible consequence of Bing’s action was death.

Thursday, December 24, 2009 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger BrandonLamTookMyName said...

1. God’s Will
2. Rose Hsu Jordan – Half and Half
3. In my opinion, this was the saddest vignette out of the ones I had read so far. Everyone decides to put the blame on themselves after Bing dies, and according to the story, they all did take part in the death of Bing. Right when he was walking across the reef, pandemonium broke out, with his father reeling in a fish, the brothers causing havoc, and both the narrator and her mother screaming at the boys. He was unnoticed by everyone, sneaking slowly to his death. The flashback used to describe the narrator’s past was extremely effective, right after the descriptions about her failed marriage with a white man. The Bible that was mentioned in the beginning also made me question throughout the whole story why the mother lost faith in it. However, it was answered later on with the flashback.
4. The narrator’s mom always tells her daughter to keep trying, to save the marriage. I think this action shows how much perseverance her mom has, an extremely good quality. She states that “this is not hope. Not reason. This is your fate. This is your life, what you must do (130)”. It shows how superstitious Chinese culture is, how everything is predestined before you were born. However, it’s a good quality, as her mother tells her to always strive to keep what she has and not to give up.
5. The main conflict in this chapter is, in my opinion, human vs. self, as for one, Rose Hsu Jordan and her family couldn’t get over the death of Bing, and blamed themselves for it. It made Rose indecisive and weak, even many years later. In order to return to her old self, she must overcome her regrets and memories, stop thinking of the past, and move on, taking control of her own life.
6. This vignette falls right into place in the succession of stories related to the “Twenty-Six Malignant Gates” and the allegory at the beginning of the book. Just like the child who fell in the allegory, Bing was warned by an elder not to do something hazardous to his health, but does it anyways, not heeding the warning. In his case, he loses his life. According to the book, the Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, there are specific times where children were “predisposed to certain dangers”, and this day was Bing’s.

~ScottLee3rdPeriod

Thursday, December 24, 2009 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dennisaur (Trinh) said...

Bing: Death by Fate or Faith?

“Half and Half”

I really questioned the title when I first read it until I finally got to the end. It was a captivating chapter filled with sorrow. Is divorce and death determined by fate? I see Rose as a connection to many lives of people today who are dealing with divorce. I see that death brings out guilt in everyone. When Bing died, everyone in the family blamed themselves for his death. Rose acted like her mother towards Bing and sometimes when a mother takes it too far a child can rebel and not follow orders. I can also connect to Rose being unsure on questions. In my own life, I have answered many questions with “do what you think is best” or “whatever you like”. Apparently, to some people they want a straight-forward answer rather than a blunt or vague one.

Rose is a character who unfolds as this chapter progresses. In the beginning of the chapter, where Ted asks her an onslaught of questions and she vaguely answers all of them shows a sense that she doesn’t care or she’s just indecisive. Later on in the chapter, she had to watch over her brothers, and there was a certain point when she thought she was very similar to her mother in some instances. I see that Rose does follow her mother in some ways, but she’s developing her own decisions alone. She sees things that will happen, but she never prevents them from happening.

The conflict in this chapter has got to be human vs. self due to Rose’s divorce, but more importantly her decisions and responsibilities. She knew Bing was going to fall, but she left him fall anyways. She knew the divorce was going to happen, but she also let it happen anyways also. She doesn’t take it upon her responsibilities to instantly go save Bing or to prevent her marriage from going downhill. She foresaw it all, but due to this conflict she allowed them all to happen. An-Mei has her own conflict of Human vs. Fate/Religion. She falls back on her religion after Bing dies. Because she knew Bing’s “fate” was to die, she falls back on the will of her God to guide her path. At first she stopped caring for the bible, but in the end she falls back on it.

Amy Tan used some symbols in this chapter. For example, Bing represents Rose’s responsibilities literally and figuratively because she was supposed to watch over him, but she failed to. Figuratively, Bing represents Rose’s responsibilities because he fell into water symbolizing life and disappeared without a trace. In other words, Rose’s responsibilities in her life were disappearing and it causes her to be very indecisive and she doesn’t prevent things from happening.

Thursday, December 24, 2009 8:59:00 PM  
Blogger MoJoAnna chicken :] said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Saturday, December 26, 2009 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger MoJoAnna chicken :] said...

1. Bologna sandwiches with sand are yummy Mmmmmm :3

2. "Half and Half"

3. I liked this chapter. I feel like the chapters are getting better and better. I found the whole idea of fate vs. faith interesting. In the middle of reading the story about Bing, I began to wonder how it was related to Rose Hsu's marriage problem at the beginning, but by the end of the chapter, I thought Tan wrapped things up pretty nicely. I think I liked this chapter because I could actually understand most of it (well at least I think I did). But, I do wonder, at the end of the chapter when Rose sees Bing's name written in the Bible in the "Death" section; the fact that's it's written in erasable pencil, does that mean that her mom still has faith or something? That since his name is written in erasable pencil, that maybe it could be erased from the "Death" section? Well, I don't know.

4. Rose Hsu Jordan is a very indecisive person. I think this evident through her actions throughout the chapter. She does not like to take responsibility. During her marriage, Rose pushes all the responsibilities to her husband. If something goes wrong, he takes all the blame. When she is fourteen at the beach, she questions why she needs to take care of her younger siblings; "Why did [she] have to care for them?" (123) She does not feel like the responsibility is hers. Not only is her indecisiveness directly stated by her husband who says "[she] can never make up [her] mind about anything" (120), but also indirectly shown when Rose allows her husband to make all the decisions. It is also shown when she is young. During the day at the beach, she takes too long to make a decision. She sees Bing, and already expects the outcome. Yet, instead of moving to save him, "[she thinks], He's going to fall in." This second of hesitation, this moment of indecisiveness causes her brother, and her marriage, to drown.

5. The main conflict is Rose Hsu Jordan vs. herself (human vs. self). Her inability to make decisions and take actions cause her to face certain consequences. Her inability to respond to her brother's drowning, even though she saw it coming, caused his death, and psychological pain for herself and her family. Her inability to take actions to prevent her divorce, even though she noticed signs in their failing marriage, caused her relationship with Ted to fall apart. Rose's mental weaknesses cause conflict within herself.

6. This chapter obviously relates to the allegory at the start of the section. Much like the child who rides her bike around the corner even though she was warned by an elder not to, Bing ventures off to the rocks even though Rose warns him not to. Both ignore the dangers that they are warned of, and both face drastic consequences. Also, in this chapter, the reader learns more about The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, twenty-six "terrible [dangers] that [await] young innocent children" (125) and occur at certain times on certain days. For Bing, a malignant gate was waiting for him that day at the beach.

Saturday, December 26, 2009 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger wilsonvolleyball said...

"The White Bible"
Chapter: "Half and Half"

1. This story started out using Rose's relationship with her husband, Ted, as an example of what happens when something unexpected and violent hits you hard in life. At first I felt Rose was a weak and annoying woman. If I were in Ted's place, I would have broken up with her a long time ago. People need their own opinions and I think Rose was too reliant on Ted. She felt as if she was in a protective bubble, always protected around by Ted, making no decisions of her own. It was like she was not even exposed to the real world. The second part was the flashback to the past. IT starts out as a peaceful family scene, a family full of faith in God. After the incident at the beach, where Bing disappeared into the cove, The faith cracked like a glass panel. Rose saw Bing fall in the ocean, and she didn't react fast enough to do anything about it. I think that was the first violent reality that hit her and she never really forgave herself for it. Her mother on the other hand didn't believe her son was lost.

2. Rose Hsu Jordan. As I previously described her, my first impression of her was that she was an extremely dependent woman. She didn't want to be exposed to any decisions, whether they were life threatening or not. She allowed herself to be swallowed up by Ted's protection, constantly asking him for opinions. When Ted starts to pressure her, she ignores it, trying to reverse the question. I think we later find out why she doesn't like making decisions. I believe her experience in seeing her brother Bing drown inflicted a wound inside her that might have caused her to rely on others.

3.I think the main conflict was human versus self. Amy Tan pictures Rose as the dependent woman at first and I think the death of her brother Bing is a contributing factor to that. She saw her brother Bing disappear beneath the water and I believe that it left a scar of guilt in her heart that she never forgave. It may be that the incident also made her fear of making life changing decisions. Her mother is another example of the conflict. I think she knows that her son Bing may be as well as dead but does not believe it and uses all kinds of superstitions, also coalesced with faith in God, to make herself think that Bing is still alive.

4. The symbol in this chapter is probably the White Bible that An-Mei keeps under the couch, laid forgotten but not completely forgotten. She keeps it clean white, not even a speck of dust is on that bible. The bible signifies faith, and it being in the dark corners of the couch means that she has probably lost faith because of fate. Fate is inevitable, and sometimes, the horrible things that happen in the course of life that are irreversible will challenge your faith, even crush it. An-Mei keeps that white bible spotless because I believe she still has faith in God. Bing's name written lightly in erasable pencil underneath the word Deaths on the page before the "New Testament" signifies a lot of things. The name written in erasable pencil shows that An-Mei still has faith that her son is alive somewhere in the world, even after the encounter with fate. I think it was written on the page before the New Testament because the in the New Testament, Jesus is born, bringing hope and faith to the world, he was crucified, but reborn. I believe An-Mei wrote it there because she never gave up hope and never relinquished the hold on faith.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger cupofnoodles said...

Alvin Lee 4th Period
1. Over the Reef
2. Half and Half
3. I think that “Half and Half” was especially sad compared to Amy Tan’s other chapters. I couldn’t believe that Rose’s mother is still persistent as to making Rose keep on trying even after losing Bing and breaking down after losing faith in God. Also, I think that Rose’s parents had too much faith in their nangken which I believe led them blindly to think that they could do anything. I thought this chapter was especially sad because it showed how Rose saw her mother breaking down as well as her husband, Ted. I think that Ted was too harsh on Rose when he said asked if Rose had just said “I do” to their marriage just because the minister said “repeat after me.” I was touched by the determination of Rose’s mother to find Bing’s body after it being washed out to sea.
4. In “Half and Half,” An-mei insists that Rose try her best to save her marriage even though Rose believes it’s absolutely hopeless. Also, An-mei swims out in the ocean in search for Bing in spite of not knowing how to swim. I believe this shows that An-mei is persistent and has great determination towards the things she cares about like her daughter’s marriage and her son’s life. But I think it also shows that she was willing to do whatever she could to achieve her goal because of her belief in her nangken.
5. I believe the main conflict of “Half and Half” is the struggle within Rose to find her faith to keep trying. It does get resolved, however, because her mother’s determination rubs off on her and shows her that she has to always keep trying. This conflict is internal and human vs. self between Rose and herself, because Rose has conflicting emotions as what to do with her marriage and what to do when Bing fell into the ocean.
6d. Amy Tan uses a flashback in this chapter to go from Rose’s troubled divorce to a childhood time involving the death of her brother, Bing. This improves the story because it shows a background to An-mei’s faith and her loss of faith as well as a similarity between how Rose reacted to Bing’s death and how she reacted to Ted’s divorce with her.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 2:16:00 PM  
Blogger jen_bug said...

"Fight for Fate"
Chapter: "Half and Half"
3)This chapter gave me both happy and sad feelings. Happy because the love story between Rose and Ted was sweet and sad feelings because Rose's marriage came to an end and she stood and watched her younger brother, Bing, fall into the deadly ocean and die. Throughout the chapter rose's mother confused me by telling Rose to fight for her marriage when she didn't even like her daughter's husband. Another time I was confused is when Rose's mother thought that after a whole night, why would her son still be alive after falling into the dangerous sea? Besides these questions that came up while I was reading I also thought that the mother's message about fighting for a person's fate was good because in this world people can't get what they want out of life if they don't fight for it.
4)Im focusing on the main character Rose because everything that takes place in the chapter revolves around her and her actions. The type of person Rose is is shown in her marriage, "Ted simply decided.And I never thought of objecting."(119) The quote is showing that Rose has no say in her relationship or anything else in her life, and not because people are controling her but because she doesn't have her own voice to speak how she truely feels.
5)I think the conflict in this stroy is between Rose and her decisions. This makes the conflict human vs. self and both internal and external. Internal because Rose can't make decisions and external because by her not being able to decided on anything bad events take place. Rose doesn't react and try to make anything better causing fate to take over and faith to set in.
6)The life lesson that is being given in this chapter is taking control of your life so that fate doesn't decide it for you. To also fight for what you love because once you loose it faith will take over.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 6:30:00 PM  
Blogger em, ily! said...

One Part Milk + One Part Cream =
Woods' English 2A: "Half and Half"

3.

* So, Rose's mom still believes in God, but just doesn't want to admit it?
* Chagrined! Wasn't that a word on some test?
* When Amy Tan started narrating the history behind Rose&Ted, it reminded me of how Dana and Kevin had that flashback to how they met.
* On page 117, there's a sentence that goes: "He is American," warned my mother, as if I had been too blind to notice. A waigoren." Um, did Amy Tan punctuate that wrong? Or is it just me? I think she's missing her second opening quotation marks.
* I think Rose's marriage was kind of forced; therefore, it did not work out in the end. (As human beings, we tend to prove our nengkan, ability to do anything we put out minds to.) So, when Rose's mom disapproves of Ted, Rose persists even more to date Ted. Ditto with Ted's mom [She didn't directly reject Rose, but hinted at her disapproval in marriage.] and Ted's response. It wasn't love that led to their marriage, but the strength of their stubbornness. Opposites did attract, but I don't think this was the case.
* I'm somewhat like Rose. We're both very indecisive.
* Otay, seriously? You don't just go to a SECLUDED spot near a city named DEVIL'S SLIDE and not expect something bad to happen. In addition, we Asians tend to be supserstitious. So, why in the world did Rose's family not see this coming?
* The "little boy" in the book called The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates reminded me of Bing, the "little boy" of the family. Ooh, is this a connection?
* Why didn't Rose stop Bing?! I wanted to slap Rose in the face back into reality! Did she not realize that her brother was going to die if she didn't do something about it?
* I think that Amy Tan is showing an example of where two cultures can not intertwine with balance when Rose's mother tries to ask God (American culture) and the Coiling Dragon (Chinese culture) for forgiveness, both at the same time. Also, in the book of The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, Rose's mom couldn't translate the Chinese lunar calendar into American dates; therefore, she had faith that she could prevent every single one of the dangers, but she couldn't, hence, the "Bing" incident.
* I liked the ending. It gave me a content feeling, but I couldn't interpret its meaning.
* Last minute addition: I think the Bible is supposed to symbolize the balance in their family. It is literally used to balance the dinner table, where all the festivities are at. Also, it is literally "underneath the table" which is faith that Rose's mom is not shown, but known.

4. Rose's mother is a very determined character. She believes in her nengkan so much that she does not give up. She even expects to find her son, Bing, despite the odds. This also proves she's very superstitious because of her beliefs in Chinese culture.

5. I think the main conflict is Rose's indecisiveness, an internal one, man vs. self. She can never decide on what to do, causing the "Bing" incident (because she kept thinking of the possibilities of what she should have done, but didn't react to what she could have done) and the fail to her marriage (she never decided on anything, so her husband got annoyed of this trait and decided on a divorce). I don't think this conflict is resolved yet, because she still is indecisive; however, she is finally beginning to realize the outcomes of this bad personality trait and analyze her life.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger em, ily! said...

[continued...]

6. This chapter definitely connects to the allegory at the beginning of the section because it literally mentions the book called The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, a book that explained that "children were predisposed to certain dangers on certain days, all depending on their Chinese birth-dates. I guess Bing was destined to be swallowed up by the ocean. In the allegory, the mother told her daughter that she was going to fall but she didn't listen and fell anyway. Bing didn't listen to his sister and mother and went too close to the water and fell in. Not listening to your elders, no matter how know-it-all and cocky they sound, will result in bad consequences. This is a very common Chinese belief.

P.S. Did y'all notice Amy Tan's foreshadowing when she mentioned the little boy's feet in The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates "already in the air" and Bing's feet "already in the air"? I didn't notice that repetition the first time!

Emily Huynh, a nerd from Period 4

Sunday, December 27, 2009 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger Arctic said...

Nancy Le, period 3

Heartbreak Cove
Half and Half

1. A chapter that was crushing in its repeated raising of my hopes and then dropping them like a rock, this was a bit painful in how sad it was. Rose seems to have sort of just fallen into her relationsip with Ted, trusting in him to make all the decisions, including the one to begin the relationship in the first place. When he notices and demands a divorce because she's too reliant on his choices and doesn't seem to have a mind of her own, she is shocked, because she had always assumed that he liked her behavior. The family's devastation after Bing is lost is also crushing, especially when I see each family member quietly blaming themselves for the loss and An-Mei's rescue mission, starting as calm and trusting in God, and ending in a desperate, wild search that ultimately fails. Having previously trusted in God, she resorts to Chinese superstition, a sign that she has abandoned God, or perhaps that God has abandoned her.

2. One conflict is Anmei and Rose vs. the ocean, or man vs. nature. They try all sorts of tactics, from prayer to sacrifice to fishing, to get the sea to give back Bing, but all of them fail, ending the conflict.

3. The symbol that jumped out at me the most was the lifesaver, which could represent the blind faith Anmei once had. Caught by the tide, or by a difficult situation like Bing's going missing, it bravely sinks down, over and over, trying to find Bing. However, in the end, even the strongest inner-tube/faith cannot stand up to the tides of fate, and the lifesaver is torn apart. Thus, Anmei loses her faith.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Super Alien said...

Fate(th)
by Fiona Cheung
Half and Half
3. I think this chapter was the saddest chapter. It was almost as if I were watching this whole chapter happen with Tan’s vivid descriptions, especially with the scene of Bing’s mother trying to get him back. I felt sorry for them because of how hopeful they were, yet how hopeless the results were. Bing’s story was so captivating that I forgot that the chapter was mostly about a divorce. I also felt sorry for Ted’s big mistake on his patient. I understand his point of view though: after a mistake with an impact that huge, anyone would be afraid to make decisions again. I think Ted and Rose both suffer from the fear of responsibility and decisions, which is why it is dangerous for them to be together. I can relate to them though because I am one of the most indecisive people in the world.
4. Rose is obviously an indecisive person which is shown by how Ted makes the decisions for her because she never objects. This could also mean she does not voice her desires by never objecting to what he says. She also has a lot of responsibility on her to take care of her four brothers. It may have been this responsibility that tired her out of making decisions.
5. The main conflict in this story is an internal one within Rose. She struggles with making decisions. She does not like being given the responsibility of decisions, especially after Bing’s incident. After that incident, she’s lost confidence in doing the right thing, just as she is hesitant about the divorce. This conflict is not resolved in the end because she had still not come to a conclusion on her marriage. She does realize at the end her mistakes though—seeing something wrong but letting it go along, not objecting with fate.
6. Amy Tan uses a flashback to bring us back to the day Bing was lost. This helps her explain more about how her mother lost faith in God and how it affects her marriage today.

Sunday, December 27, 2009 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Pixx3ieDust said...

"You change your mind like a girl changes clothes!"
Chapter: "Half and Half"

1. Rose has absolutely no opinion or backbone whatsoever. It’s pretty pathetic. For the entire chapter, I just wanted to scream at her to just stand up for herself! She acknowledges her complete lack of courage yet doesn’t even attempt to do anything to try and change it. It’s pitiful, like a sad little puppy that is continuously kicked down and refuses to get up again. And Rose has really bad taste in guys, because Ted’s a jerk – and a controlling one to boot. It sounds like she only married him because their parents told them that they couldn’t. But that being said, I really liked this chapter. I found it sad, but overall very interesting and suspenseful. It maintained a nice balance between American traditions and problems, like Rose and Ted’s relationship and the prejudices that are brought out because of it, and Chinese ones, like her mother’s belief in Asian superstitions. I have to wonder, though, if Rose knew that Bing was about to fall into the ocean, why didn’t she stop him?

2. I think that Rose was put under immense pressure and responsibility at an extremely young age. She was expected to look after her four younger brothers, so when Bing died, she blamed herself. Even then, she felt a sense of responsibility punish herself for Bing’s death because she alone followed her mother to the beach to look for Bing’s body the next day. I think that Bing’s death somehow resulted in the reluctance to make decisions that irritates Ted so. In Rose’s mind, not making decisions prevents her from messing anything else up. If she doesn't take responsibility for anything, then she cannot be blamed for anything either.

3. There are many conflicts in this chapter. The external conflicts of Rose and Ted and their rapidly sinking relationship (man vs. man) and Bing’s drowning in the ocean (man vs. nature) are present, but I think the main conflict is the internal one of man vs. self between Rose and her lack of sense of self. The external conflicts are solved at the end of the chapter – Rose’s marriage ends in divorce and Bing dies – but the internal conflict is left unsolved. Rose still has a ways to go in overcoming her spinelessness and, for the first time, making her own decisions.

4. The theme of this chapter is finding yourself through your decisions. Like her mother, Rose struggles to find herself and her inability to make her own decisions doesn’t really help matters. As her mother said, “you must think for yourself, what you must do. If someone tells you, then you are not trying.”

Monday, December 28, 2009 4:06:00 PM  
Blogger WeeeeniFAM said...

Nguyen Pham
Period 4

"Never quit"
"Half and Half"

3)Reaction:
Wow, this chapter really got good towards the end! I was a bit lost and bored in the beginning, since all it talked about was this family that took an unprecedented trip to the beach. The figurative descriptions of the cove in the beginning kept me interested, but the there was really no suspenseful action until the sudden, discreet death of Bing. Bing's death was extremely heart-breaking, for he was portrayed as a little boy whose curiosity and adventurism outweighed his innocence and life. All he wanted to do was to be close to his dad and explore the cove, so it was really sad seeing him die in the instant of one little leap into the ocean. The events following the story made the chapter even more unbearable to read. Seeing as how every family member tried to take the blame for Bing's death, it showed me how much they really cared for him- especially his mother. She was exceptionally faithful, if not stubborn throughout the whole ordeal, since although the police had told her that there was no more hope, she still kept to her maternal desperation and never gave up- only to be crushed in the end. That scene was really inspirational and eye opening, since it showed me the infinite capacity of a mother's love for her children and how a mother would try and defy all boundaries in order to be with her child.

4. A character that I am focusing on in this chapter is An-mei Hsu. We truly saw both sides of this round character in the chapter, since in the beginning, she seemed to be a one of those distant cold mothers of too many children. She did not seem to express her love to her children and was always nagging Rose to watch over her siblings. This all changed after Bing's death, since as the police force and search crew gave up on finding Bing in the endless ocean, her internal love for her children overcame her tough exterior and caused her to try and do anything in her power (and God's) to find her baby. She looked day and night after his death and only gave up after God had at last failed to answer her prayers.

5. A major conflict in this story is Man Vs. Self as Rose is both conflicted with herself in what to do in her marriage and the guilt that she feels from Bing's death. In the case of her marriage, Rose really does not know why she is able to foresee a tragic event, and just let it happen! At the end of the chapter, she tells us that she always just "[lets] it happen" even when she "[sees] the signs". With her marriage, she knew that it would fail sooner or later from her mother's predictions in the past and the growing distance between her and her husband, but nonetheless, she still sticks through the marriage until its very end. In Bing's case, she new that the cove was extremely dangerous, but she still allowed Bing to jump off. Even when he was about to walk towards the ledge and started to jump and disappear, Rose still did not do anything.

6A. In this chapter, a symbol that I noticed was the white leather Bible that An-Mei Hsu had kept throughout her years of both being faithful and unfaithful. The fact that the bible was placed in her home and clean symbolizes how An-Mei did not completely lose her faith, instead she just put it aside for possibly her kids and family or other events in her life. I believe that the placement of her Bible in her house also symbolizes how she always wants to have her faith there ready for her when she would be ready to return. Just as how in her faithful attempt to rescue her son, she unexpectedly picked up her Bible to ask god to answer her prayer and bring her son back. Her taking the Bible and using it once again finally symbolizes her faith being reborn in her time of need.

Monday, December 28, 2009 4:28:00 PM  
Blogger E1ain3 said...

1) Faith or Fate?
2) Half and Half
3) This chapter was by far, the saddest. Although I have to admit that the beginning boring, once I got to the end, I couldn’t take my eyes off the page. Starting the chapter with Rose and Ted’s divorce was awful, but ending it with Bing’s death was horrible! Bing’s death shocked and surprised me because I had never figured it would’ve happened. Amy Tan tricks her readers by making us think the chapter is based on Rose and Ted’s relationship, yet she transitions back to Rose’s past. Also, through his words and actions, Rose’s husband, Ted, seems to be a jerk! I understand that he is a bit traumatized… However, don’t you learn from your mistakes? Instead of forcing Rose to pick their life decisions, couldn’t Ted just grow up and get over his fears? Yeah, he may have sucked out a woman’s cheek nerve out…but why in the world would that stop him from making decisions in life?! I think he’s really weird…
4) Rose Hsu really made me mad in this chapter. First off, I think both her and Ted are indecisive people who can’t seem to get through life on their own! Even if they don’t realize it, Rose relies on Ted the same way Ted relies on Rose. During their family trip down to the beach cove, Rose’s mother, An-Mei, put her in charge of her siblings. As she watches Bing make his way to the water, she expects, “He’s going to fall in. (125)” Uh… if you had a feeling your little brother was about to drown… wouldn’t you try to stop him? Instead of trying to save him, Rose sinks to her knees and does not move nor speak. After reading this chapter, I think we all can conclude that Rose is a bit stupid and irresponsible!
5) I think the main conflict in this chapter has to be human vs. self. Both Rose Hsu and Ted struggle to make life decisions. In the end, Rose’s indecisiveness drowns both her marriage and brother’s life.
6) This chapter connects to the allegory at the start of the section by proving the mother’s point about the book, The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates. The same way the little girl did not listen to her mother, Bing did not listen to his mother and older sister. Consequently, the little girl fell off her bike before she even reached the corner and Bing drowned to death.

Monday, December 28, 2009 7:20:00 PM  
Blogger Kayla L. said...

Make Your Own Fate
“Half and Half”

3. I definitely thought this chapter had some good messages. Nengkan or ability to do anything you set your mind to is a good trait for anyone to have. It’s difficult to believe that the mother, who had never swum before, was able to go into the ocean and try find her four-year old son or drive down to the beach when she has never drove before.
One quote I didn’t understand is “my mother is not the best housekeeper in the world and after all these years that Bible is still clean white” (116). What is the connection between being a bad housekeeper and a clean white bible?
I think Rose and Ted’s relationship and decision to get married was built on the fact that both of their parents disapproved of them being together causing them to be rebellious towards their parents. It’s like a Romeo and Juliet story except in the end where both of them die, they are get a divorce instead.
Another question is why didn’t Rose go save her brother? She sees Bing falling into the ocean yet she just sinks her knees into the sand in shock. When your brother is dying you don’t want to go into shock you want to save him!

4. I’d like to focus on Rose. She is an indecisive person because she lets her husband, Ted, decide everything they do because he knows she will say things like “you decide,” or “I don’t care,” or “either way is fine with me,”(120). She is also one of those people who can see things before they happen, like when she sees her brother fall into the ocean before it happens. It reminds me of my dad who would tell me things like “that glass is going to fall” when it’s close to the edge of the table. I ignore him the next thing I know is my elbow has bumped into to it and there is shattered glass and orange juice all over the floor. Rose doesn’t really understand nor have nengkan because she doesn’t believe she can save her own marriage even though she hasn’t tried it.

5. I think the main conflict is man vs. self and is internal. Rose is battling against her indecisiveness which caused the death of her brother and her divorce. When Bing falls into the ocean she didn’t know what to do, but how it could it have been prevented. If she had made a quick decision her brother still might be alive. As for her marriage, Rose inability to make decisions about anything is what drove Ted away.
After speaking with her mother Rose understands that even when something seems hopeless you must still try to fix what is damaged, which is pretty much the conflict resolution.

6a. The theme in “Half and Half” was fairly strait forward. Even when you may not be able to change something or fix something you still must try and do whatever you can. Rose’s mother understands this best. In the quote “on the page before the New Testament begins, there’s a section called “Deaths,” and that’s where she wrote “Bing Hsu” lightly, in erasable pencil,” (131) she believed that she could bring Bing’s body out of the ocean even when it seemed impossible. For that reason she wrote it in erasable pencil because she wasn’t certain that Bing would stay dead forever.

Monday, December 28, 2009 7:24:00 PM  
Blogger aly_n_4 said...

Faith and Fate?
"Half and Half"
3. I think this chapter is definitely one of the more devastating chapters in Tan's novel. I will admit that the beginning of the chapter was very boring, almost to the point where I was going to fall asleep! I didn't quite understand what a bad housekeeper has to do with a clean white Bible. It seemed like Tan just kept going on and on about the Bible and it didn't really interest me. However, once Tan began to describe the relationship between Ted and Rose, the narrator of the chapter. I wasn't sure why An-Mei kept persuading Rose to keep fighting for their marriage.By reading the relationship between Ted and Rose, Ted was definitely the one to make all of the decisions and I found it weird how all of a sudden Ted made Rose make all of the decisions. And why the heck didn't Rose go and save her little brother, Bing?! I guess she was just in a heap of shock? I thought it was kind of cool how An-Mei went to try to find Bing in the roaring ocean using her special superstition, Nengkhan. Maybe I should start using Nengkhan, the ability to do something if you put your mind to it. :)
4. I'm going to focus on Rose, who is VERY indecisive and doesn't really know what she wants. She let her husband control her 100% and in relationships, each person should have an equal amount of control. However, when Ted, her husband, had her make the decisions, she couldn't. This is what makes her very indecisive and it kind of made me irritated. However, when we had a flashback of the day at the beach, I felt more sympathy for Rose because she was pressured into making her siblings well mannered and she was responsible for watching them. When Bing falls into the water, Rose doesn't do anything. She just falls to her knees in shock. This shows that Rose is irresponsible.
5. I think the main conflict in this chapter would have to be internal with Rose and her inner self. Rose constantly struggles with her indeciveness, which eventually leads to her divorce and the cause of her brother's death. When Bing had fallen in the ocean, Rose didn't do anything. She knew though that if she made a quick decision, she could have saved her little brother.Also, if she made more decisions in her and Ted's marriage, she would still be happily married! I believe that this internal conflict has not yet been resolved.
6. This chapter is very much related to the allegory back at the beginning. In the allegory, there is a mother telling her daughter to not ride her bicycle around the corner because then she won't be able to see her, yet her daughter does, but falls before she reaches the corner. This can relate to this chapter because at the beach, Rose kept yelling to Bing to not go on the rocky cove, yet he does. He falls, like the young girl on her bike. However, he falls to his death.

Monday, December 28, 2009 9:40:00 PM  
Blogger N`Jess said...

1. Lost
2. Half and Half
3. I thought that this vignette was really sad. I didn’t get why Rose didn’t save Bing if she knew that he was going to fall. I think that was very stupid. I was mad at Rose. She should not listen to her mother. She should have saved Bing instead of watching over her other brothers. Who cared about the brothers, Bing was more important. Tan’s description of the part where Bing mother tried to get him back was very vivid. I felt really bad for her. I thought that they were going to find him in the cove, but sadly they didn’t. Although I did not like Rose’s decision, I am somewhat similar to her. I am too very indecisive.
4. Rose was a very indecisive person. She was not able to make the decision of which bother to watch. She was never able to make her own decision. This was shown through the entire vignette since Ted always made her decision for her and she accepted it. I think that because of Bing’s death, she didn’t want to pick the wrong thing since she blame herself for his death. I think that his death was hard on her since she was still young, and now it scarred her.
5. I think the main conflict is man vs. self, man vs. man, and man vs. nature. I thought that Rose lacked of self confident made her indecisive and that prevented her from taking a stand. She also still felt guilty of Bing’s death. Rose fought with Ted and their broken relationship (man vs. man) and Bing fell in the ocean (man vs. nature) were external conflicts that later were resolved with a divorce from Ted and Bing died. However, the internal conflict was not resolved. She was still indecisive.
6. I think the life lesson is to take a stand in what you believe because fate doesn’t decide what’s going to happen next, you do. This was revealed when Rose expected Bing to fall, but she did not save him, but she instead watched her other brothers.
Jessica Hartono, Period 4

Monday, December 28, 2009 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger ooglyboogly said...

Jodie Chan
Period 3

1)Drowned
2)Half and Half
3)I like this story but it is sad because Rose loses her brother and her marriage but I kind of think it serves her right for being so pathetic. I think that Rose’s indecision is making life harder than it needs to be for her. Her indecisiveness causes her family to lose Bing, causes her to marry a person she does not love, and makes the person she married to divorce her. When Bing drowned and Rose did not save him, I felt confused. Didn’t she want to rescue her own brother? Why did she just stand there not moving and speechless? I felt sad for An-Mei because she just could not accept Bing’s death. Why does she use the Bible to balance the table? What is the difference between fate and faith?
4)An-Mei “wrote ‘Bing Hsu’ lightly, in erasable pencil” (pg.131) in the Bible after Bing drowned in the ocean, and keeps the Bible nice and clean. This shows that she still has hope that Bing is alive even though all evidence leads to the fact that Bing is dead. An-Mei does not accept reality and continues to believe in the impossible. She is a person who has faith and does not give up hope.
5)The main conflict is human vs. self. In all of the little stories within this vignette, Rose struggles with her own indecision. She is undecided on everything. When Bing was drowning, she could not decide whether to try to save Bing herself or call her father. Rose could not decide on the simplest things like what appetizer to order or what credit card to use. She could not even decide whether to save her marriage or let Ted and her divorce. In the end, Rose is still undecided.
6A) One theme in this vignette is that the choice to choose will be taken away if you do not decide. An example is Ted’s and Rose’s marriage. Rose had the power to choose what she wanted, like having what type of car or what kind of insurance they should have but then because Rose is so undecided, Ted gets so disgusted with her indecision that he calls off the whole marriage and wants a divorce. Once they are divorced, Rose cannot choose anything even if she wanted to.
B)The bible symbolizes hope and faith.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger Linhwaslike said...

1. Maybe faith can override fate. Maybe it can’t.
2. Rose Hsu Jordan: Half and Half
3. This vignette has great fluidity. Amy Tan takes the reader to a peaceful setting by the beach with Rose’s parents and siblings each doing their own fun activities. However, in the back of the reader’s mind lies something bad waiting to unbalance this serene mood. Tan foreshadows this bad event by mentioning Rose’s mother’s superstitions regarding the dangers one will encounter according to his/her birthdate. At this point, I was curious. I was eager to know what bad event Tan had in store for us. In addition, I like how this vignette is relatable. People have been situations where they knew what was happening, yet did nothing to stop it. The only questions I have are “why did Rose just let her brother drown?” and “why does Rose’s mother use the leatherette bible to balance their kitchen table?”
4. Rose is the main character in this vignette. Is she a weak character? Not quite. She is more likely just a very indecisive figure. In her relationship with Ted, she explains that they constantly saved each other, that they were “two halves creating the whole” (118). Everything changed once her husband decided to let her pull up the weight of responsibility and decisions. Did their marriage have to lead a divorce? Maybe, but maybe it could have ended better if Rose had just pulled some confidence from thin air and trusted her decisions. Then later in the story, the reader finds out Rose let her brother die. WHY? I am really trying to figure this girl out.
5. I see three conflicts in this story. Man vs. man external, when Ted and Rose constantly argue about making decisions and taking blame. Then there’s man vs. nature when Bing falls into the ocean and drowns. That is also external. Lastly, there is man vs. self, which you may assume would represent Rose and her fight to take a stand in life. She is so accustomed to a life where everyone makes decisions for her, that when a person decides to give her a try, she questions them. She lacks confidence, which most likely triggers her indecisiveness.
6. A writing technique Tan used in this vignette was a flashback. The entire chapter, the reader is trying to figure Rose out, trying to figure out why she acts the way she does. Then when Tan introduces the flashback, the reader gets a better understanding of Rose and how that memory must have affected her. It allows us to see how Rose acted when she was younger and compare it to how she acts today.

Linh Vuong
3rd Period

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 6:00:00 PM  
Blogger A.o.D said...

1. Fate vs. Faith
2. “Half and Half”
3. I thought this chapter of Bing’s death was shocking and saddening but it also led me to think about the decisions we make and how each affects us. When Bing fell into the sea, I didn’t understand why Rose didn’t run to the water’s edge and try to save him because if she did, Bing probably would’ve still lived. She lived with this guilt similar to her husband Ted later when he lost his lawsuit. Both of them didn’t want to make any more decisions after their incident because of the responsibility and blame that follows each decision. I think we should always try to fix problems instead of regretting the decisions that we made. I was confused about whether Bing’s death caused Rose’s mother to lose her faith in God or if it was because of another reason.
4. Rose’s mother strongly believed that Bing might still be alive one day after he fell into the sea. Her nengkan and faith led her to do many things that she had never done before, like swimming and driving the car. She is strong-willed and achieved anything that she put her mind to before Bing’s accident. When Bing fell into the sea, she sincerely believed that she could accomplish anything with her faith and that “she could use faith to change fate” (130). When she ultimately realized that finding Bing is impossible, she lost her faith in God and wedged her Bible under a table leg. Telling everyone that she forgot the Bible was still there, she actually still notices it and keeps it clean and spotless. Even though it seems like Rose’s mother lost faith in God, a part of her still wants to have that faith like she did before. In the Bible was “Bing Hsu” written lightly in pencil. I think that Rose’s mother believes that she could erase it just in case Bing comes back alive.
5. The main conflict in this chapter is an internal conflict of human vs. self. All the characters blamed themselves for something. Rose regretted not being able to save Bing when she was the only one who saw him falling in. Rose’s whole family blamed themselves for not watching Bing close enough. Rose’s husband Ted felt burdened after he lost his first malpractice lawsuit. Another internal conflict is Rose conflicting with her marriage and how to save it. She realized that she “had seen the signs” but “just let it happen” (130-131). She had too reliant on Ted and after a while, they never had any discussions and Ted started making all the decisions. Their marriage became too burdening for one person. This conflict doesn’t get resolved at the end of the chapter. Rose still doesn’t know what she should do about her marriage.
6a. I think the life lesson of this chapter is to accept each coming event in life. Instead of always having regrets, we should think about how to work around obstacles and overcome them. In this chapter, both Rose and her husband Ted did things that made them lose their confidence to make decisions. They were afraid of the responsibility and blame that follows each decision. This is the same for everyone else, however, whatever decision we make, if the consequence isn’t as perfect as we imagined, we would think, “I should’ve made the other decision,” and never be satisfied. We wouldn’t know how something would turn out unless we tried so that’s why we should always accept life the way it is because each path is relatively the same.
Alice La, Period 4

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 7:55:00 PM  
Blogger m.méndez said...

1.) The Most you can have is Hope

2.) Half and Half

3.) Personally, I think that this vignette is well written; I like the fact the in the beginning, it is in the present, then there is a flashback showing Rose’s childhood, and then it is in the present again. This vignette is probably the saddest one so far. Not only is there a depressing beginning about Rose’s divorce, but her brother died at such a young age when Rose was a little girl. In this chapter, I could relate to Rose when she has to watch her younger brothers at the beach and similarly, I also had to watch my younger sisters. I understood that Rose felt a lot of pressure and guilty for loosing Bing because her parents put a lot of responsibility on her. Why didn’t Rose run and save Bing when she saw him fall in the water? I was most interested when Rose’s mother threw tea with sugar and a blue sapphire ring into the sea. Unfortunately, those rituals did not work to save Bing.

4.) As is said in the beginning of this vignette, Rose is a very indecisive person and in the flashback at the beach, I found out why. She decisively kept her eyes off Bing and focused on her other younger brothers. As she turns her head, she thinks to herself that “he’s going to fall in. [She] is expecting it,” (125). Right then and there, she does not to save him because so many questions are popping in and out of her head. By the time she realizes her mistake, her sister notices that Bing is gone. When Rose and her mother try to look for Bing, Rose feels even guiltier then ever because she realizes that it was her indecisiveness that prevented her from saving her brother. As a result, Rose grows up depending on other people to take action for her because her brother’s death has traumatized her. Rose doesn’t want to repeat that accident and carry a heavy burden.

5.) The main conflict is both internal and external. It is man vs. man when Rose and her husband, Ned, have an argument that leads to their divorce. It is man vs. self when Rose witnesses her brother’s death and she feels only guilt inside her. Her indecisiveness weighs her down and she lives her life dragging that weight around. There is also man vs. nature when Bing falls into the sea and drowns.

6a.) I think that the theme is that you can’t always rely on faith or fate because there will be some times that you have to take matters into your own hands. In my opinion, Bing didn’t die because of fate or faith. He died because of Rose’s indecisiveness. If Rose had acted quickly and ran to save Bing, he would still be alive. All Rose had to do was take matters into her own hands to save her brother.

Michelle Méndez
4th period

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 8:21:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

1. Separation
2. Half and Half

3. The relationship between Rose and Ted is like any other average Asian and American relationship. The parents usually disagree because they want their kids to stick with their own race and the children just continue the relationship anyways. I was surprised that Rose just stood motionless as her brother fell in the water. I’m pretty sure even if one is too shocked to move, at least they’d scream. Why didn’t Rose go save her brother? Beats me.

4. I think Rose is obviously indecisive and an awkward person. Rose was probably to used to Ted making all the decisions which led to her indecisiveness, but even so, as a wife, I’m pretty sure support for the husband is needed. A family’s decisions/actions should be based off of each member’s opinion, rather than one individual making all of the choices. Rose unable to help her brother in any way is very awkward to me. I mean, motionless? Really..? Who’d do that when a person’s life is in danger. This scene reminded me of my own experience, except I was the one drowning. Instead of being motionless, my sister immediately dived in when she saw me hop into the deeper side of the poor and saved me.

5. I believe the conflict is internal, and it’s Human vs. Self. Rose had to battle against her indecisiveness throughout most of the chapter and pretty much lost every single time. I don’t think the conflict is resolved.

6A. I believe the main theme of the story is, “The decisions you make can often affect the lives of others.” Rose’s decision to not make decisions causes a divorce between her and her husband, which will dramatically change the lives of them both. Her decision to not do anything when her brother drowned also caused her brother to lose his life.

James Yu
Period 3

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 8:30:00 PM  
Blogger allison. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger allison. said...

1. Loss of Faith
2. Half and Half
3. The chapter starts out happier than the others. With Rose and Ted, a typical forbidden love story but ends in a disaster. Ted loses interest, or rather gives up trying, after he loses his medical license. He becomes uninterested in Rose and forces her to make decisions for everything, and if she cannot make up her mind then he loses his temper. Then Rose remembers when her brother, Bing, drowns in the ocean due to her carelessness and lack of paying attention. Rose realizes that Bing’s dyeing and Ted divorcing her have to do with the same situation. They both happened due to her not paying close attention and turning away in the time when they needed her most.
4. Ted starts out as a happy and well-rounded character and then turns into a bitter man. He meets Rose while he is attending medical school. His other, Mrs. Jordan warns Rose that she should give Ted some space because he is very busy trying to earn his degree. Ted and Rose ignore the warning and he tries to make their relationship work, regardless of their mother’s remarks. When he loses his license, he seems to lose faith in life itself. He then finds that he should have listened to his mother and paid more attention in his work than a wife and he becomes a bitter man towards Rose, yelling at her and mistreating her. This character I think is like many people who think they have everything together, or ignore their parents and then find that they should have listened to them instead.
5. The main conflict is man vs. self. Rose blames herself both for her divorce and for the death of her brother. She turns away, and becomes led astray in the most essential time of need and it cause misfortune to occur so she does not understand what she needs to do to fix her inattentiveness and she needs to look within herself to fix her relationship with her husband.
6. ALLEGORY. The allegory in the start of this chapter connects to the main point. In the allegory, the child does not listen to her mother who tells her not to ride her bike and that she will fall but the daughter does not listen. Rose does not want to listen to her mother; she does not think that she can fix her relationship with her husband. Rose did not watch Bing closely enough, which caused him to drown. When Rose wanted to play, she could not because her mother made her watch her little brothers. Rose does not want to do it, but she does anyways and she thinks she knows better than her mother but the second she disobeys her mother and turns away from Bing, he drowns.
-Allison Olkie Period 3

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 5:03:00 PM  
Blogger waddupdawg said...

#1:Decisions
#2:Half and Half
#3:This chapter was sad because Rose was getting a divorce and she tells about her brother's death. As she continues to talk about her past, I almost completely forgot about Ted and the divorce. Bing's death was tragic and everyone took the blame. Rose was kind of stupid just watching her brother fall and drown. She is an indecisive person. She just stood there wondering whether to shout or go save her brother.
#4:Rose's mom is very religious. She writes Bing's name in the bible under the Deaths section with erasable pencil which led me to believe that she thinks Bing is still alive. She loses her faith in god when they said that finding Bing is impossible. Instead of throwing away the bible, she leaves it under the wobbily table leg for support. She pretends that she forgot it was there, but it was sparkly clean, meaning she must have cleaned it or something.
#5:The conflict of this chapter is human vs. self. Rose could not decide whether to save her brother or get help resulting in her brother's death.
#6:A writing technique that is used in this chapter is flashback. The flashback was very well writing, it made me almost forget about the beginning part. We see that Rose is still an indecisive person leading to her divorce.
By Wai Chan
3rd per

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger Chen said...

1. Is it really my fault?
2. Half and Half
3. I thought this chapter was pretty good. It was understanding, the whole story on how Rose is confused on what to do now, since her husband called on a divorce and she has to go through with telling her mother that, who at the beginning, didn’t approve of their relationship. I thought it was weird how her mother would place the bible under the table as a wedge, because if her mother was trying to not see it, why would she place it at a place where it’s so easily visible? At the end where Rose finds what her mother has written in the bible “… she wrote “Bing Hsu” lightly, in erasable pencil” (131) implies that her mother still had faith and that she still thinks there is hope in finding her son. The erasable pencil meant that it was not permanent that her son was dead.
4. Rose was the kind of person with the “whatever happens, happens” personality. She let things happen, flow throughout her life. Even if she knew the outcome would not benefit her in the end, she still let things happen. For example she knew that it would’ve been bad to marry Ted because both of their mothers didn’t approve of their marriage but she let it happen. Now that their going to get a divorce, she doesn’t know what to do, showing that her decisions only benefit her in the beginning but when things get rough, that’s when she loses all self-confidence and hope. She also retells the story of the day she went fishing with her whole family. She was in charge of taking care of her siblings, especially her youngest brother, Bing, who was 4 at the time. While dealing with the mess of everything happening at the time, when Bing fell into the ocean, she didn’t know whether she should go save him or just let it go. She said it happened all at once, 2 of her brothers got into a fight, her sisters yelling, and her dad catching a fish, no one paid attention to Bing, but she saw the whole thing and didn’t so anything. She just let it happen, and when things got rough, afterwards, when her mother would make her try to find her missing brother, she didn’t know what to do. She states the very lines “I think about Bing, how I knew he was in danger, how I let it happen. I think about my marriage, how I had seen the signs… but I let it happen” showing that her perspective of things was different from others, “I think now that fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention” (131).
5. The main conflict in this chapter is internal, and it is Human vs. Self. Rose is confused with her emotions and doesn’t know what to do because of her recent conflict with her husband, and because she cannot let go of what happened in the past. She realizes that her personality is that she lets things happen even if she thinks they wont benefit her in the long run. The conflict does not get resolved in the end, because Rose still does not know what to do, and what to tell her mother.
6. I think the theme of this chapter is that your everyday decisions are going to affect you in one way or another, whether it’s good or bad. Rose has problems making decisions and her once relationship with her husband that seemed to be so great, came crashing down. Rose let her brother die before her eyes, and that cause her to question herself for the rest of her life. Now, Rose is trying to figure out what to do in the mess of everything that is happening to her right now.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:27:00 PM  
Blogger DONlikestoGETDOWNONTHEDANCEFLOOR said...

Ready, Set, Try Again
Chapter: Half and Half

3) In my opinion, this chapter is the darkest and most depressing yet. It talks about the failure marriage of Rose and the death of her younger brother Bing. This chapter does not only reflect on Rose's troubling life but Tan's amazing and mind-blowing skills as well. She starts off with the story of the Bible on under the table which makes a smooth transition to Rose's failure marriage. She also connects the story to the death of Bing. With these transitions, we are able to learn more about An- Mei and the reason why she pushes her children to try again and never give up. With these sad stories, Tan makes you want to meet Rose in person and comfort her as she struggles through her life.

4)In this chapter, we learn about An-Mei's daughter, Rose. At first the story opens up with her in her parent's home as she tries to tells her mother that she and her husband are going to divorce. Before she does this, she tells us the story of how she and her husband had a peaceful and almost perfect marriage until an accident occurs at Ted's work. She then takes us again to the past when her brother Bing dies as the waves carries him away into the endless seas. In this chapter, we learned that Rose is unable to make decisions of her own and allows others to make them for her. When she is pressured, she becomes clueless and weak.

5)I think the main conflict in this chapter is between the beliefs of An-Mei and Rose. An-Mei believes in faith while Rose believes that faith is nothing but an illusion. It is an internal conflict.

6) In this chapter, it opens up with a Bible under the table. The chapter concludes with Rose taking the Bible and opening it up. I think when Bing passed away, An-Mei's faith died as well. That is why she used the Bible to balance the table which I believe represents the balance of her life.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kelsea Wong said...

1.Hidden Mistakes

2.Half and Half

3. The foreshadowing displayed an excellent opening to the “Half and Half” vignette, which helped show the determination Rose Hsu Jordan’s mother portrayed. When Rose confessed that Ted and her would be getting divorce to her mother; her mother told her to at least try to save it. This statement of trying to save something one’s lost exhibited in numerous events of the chapter. There were parts like losing Rose’s little brother, Bing, as well as to the divorce, Ted’s decisions and her mother’s belief of God in the leather bound Bible. I enjoy the descriptive scenery and the questioning of Hsu unable to save her brother. Amy Tan placed a terrific visual of Rose and her mother cruising to the beach to search for Bing and the valuable words her mother spoken about a boy losing his hand from a firecracker accident.

4. Rose Hsu Jordan’s ex-husband, Ted, served as antagonist to this vignette. The couple met during Rose’s second semester at UC Berkeley and since then their love just grew from there. Ted was studying in pre-med. Later on, the two got married with Ted was the king of decisions. Ever since Ted made an accident on one of his patients and ended in a disaster he forced Rose to decide on everything. This sudden change in the atmosphere overthrown Rose revealing glitches in their marriage. Ted’s decisions making was always his and it never prepared Rose to make her own decision. This caused Rose to question her choices whether they were correct or desperate for Ted to pitch in. Her husband practically ran her life without her pitching her own ideas and judgment.

5. The main conflict is man versus self, which is the conflict of Rose unable to save those closest to her. First it was her little brother, Bing, at the reef and then it was her husband, Ted. It always comes to questioning herself as if she needs consultation with her decisions. I think she leaned more on Ted everyday that she is dependent whenever she has to make her own decision. When she witness Bing falling into the sea she just paused and asked herself whether she should call one of her parents or pull him out. Her hesitation stopped her from what truly matter and that was to go and save him, but by the time she was ready she was too late. Secondly, when her mother told her to save her relationship with Ted, Rose already assumed that it was too late like the lost of her brother.

6. This section relates to the allegory because they are both mother and daughter relations. In these two the mothers both read a book named as the Twenty-Six Malignant Gates and tried to warn or advise their daughter to do something. In the allegory the mother warns her daughter to not cross the borders that cut around the corner. The mother from “Half and Half” chapter advises her daughter to try and save her relationship with Ted.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 9:59:00 PM  
Blogger that'swhatmel said...

1. A pinch of faith, a dash of fate and now all you do is wait.
2. Rose Hsu Jordan: Half and Half
3. It was a very sad chapter to say the least, but I think it was one of the most heartfelt ones. As I began to read this chapter, I was a bit confused because it talked about Rose and Ted’s marriage then suddenly jumped into a beach trip. I didn’t like how Ted let his mistake affect his and Rose’s relationship. I thought he acted very childish after he sucked out some patient’s nerve. He got mad at Rose for not being able to make decisions when he couldn’t either. Sounds a bit hypocritical to me! By the end of this portion of the chapter, I was angry with both Rose’s and Ted’s indecisiveness. When Rose’s family took their trip to the beach in the flashback, I became more interested in the vignette. I thought it was cute that Bing wanted to be close to his dad and explore the cove, but I found it tragic that he lost his life with one slip into the ocean. I was shocked when Rose thought, “He’s going to fall in,” yet did nothing to prevent it! HELLO….why wouldn’t you want to save your brother? When Bing fell in, Rose didn’t do anything either which shocked me again! After this tragedy, I felt it touching that each family member blamed themselves for what happened to Bing. It showed how much each one of them loved him. I found it inspiring that Bing’s mother tried everything she could to bring Bing back even though the police told her there was no hope left. This was heart warming to know that a mother would go through so much just to be next to her child or get her child back. Lastly, I liked the idea of nengkan and this chapter showed me that even in the darkest of times, there is always some bit of hope.
4. The main character in this chapter is Rose Hsu Jordan. Throughout the chapter we find out that she is a very indecisive person. We first see this when Ted, her now ex-husband lets her make her some decisions for the both of them. But Rose let her lack of confidence keep her from making decisions leading Ted and her to get into arguments. Could her indecisiveness be the reason to their divorce? Maybe. Rose also shows her indecisiveness when she sees her brother Bing fall into the ocean and doesn’t know if she should run to help or not.
5. I think the main conflict of this vignette is human vs. self. Rose has to deal with her lack of self confidence and has a hard time taking a stand in life. She is always so dependent on people to run her life for her, make her decisions for her, but when given the opportunity to decide for herself, she shied away. Another conflict in this chapter is illustrated when Bing falls into the ocean and drowns. This can be described as a human vs. nature conflict. Lastly, there is a human vs. human conflict which is shown when Ted and Rose argue.
6. This chapter is connected to the allegory in many ways. In the allegory, the mother tells the girl not to ride the bicycle around the corner, but she does anyway because she thinks she knows better and suffers the consequences of falling. In this chapter, Rose does not listen to her mother and try to save her marriage because she fears it is too late. Rose and Ted end up getting a divorce. Another way this chapter is connected to the allegory is because Bing doesn’t listen to Rose and he ends up falling into the ocean and drowning.

Melani Cabanayan; Period 3

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

1. Yin and Yang
2. Half and Half
3. This chapter was very interesting to read, going from the present to a flashback that explained her past. It flowed really well and Amy Tan also made great use of foreshadowing to always give me the feeling that something bad was about to happen. Not only did this create suspense, but it left a depressing mood. At the part where they were at the beach and Bing was walking along the cliff, I thought of Murphy's Law, where if anything can go wrong, it will. Rose's slow and indecisive actions made me angry and her mom's unrelenting faith made me go wow.
4. I don't really like Rose because she seems to just go with the flow and she doesn't take responsibility. When she saw Bing fall, she may have been in shock, but she still should have done something. Since it was partly her fault for Bing's death, this may have caused her to stray away from being responsible for things later in life. For example, even Ted her husband tells her "you can't have it both ways, none of the responsibility, none of the blame"(120). Rose may be indecisive to protect herself and others.
5. The main conflict is human vs. self, where Rose has an ongoing internal struggle within herself. She battles pros and cons of decisions in her mind. She knows what she should do, but lets 'fate' take control. This is what eventually caused her divorce and also Bing's death.
6. I think the moral, or theme of this chapter has to do with fate and decisions. Everyone has to make choices in like that we aren't always happy with, but we can't just let fate take care of things either. However, like Rose's mother, we need to have faith in our decisions in order to change fate.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Raymond said...

Raymond Glassey; Period 3

1. Indecisiveness results in Failure
2. Half and Half
3. I’m not sure what to make of this chapter, because the chapter is almost like two vignettes rather than one. The second story was rather depressing as well with the death of Bing followed by the fruitless attempt at resurrection by An-Mei. The first story about Rose’s divorce with Ted didn’t seem as powerful as the vignette about Bing, but the first story relates to the title of the chapter more because Rose says how “[they] became inseparable, two halves creating the whole yin and yang” (118). The second story relates to the allegory at the beginning since the Twenty-Six Malignant Gates were mentioned. I still liked this chapter more than the previous one however, even though it continued after I expected it to end with Rose & Ted’s divorce.
4. Rose strikes me as a somewhat intelligent character, but her major flaw is her indecisiveness. Initially, in the chapter, it benefits her because it gives her and Ted the sense of saving one another, contributing to the resulting marriage. However, this same indecisiveness which brought them together ends up causing the divorce when Ted begins to lose confidence in himself, and tries to rely on Rose for decisions. The same indecisiveness could arguably have resulted in Bing’s death because Rose didn’t do ANYTHING even though she was the one who first saw Bing fall, and yet all she could do was sit on the ground and her mind went blank.
5. The conflict in this chapter is Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Man, and possibly Man vs. Self. The external conflict of Man vs. Nature is because Bing falls into the ocean and drowns. Man vs. Man is a conflict because Rose conflicts with Ted in her inability to be decisive and another conflict of Man vs. self in that An-Mei loses her faith because despite all the things she did, Bing’s body was not returned to her by the gods.
6. This chapter is easily connected to the allegory at the beginning of the section because in the second half, the Twenty-Six Malignant Gates, a book listing the bad things that could befall a child, are mentioned by Rose as a prelude for when An-Mei lost her faith. In fact, Tan probably used this as foreshadowing for Bing’s death. Another way you could connect this chapter to the allegory is in the beginning when Rose doesn’t want to follow her mother’s advice and attempt to save the marriage, believing that it is doomed anyway. However, we don’t know whether Rose is going to crash like the girl in the story as it was unresolved by the chapter’s end.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger BrynIsBttrThnDonAtGttinDwn said...

1. “How would you like your coffee?”
“Half and half, please.”

2. “Half and Half”

3. This chapter was kind of depressing. With talk of Ted and Rose’s marriage problems, I did not expect there to be a flash back with a death. I thought the nengkan thing was pretty cool. It makes a pretty good theme. An-mei’s faith was very strong. She tells her children to never give up, such as Rose to not give up on her marriage. This contradicts her though because she gives up her faith in god.

4. Rose reminds me a lot of certain people I know. People who cannot make up there minds about anything. This can sometimes be really annoying. They think that if they do not have to decide, then they do not have to take any of the responsibility, buts it’s like how Ted said, “You can’t have it both ways, none of the responsibility, none of the blame” (pg 120).

5. The conflict in this chapter is human vs. self. Rose’s indecisiveness causes the death of her marriage as well as Bing. She does not know how to take the wheel. She needs other people to do it for her. Had she been able to make a decision, perhaps both her love life and her brother would have survived.

6a. I think the theme in this chapter is to never give up. An-mei tried every possible method to try to bring back Bing. She spoke to God, she threw in her precious ring, she hallucinated. All the same, it took very long for her to give up hope.

Bryan Bui

Thursday, December 31, 2009 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Maggs said...

1. Bye Bing

2. Half and Half

3. I think this chapter was very emotionally captivating. I really wanted Rose and her mom to find Bing and when they didn’t it killed my hope along with theirs. Rose was stunned that Bing actually fell into the water and didn’t say anything about it; in my head I screamed at her in irritation as if I could actually change what happened. In my mind, I questioned Rose on why she wouldn’t run after her brother, I mean no matter how stunned or scared I would be if I saw my sibling fall into the bottomless water, I would try as hard I could to save them. I just think it was a little outrageous for her not to even scream or move.

4. In this chapter, Rose’s mom, An-mei Hsu seems like a very determined and superstitious woman. When Rose and An-mei returned to the beach to find Bing, An-mei threw her ring into the ocean, as a superstitious belief that it would help bring back Bing. The ring belonged to her deceased mom, but she was still willing to throw it away forever in belief that Bing would be brought back to her by the gods. Also when the coast guard calls off the search, An-mei was so determined to find him, she goes out into the ocean and swims around and tries to find him even though she had never swam before (as we are told by Rose). An-mei’s actions depict her character as determined and also highly superstitious, at least until Bing wasn’t returned to her.

5. The main conflict in this chapter is An-mei’s struggle with her belief in faith. The stuggle is within her so it is man vs. self. R0se tells the story of how her mom lost faith and put the bible underneath the table. The bible itself symbolizes An-mei’s faith, although it is reduced from being carried with her at all times to being underneath the kitchen table, it remains white. Therefore the faith itself has not been tainted, it just becomes less noticeable. Although faith had failed An-mei in returning her son, Bing, she still believes in a different kind of faith which is nengkhan, and that is the faith that helps her continuously pick herself back up in order to try and try again until she succeeds. The conflict is resolved in the matter that An-mei does still believe in faith but in a less noticeable way. The conflict could also be Rose’s struggle with faith again with the loss of Bing, and now her husband. But in the end she decides that she must also believe in nengkhan and keep trying in order to save her marriage.

6d. In this chapter Amy Tan uses a flashback in order to demonstrate how her mom had lost faith. Because the flashback is to such a crucial memory in their life, it helps the reader understand the characteristics of both An-mei and Rose and how the conflict was created and how it was also solved. The faith was lost in the flashback, and by the time Rose talks about her marriage one can see that An-mei hasn’t lost all faith, because she still believes that Rose should not give up and should work to save her marriage. I think if Tan hadn’t used the flashback, it would be difficult to understand the role of faith in their lives.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger Nico said...

1. My own fault

2. "Half and Half"

3. I thought that this chapter was really depressing for a few reasons. Rose Hsu Jordan, and the man she loves, Ted, are planning to get divorced. She thinks about telling her mother, and she remembers the day she went to the beach with her family. Rose had been put in charge of watching her younger brothers and the youngest of them, Bing, asks if he can go play in the water. She lets him and he drowns as a result. After searching for a while and coming back the next day, they give up. It makes me sad to think that Rose's younger brother drowns just because she allowed him to go play.

4. Rose is having problems with her marriage for one main reason. She lets Ted make all the decisions, and when he starts to only make some of the decisions, their marriage falls apart. This shows that Rose is not an independant woman and depends on others. She also has self- confidence issues.

5. The main conflict is probably human vs. self. An-mei has lost faith in her religion because of an event that happened a long time ago. Although Rose was the one who let Bing go, An-mei still feels responsible. She tries everything, including making offerings to her deity and even throws out a rescue tube, but nothing works. She starts to doubt her religon and loses faith in it. The conflict is never resolved.

6. The theme of this chapter is that life is unfair and that you should accept fate and not linger on horrible things that have already passed.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 2:11:00 PM  
Blogger phunkmasterJobyJo said...

Isn't half-and-half the stuff you put in coffee?

“Half and Half”

OK so the Hsu family is the average American nuclear family, which falls apart because of the death of the youngest child, Bing. Even their faith in God does not salvage things, eventually turning to their Water God for help. But alas, that last-ditch attempt was also futile. (What does that say about the author's view on faith and religion?) And Rose's relationship with Ted drew striking parallels with that of Dana and Kevin. Also that part where they were trying to find Bing was touching. And when the mom saw him, Amy Tan wrote it so I actually believed they found Bing..

4 The character in question is Rose, who is an indecisive person. In her marriage with Ted, she relies on him to make all the decisions, but later falters and stumbles as she must be the decisive one. This trait also comes to light when she sees Bing fall into the water, but stood and did nothing nor told anyone. Contrast this to a certain Dana Franklin who was very assertive in being her own woman, letting nothing tell her what to do.

5 The main conflict was the Hsu family trying to deal with the loss of Bing, so that could have been either external (due to the ocean's heist of him, hence man vs nature) or internal, with each family member faulting themselves for the incident. (man vs himself)

6a Throughout the chapter Amy Tan emphasized the faith the family had, Christianity and Chinese superstition. In and before that ordeal, the Hsu family relied on that faith to get them through troubles and problems. When they finally arrived at an incident that could not be solved by faith alone, it crumbled. (The Bible, once having been a treasured item, now under the dinner table, serves as a symbol of such.) Therefore the theme could also be read as 'Faith doesn't get you through everything, or anything, if at all.'
~El Schelonai, AKA Nicholas Lee, Period the 4th

Thursday, December 31, 2009 2:55:00 PM  
Blogger EthanJosephLe said...

1. "Faith or Fate?"

2. "Half and Half"

3. I thought that this chapter was pretty sad. At first, it talks about Rose wanting to tell her mother about her divorce. The story flashes back to when Rose and Ted were dating, and everything seemed happy despite their families' disapproval. After they got married, I kinda thought things were weird, and how the fact that Ted decided everything was almost a sign of their fail marriage. After Ted's lawsuit, it was obvious that he had changed, which is why he wanted the divorce. Then it talked about how Rose's mom lost her faith, which came the story of their day at the beach. Overall, the story was pretty sad, especially the end when she opens the Bible.

4. I think that An-Mei, Rose's mother, started out as a pretty strong character. From the way she was described, she seemed like a superhero, almost fearless. A big part of this was due to her strong faith in God and that with his blessings, her luck would never run out and the good things would just keep pouring in. Eventually, after the death of her son, she became almost completely faithful to God. She trusted God to return her baby to her. Like a story that had reached its climax, her faith began to fall, and she now uses the Bible only to support a wobbly table leg.

5. The conflict is human vs nature as Bing falls into the water. Also, the family tries to search for his body, but hopeless fails. It's also human vs self as the family each blamed themselves for what happened to Bing and how they could've prevented it. I believe that it's human vs human as well, because Rose's mom disagrees that she should get a divorce.

6. I think that the Bible is a symbol of AnMei's faith. She carried it everywhere with her at first, and that was when she was a strong believer of God. After the death of Bing, she carried it with her when she tried to find his body. After her search failed, she used it as a table supporter. One might think that she has abandoned God, but I believe that she hasn't. She still keeps the Bible squeaky clean even though Rose says that she is a bad housekeeper. It kind of shows that she still has some faith left in God.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 3:18:00 PM  
Blogger K said...

Kathy Nguyen Per 4

1. "Faith was all she had."

2. "Half and Half"

3. I thought this chapter was sad, because of Bing's death. It started out as a happy family going out to the beach to have fun, but to end with Bing dying. I admired An-Mei's determination to find Bing, even though it was obvious she wouldn't be able to. Though she kept believing in her superstitions, and nengkhan. I think Ted was kind of harsh on Rose after he lost his lawsuit. He could have tried to get Rose to help him make decisions in the beginning of their marriage. But it seems they were lost in the illusions on love, because they "clung to each other with a rather silly desperation." They "became inseparable, two halves creating the whole: yin and yang" (118).

4. An-mei has a character of determination, for she does her best to try to keep Rose's marriage from falling apart. Especially, when she swam out to find Bing. It seemed obvious the marriage was not able to be saved, but An-mei was willing since she relied on her nengkhan. She still believes in faith, but she could at least try to learn from her mistakes and realize she cannot alway rely on her nengkhan.

5. The main conflict would be Rose and her willingness to believe in faith. This conflict also being internal, and human vs. self. Rose is conflicted by her marriage, and is able to relate to it with the death of Bing when he fell into the ocean.

6d. The writing technique Amy Tan uses is flashback. She uses the flashback as how An-mei lost her faith after she realized Bing was not going to come back. Rose uses Bing's death to relate to her divorce with Ted, knowing that she will not be able to save it, even though her mother tries to persuade Rose into trying to.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger Nhat Hoang said...

1. Lose your faith, now all you have is fate
2. “Half and Half”
3. This chapter is probably one of the most depressing. A marriage falls apart and a loved brother and son are lost forever. What bothered me the most (apart from the racism) is how Rose Hsu knew what Bing was doing but just sat there and thought about what she should do. If I was her, I would just run and scream after my brother without a second thought or hesitation. While I was reading, I actually thought that Rose and her mother finds Bing, but I guess not. I can, however, somewhat relate to Rose because she’s a very indecisive person and I am too. It often frustrates others because I usually give indirect, incomplete or unsure answers. (I’m working on it!) But, I believe that Rose should keep trying and not let “fate” decide everything for her. I also think that Rose’s mother still has part of her faith in God. Why else would she put the Bible somewhere that’s obviously visible? Losing faith is one of the many unfortunate things that can happen to a person because hope is a very powerful thing.
4. Rose Hsu Jordon is a very frustrating character. She oftentimes cannot make decisions for herself, causing her to be a dependent on others. It irritates her husband and he even tells her that “[she] can’t have it both ways, none of the responsibility, none of the blame” (120). As a child, it’s normal to be leaning towards others but as an adult, you have to be in control of your own life. Rose doesn’t even take charge of her life; she lets fate decide what will or will not happen for her. As a younger child, she even watches her brother fall into the water while she tries to decide of what after it’s too late. Rose then has to live with the guilt and memories from that moment. Everyone has things that they wish they can change and there will be a time in our lives where we can’t depend on others anymore.
5. There are many conflicts in this chapter, such as the deteriorating relationship between Rose and Ted and the loss of faith that the mother suffers. The main conflict, however, is man vs. self for Rose. Rose is a dependent and indecisive person since she doesn’t make decisions for herself and believes that fate will do everything for her. Her brother’s death and the marriage that’s falling apart along with many other things are things Rose could’ve saved. She now only lives with the memories because she sits back, waiting for results instead of taking action. Always letting things happen because Rose doesn’t act when she needs to, things don’t for her.
6a. I think the theme of this chapter is to never stop trying. Rose could’ve saved her marriage and possibly her brother if she doesn’t just “let things happen,” and her mother holds on tight to hope when things seem impossible. I think she still has some faith even though she denies it since she writes in the Bible before putting it under the table where she frequently sees it. You have to keep your faith because there are many things that you have control of. Fate doesn’t decide everything since it is “shaped half by expectation, half by inattention” (131).

Thursday, December 31, 2009 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger jessica said...

Losing Faith
"Half and Half"

I have to say that this chapter was better than the others. I liked the idea of nengkan, and how you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it. I could understand what Rose was going through when she thought that maybe "faith was just an illusion that somehow you're in control," (121). I think the reason that An-Mei lost her faith was because she couldn't control what happened to Bing, no matter how much she tried.

Even so, I admire An-Mei for her determination to get Bing back, how much she believed that she could find him. She swam into the ocean even though she didn't know how; she tried everything. But I also feel bad for Ted, who lost faith in himself to make his own decisions. And poor Rose is just stuck in the middle of it all.

The main conflict of this chapter is probably human vs. nature. Actually, it would be human vs. fate. Rose knows that she can't change the fate of her and Ted getting a divorce, so she doesn't try. She doesn't have faith in their marriage. An-Mei tries to reverse Bing's fate by doing things to see if he's still alive. Even though she gave up, on the inside, we know that she still has that little bit of faith in her, as shown when Rose opens the Bible and sees Bing's name "lightly, in erasable pencil." (131)

Amy Tan uses a lot of foreshadowing in this chapter, because as I was reading the part about the Hsu's trip to the beach, I could feel that something bad was about to happen. I knew there was going to be a death taking place, because Rose talked about the cove as if it was "a terrible place, filled with wet shadows that chilled us and invisible specks that flew into our eyes and made it hard for us to see the danger," (122). Also, the superstitions about The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates was also foreshadowing that something would happen to the little boy.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 5:01:00 PM  
Blogger Julianroy said...

Chapter: Half and Half

3. This chapter both shocked and saddened me. First off, the mood in the beach scene was calm and peaceful until Bing goes missing. Then, the mood becomes frantic and scary. Although I thought they were going to find Bing within the first few minutes, I started to realize that all the attempts were futile as the hours in the story wore on. It saddened me even more when An-mei desparately tried everything she could, including praying to God and putting up offerings to the Coiled Dragon but to no avail.

4. Rose has trouble making decisions. She is so used to having decisions made for her that when her husband Ted starts relying on her to make the choices, she can't and it ruins their marriage.

5.The conflict in this chapter is Man vs. self because Rose struggles to overcome her constant inability to come to a decision. This trait ends up killing her brother Bing and destroying her marriage.

6. The theme is even though it doesn't seem like something is repairable, you have to at least try.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 6:23:00 PM  
Blogger Julianroy said...

Chapter: Half and Half

3. This chapter both shocked and saddened me. First off, the mood in the beach scene was calm and peaceful until Bing goes missing. Then, the mood becomes frantic and scary. Although I thought they were going to find Bing within the first few minutes, I started to realize that all the attempts were futile as the hours in the story wore on. It saddened me even more when An-mei desparately tried everything she could, including praying to God and putting up offerings to the Coiled Dragon but to no avail.

4. Rose has trouble making decisions. She is so used to having decisions made for her that when her husband Ted starts relying on her to make the choices, she can't and it ruins their marriage.

5.The conflict in this chapter is Man vs. self because Rose struggles to overcome her constant inability to come to a decision. This trait ends up killing her brother Bing and destroying her marriage.

6. The theme is even though it doesn't seem like something is repairable, you have to at least try.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 6:23:00 PM  
Blogger berries n cream said...

1. Lost at Sea
2. Half and Half
3. This chapter was really sad, due to the loss of Bing Hsu. This is a very good chapter because of the determination of An-Mei and how she is so devoted to God's faith to find Bing. The belief of their nengkan also made them believe that anything can be done because you need to do it.
4. At first, An-Mei was very ignorant and didn't want people to know her reason behind putting her bible under the table. At the end of the chapter, its easy to see that she really believed in God and had faith in Him to help her bring Bing back. She also had a strong belief for her nengkan, which made her believe that Rose must try to keep her marriage with Ted together.
5. The main conflict in this story is losing Bing. This is an example of a Man vs. Nature. The other conflicts are Man vs. Man, which is Rose and Ted not being able to decide anything in their marriage.
6. Amy Tan uses a lot of powerful word choice and imagery which allowed me to picture the scene of Rose watching Bing fall into the ocean. It really improved the chapter and allowed me to picture everything that was happening instead of trying to picture the things that happened.
-Eric Tam, Period 3

Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:09:00 PM  
Blogger Christina Nguyen said...

Never know unless you try
“Half and Half”

REACTION: This chapter was a bit disappointing and sad because of all the tragic events that happened. The first was the break-up between Rose and her husband and then the flashback of the lost of her brother. How can she have a relationship where she just does what her husband tells her? He makes all the decisions and she basically doesn’t care about anything that occurs in their relationship. The relationship is one-sided and if i was her husband, i would be angry too because my wife doesnt care enough to make decisions that affects our lives. With her brother, she saw him right before he entered the water but she didnt do anything about it. She knew he was young and didnt really understand the dangers, but she didnt go straight to help him. It’s not completely her fault, but she should be more decisive and independent with her decisions.
CHARACTER: An-Mei wrote Bing’s name in her bible very lightly in pencil. This shows that she still believed in the higher power and that they will rescue her son’s soul one day. She had done everything she thought would rescue her son and bring him back to her, but nothing had worked. Believing in a higher power and still wanting the best for her kids, even with the help from others, shows that she has the natural mother instinct and protection towards her kids.
CONFLICT: The main conflict would be the external conflict of human vs. Nature. The flashback to the Hsu’s trip to the beach had ended with a tragedy. Bing had died from being swept away by the waves of the ocean. The action of the crashing waves by nature caused the Hsu’s family devastation and grief.
WRITING TECHNIQUE: In this chapter, Amy Tan uses flashbacks to improve her story and create a point. After Rose told her mother about her dying marriage with her husband and that there was nothing she could do to fix it, the story went back to the day their whole family went to the beach. This event explained the personality that each character portrayed and how the rest of their lives were lived out. The lost of their youngest brother explained how her mother had become and how each family member changed.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:19:00 PM  
Blogger Tara Lynn. said...

1) Decisions, decisions...

2) “Half and Half”

3) I thought this chapter was really sad. First of all, because of the divorce between Ted and Rose. I think divorces are just plain depressing. Two people who were once happy and in love, now can’t even see eye-to-eye and they don’t want anything to do with each other anymore? How does that even happen?! It’s confounding, and very sad. Secondly, it was sad because poor little Bing fell off the rocky cove into the water. Death is obviously always a dismal event. And lastly, I thought it was a dispiriting chapter because An-Mei, Rose’s mother, lost her faith. She was a strong believer in God before Bing died, and she had a positive outlook on life. You could tell this was true, because she believed she could find Bing’s body in the waves the day after he got sucked up by them, even though it seemed like an impossible thing to do. This was because of her Nengkan, or ability to do something if you put your mind to it. Once she was proven wrong and went home with no Bing, though, it seemed as if she lost her faith and Nengkan.

4) Rose Hsu Jordan was definitely an indecisive person. She was also very passive, letting Ted make all the decisions. If I had a husband and he tried to do that, I’d slap him upside the head.. Haha. It kind of seems to me like it was a rebellious thing, that they kept going out together just because their parents didn’t really want them to. That may be part of the reason their marriage failed. And it gets me mad that Rose didn’t go try and save Bing from falling into the ocean! She clearly saw it all happen and there’s a good chance she could have gone and stopped him from getting eaten by the waves instead of just standing there, watching in horror. This shows that she is a very hesitant person who doesn’t know how to think fast in the event of an emergency.

5) The main conflicts are man vs. self, man vs. nature, and man vs. man. Rose struggled to make decisions and be confident with them, which is not a good trait to have (man vs. self). This doesn’t really get resolved in this chapter. The man vs. nature conflict is when Bing falls off the cove and dies. This doesn’t exactly get resolved because he is fighting to keep himself from falling by staying close against the rocky walls, but he ends up falling anyway. The man vs. man conflict is between Rose and Ted. This is because they are getting divorced. In other words, they’re going against each other.

6) I think the theme here is that you can’t depend on somebody to make all your decisions for you your whole life. You start out as a kid who doesn’t know much, so of course your parents will make decisions for you and guide you along on the right path. But once you’re an adult, you’re alone on that path, and you need to start making decisions yourself to keep yourself on track. Rose got lucky and went years without making a single choice while she was with Ted, but in the end she wasn’t so lucky because he changed and decided that he was done declaring what they were going to do, and she was completely lost. You need to learn to be independent; otherwise you could end up completely down-the-drain if the thing you depend on happens to leave.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:33:00 PM  
Blogger Taylor said...

1. Faith Cannot Change Fate
2. Half and Half
3. I found this chapter to be really depressing. I liked the way Amy Tan put two stories into the chapter. The first story of Rose and her broken marriage foreshadows that something terrible will happen in the second story of the flashback Rose has of her family at the beach. It’s really sad that Bing dies. Why did Rose not make the choice to save Bing? I find this outrageous because if it were me I would of saved Bing without having a second thought about it. It’s heartbreaking how her and her mother go back to the beach and think they can bring back Bing with their Chinese superstitions. It’s sad how much faith they have in it and It made me feel terrible with it failed them. They really had hope. Now Rose doesn’t have hope for her marriage because of this past experience.
4. Rose cannot seem to make any decisions at all for herself. She couldn’t decide what to do when Bing was about to fall so she just watched. It shows how she sits back and just lets things happen. Throughout her whole marriage she makes her husband make all the decisions. It’s probably because then if it was the wrong choice she would have “none of the responsibility, none of the blame” (120).
5. The conflict in this chapter is human vs. self. Rose struggles throughout the chapter with making decisions. She probably does this so she won’t make the wrong choice but by standing back and watching she ends up losing everything. She loses Bing and her marriage. Perhaps Bing still would have been alive if she hadn’t stood there watching him thinking about what she should do. Her marriage might still be alive also if she made some choices for herself or made the choice to save it. Rose even admits she knew things were taking a turn for the worse but she did absolutely nothing to stop it.
6. I think the moral of this chapter is not making a decision is just as worse and making the wrong choice. Rose doesn’t make a choice about Bing and the worst ends up happening. Bing falls into the ocean and ends up dying. Rose knows her marriage is going downhill but instead of trying to change it she just lets it happen and her husband ends up wanting a divorce. She won’t take the chance of making the wrong choice and ironically not making a choice is the wrong choice for just about everything in Rose’s life.

-Taylor Gralak

Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:56:00 PM  
Blogger FREAKOFNATURE said...

1. Up to You! Indecisive much?
2. Half and Half
3. I think this chapter is really sad that Bink is the one who dies and An-Mei and Rose mourn over it for a long time. This is my favorite chapter yet because there's always a foreshadow that attracts you to keep reading. This chapter was very emotional and proves how much An-Mei was so devoted to finding her son, Bing.
Also, I felt sad for Rose when her husband, Ted, called for a divorce.
4. Rose is very indecisive about her feelings and doesn't know what she truly wants. She let her husband control her in their relationship when they're both supposed to be responsible and controlling. Thus, when her husband had her make the decisions, she couldn't. This is what makes her very indecisive. Although I was very annoyed by her indecisiveness, when she had the flashback of the day at the beach, I felt sad for Rose because she was pressured so much by her elders. Unfortunately, when Bing fell into the water, Rose didn't do anything to save him. Instead, she just falls to her knees in shock. This shows that Rose is irresponsible.
5. The main conflict in this chapter is human vs. self between Rose and herself. She doesn't have the courage to face fate. She isn't used to showing her true self and going by her own decisions causing her to be very indecisive. Due to herself not having faith in what she can really be leads her to live a hard life.
6. Amy Tan uses a couple of flashbacks in the chapter to help improve the storyline which helps readers to understand the history of the present story. She uses a flashback to tell about how Rose and Ted met and how their relationship started and collapsed. She also included a flashback about Rose and her family’s first beach trip to explain why her mother had lost faith in her religion.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 9:38:00 PM  
Blogger (゚Д゚ ") said...

1.) like a frozen yogurt

2.) "Half and Half"

3.) This chapter had a depressing aura to it, created by the loss of Bing Hsu. I didn't enjoy how Amy Tan kept sprinkling little hints of agony arising, I'd prefer it if it'd happened more quickly. Kind of like a needle, I just wanted to get over the sorrow and keep reading into a more comforting ending, but that didn't happen neither. The ending once again, had to be filled with somewhat of an enlightening, but still depressing theme.

4.) Ted seemed to be the independent one in the relationship between him and Rose, and without him Rose collapsed and was like a helpless infant. Their divorce completely supports me, as without Ted Rose became useless and had no idea what to do whatsoever, though Ted still went on to proceed in life.

5.) The conflict here seems to be human vs self, but in my opinion it's quite debatable. I choose human vs self, simply because it's what stands out the most. Rose seems to be unstable after Brian Hsu, and she seems incompetent as well as unsure, she needed to regain her confidence and decide her paths for herself.

6.) The theme here is stated near the end in plain black and white, "When you lose something you love faith takes over..." (131).

Thursday, December 31, 2009 9:43:00 PM  
Blogger 巾幗梟雄茂甩程秤Benjamin秤程甩茂雄梟幗巾 said...

1. Prevention

2. Half and Half

3. I thought the chapter was a bit long. At some points it was easy to find out what was exactly happening. My reaction toe Rose’s decision was that she was useless and needed to depend on others. She can’t decide anything and does not take control. She lets events and others decide for her. It seems as if she has no opinion. I thought she was like this because everything was taken care of her when she was little. I also wondered why she did not try to save her marriage.

4. Rose Hsu Jordan seems to be like a sheep that is following a herd. She does not decide for herself, but lets others decide her fate. She seems to let others control her life and she is powerless in any decision because her opinion seems to not matter. This shows the reader that Rose does not take charge of her life. It also shows that she does not want to face a problem because when facing problems, you must decide how to fix it.

5. The conflict in the chapter is Rose not being able to face a problem. The conflict is internal and is human vs. self. This is human vs. self because Rose cannot face a problem and she cannot decide. This is internal because she is fighting herself to find the power to decide, take control of her life, and face problems.

6. A major theme in this chapter is to face the problem. Because rose did not stop her little brother from going into dangerous waters, her little brother drowned. This also shows up when Ted, Rose’s husband, asks for Rose’s decision. Rose decides to go with what Ted wants and not deal with the problem of deciding.

BENJAMIN LY

Thursday, December 31, 2009 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger brandon said...

jackie chen period3


1) choices
2) Half and Half
3) I thought this chapter was very sad and depressing. It was about divorce and death which are both depressing things. I thought Rose was very indecisive and couldn’t make up her mind about anything. Whether she should get a divorce or not, and even whether to save her drowning little brother or not.
4) The man character Rose Jordan, is a very indecisive person and doesn’t act up on anything. She allowed her marriage to fall apart without even trying to fix it. She also couldn’t save her own brother from drowning. It shows how she couldn’t make important choices for anything.
5) I think this chapter is mostly an internal conflict between Rose and herself. Rose can’t make decisions for anything and lets things go the way it is. She lets things happen without trying to control it which leads to problems for herself. Like her marriage and her brother, if she had tried to take control of her situation and feelings, she would have had a better marriage and Bing would still be alive.
6) A symbol of this chapter would be the Bible. It represents faith and how to failed them. It shows that you should control your own fate rather than letting your faith control your fate.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Candy God Cody Dang said...

1. Yin and Yang
2. Half and Half
3. I didn’t enjoy this chapter, but I did think that it was very interesting. It was fairly easy and I liked the analogies that Amy Tan made throughout the novel. I didn’t like the depressing nature of it, though…I did not find any satisfaction in the ending. I hated how it ended with the depressing story of Bing’s death. The story was a sad tale from start to finish, and I found the ending to be a little unsettling and very eerie. I found it hard to enjoy this story in any aspect. The writing didn’t seem as good, either, compared to the other stories. Also, I really feel no sympathy for the main character, Rose, at all. I hate how she doesn’t want to ever take on any responsibility and always relies on Ted to make decisions for them, even for minor things. If she wanted a happy relationship, she needs to play a role in her relationship with Ted.
4. I hated Rose’s attitude. She just seems to be so lazy, forcing Ted to make every decision, never once deciding something for herself, not even once. I really hate her indecisive attitude. She doesn’t seem to have even one redeeming quality. When her little brother dies, everyone feels responsible, but Rose doesn’t accept that Bing only died because of her lazy, uncaring attitude. I can’t believe a character like this is supposed to be a protagonist. In a way, I feel that she deserves the divorce, because all she does is leech off of Ted, and never helps him when he loses the lawsuit after sucking out a woman’s cheek nerves. Rose is a strange character who is definitely beyond my understanding.
5. I believe that the conflict is human versus self. I also think that this is an internal conflict within Rose as she denies responsibility and has a pending divorce, as well as the knowledge of what her parents will say if she speaks of the divorce. I think that Rose tries to learn to accept certain responsibilities by the end of the novel by returning to a memory of the past in which she had a similar problem.
6. I think that Amy Tan utilizes the writing technique of flashbacks well. By allowing Rose to return to a memory from the past, she is able to find ways to deal with her present problems by learning from her past mistakes, and she is able to realize that she must face her problems and take responsibility as the time comes.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

1.The Lost Souls

2. "Half and Half"

3. This chapter had a few flashbacks which I liked. They both told a tale of two sad stories. I thought it was interesting reading about her relationship with her husband and how it fell apart. When her brother Bing was lost at sea how they kept trying with throwing tea out into the sea. It was sad how Rose expected to be blamed for Bing's death, but the mother blamed herself instead. Just because she told Rose to stop the fight, she took her eyes off Bing for a moment, and was gone.

4.The character Ted seemed like a confident character. He doesn't want anyone to control his life like his mother telling them that they can't marry so he can pursue deeper into his career. He makes all the decision in his marriage until he loses his confidence when he sucks out a nerve out of a patient. He gets sued, and loses all of his confidence. He then seeks Rose to make all the decisions of their life.

5.The conflict within the story is human vs self. Rose has a problem with deciding what to choose when she is given the task to choose what to do. She knows that she can't do anything anymore, but is given a choice to at least try. Another problem is human vs religion when her mom loses faith in God. She gives the oceans back their water, but Bing never comes back. She at least tries, but loses her faith in God altogether after begging him to give back her blessing.
6. In the first flashback when Rose meets Ted's mom, she tells her to break it off. Ted didn't need a relationship at that moment, and needed to concentrate on his career, but they both ignore the warning and get married anyways. In the end, their marriage breaks apart, and crumbles. Just like in the second flashback when Bing doesn't listen to the warnings to be careful walking around the cove. He doesn't listen either, and falls off only to be lost forever in the sea.

-Diana Li

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Maobertooo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Toothpick said...

1. Split
2. Half and Half

3. This chapter was really sad, and kept my attention to the very end. I was expecting Bing to somehow reappear or be found, but that didnt happen. My heart dropped when they gave up looking. Divorces are very sad too. Makes you think of how people can change under different circumstances. I also felt bad that the family all kind of felt responsible for Bing's death.

4. Rose is a very indecisive person. She is used to her husband making all the decisions, but when he is sued for malpractice, he needs her help making decisions. However, she doesn't feel like she can.

5. The conflict is human vs self. Rose indecisiveness results in many problems in her life such as the divorce between her and Ted. Also, when Bing had fallen in, Rose couldn't decide between an attempt to rescue him or to get help. The wasted time probably cost Bing his life.
6. The Bible that Rose's mom had was a symbol for for faith. After Bing had died, she no longer turned to it, but instead placed it under the kitchen table.

-Vincent Nguyen, Period 3

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Maobertooo said...

It’s Not My Fault!

Half and Half

1. As I was reading this chapter, I could not help but feel a sense of sympathy towards Rose, yet at the same time I was furious at her for not doing enough to save (or at least benefit) from her marriage. The way that Rose allows herself to be subdued and controlled by others, especially her husbands, attests to her characterization as being weak and indecisive. Again, this is one of the stereotypes that is often attributed to Chinese women: they are easy to control because of the traditional way in which they were brought up.

2. The protagonist of this chapter, Rose, is a timid, introspective middle-aged Chinese-American woman who is fighting a divorce with her Caucasian husband Ted. Unlike her mother An-Mei, who is determined to stick with a cause to the very end, Rose is more of the submissive type who heeds to the demands of others. When it comes to decision-making, for example, Rose decides that her husband Ted should choose because she feels that he knows better, but after Ted loses a malpractice lawsuit, he becomes unsure of himself. Rose is unable to commit herself to one decision as well, eventually leading to her husband’s doubts about their marriage and his eventual call for divorce. In her childhood, Rose suffered from her indecisiveness as well when she was partly responsible for the death of her brother Bing. Rose looks back to her past and realizes that had she been more alert, more resolute, she may have been able to rescue Bing from falling into the ocean. Instead, she describes herself as “not moving, not saying anything, [unable to] make sense of it” (135).

3. The conflict in this chapter is human vs. self as Rose struggles to find her own identity, to see where she stands in comparison with others around her. Because she has always listened to the opinions of others, she can’t decide for herself and feels weak and irresolute. Rose wants to understand herself, and her mother, better as she recalls how her mother alternated between deeply Christian beliefs and traditional Chinese rituals. She also marvels at the determination her mother displays towards life’s hardships, while Rose finds herself not as strong-willed.

4. One of the themes in this chapter could be interpreted as “Never give up hope.” Rose is portrayed as the antithesis to her mother’s persevering attitude. Whereas Rose readily admits her guilt in the death of her brother Bing, her mother An-Mei refuses to accept her son’s death until her last strand of hope fades away. Because of her inability to persevere and find her own voice, Rose finds herself increasingly trapped between her own necessities and the demands of others around her, such as her mother and later her husband Ted. In a sense, Rose’s mother actually fulfilled her desire, her nen-kan, when she drives to the beach to find the body of her lost son. She offers her devotion to the Chinese pagan god of the sea and even throws her precious sapphire ring into the sea as an offering. Rose’s mother gives up only after she realizes that all hope is lost, that she will never see her son again. Even so, An-Mei spiritually keeps the memory of her son close to her, even writing his name in the ledger in the Bible under “Deaths.”

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cucco Magic? said...

1.Not a choice, THE choice

2.Half and Half

3.This chapter was strangely depressing start to end, how after how hard they tried to get Bing, and how the chapter just ended. Ted was at a total break down after losing against malpractice, do real doctors also break down that badly?

4.Rose, she didn’t really DO anything, she mainly just stood there and watched, Bing he died because she just watched, the marriage she didn’t do anything she was mainly was just… okay… and then the marriage ended. You would think she learn something from not acting to save Bing, to her marriage with Ted.


5.Human vs. Self Rose was not acting on anything, which greatly impacted her life. The Marriage, doing nothing, Bing, doing nothing but watching.

6.A I think the Theme here is choosing your choices and action on them. All rose did was do nothing, and nothing much happened, if she acted on something, her marriage could of possibly been saved, and Bing could have been saved or at least found

?

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger jessicaisabookworm said...

Jessica Lee
Period 4
1. “And you’re just going to sit there! Let [“fate”] decide [what to do]?”
2. Half and Half
3. I thought this chapter was really sad because Bing died. I thought that the rescue guards would be able to find him. Why Rose didn’t say anything when she saw Bing fall? She might have been able to warn someone and they would have been able to find him in time. But she just thinks about what she should do instead of actually putting those thoughts into action; call for her father or run to save Bing.
4. I think that Rose didn’t pay attention to the world around her or the people around her. She seemed to have this go-with-the –flow attitude or more like go-with-whatever-someone-else-decides. She even admits that she saw the signs of her failed marriage and trouble with Bing. She chose to look away instead of trying to save her marriage and now that her marriage is ruined she doesn’t think to fix it. She saw Bing fall yet just stood because she couldn’t decide what to do. Rose went back to the beach with her mother but didn’t expect to find Bing either.
5. I think that the conflict was internal human vs. self. Rose vs. herself because she’s dependent on someone else to make decisions for her. She couldn’t decide what do when Bing fell and she felt the his death was her fault. Rose let Ted decide because that way she would have “none of the responsibility, none of the blame” (pg.120).
6. I think the theme is to “pay attention to what you [lose]” (pg. 131). Rose lost her brother and her husband, so she thinks about them and how she lost them. An-mei still pays attention to the bible, the faith she lost along with her son. The theme shows on the last page, in the resolution.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

1) One and a half
2) Half and Half
3) This chapter was a good chapter that taught us about faith. I thought that it was sad how Bing died, and how Rose’s mother tried everything to try to get Bing back, but failed. I still don’t know why Rose’s mother put the bible underneath the table. Did she really lose faith, or was it one of her ways to try and forget?
4) Rose’s mother was an interesting character. She still believed in superstition and gods even though she was a Christian. It really tells us how she integrates American religion into her Chinese heritage. When she tries to revive Bing, it shows us that she is a person who has a lot of perseverance.
5) The conflict is human vs. nature. Rose’s mother has to fight the ocean and a bit of fate in her struggle to get Bing back. In the end, she loses, and she writes down Bing’s name down in the bible.
6) The theme to this story is that “fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention”. The theme is just kind of stated in the book. And we see evidence of this all throughout the book, especially with the death of Bing.

Thursday, December 31, 2009 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

1) One and a half
2) Half and Half
3) This chapter was a good chapter that taught us about faith. I thought that it was sad how Bing died, and how Rose’s mother tried everything to try to get Bing back, but failed. I still don’t know why Rose’s mother put the bible underneath the table. Did she really lose faith, or was it one of her ways to try and forget?
4) Rose’s mother was an interesting character. She still believed in superstition and gods even though she was a Christian. It really tells us how she integrates American religion into her Chinese heritage. When she tries to revive Bing, it shows us that she is a person who has a lot of perseverance.
5) The conflict is human vs. nature. Rose’s mother has to fight the ocean and a bit of fate in her struggle to get Bing back. In the end, she loses, and she writes down Bing’s name down in the bible.
6) The theme to this story is that “fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention”. The theme is just kind of stated in the book. And we see evidence of this all throughout the book, especially with the death of Bing.

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger SHARK WEEK said...

1. "A Watery Faith"
2. "Half and Half"
3. I liked this chapter better thematically than the others, though not so much for the narrative part. It was straightforward, but I felt it meanders a bit to make its point. To be honest, I kind of liked the straightforwardness as it was a bit of a break, as it were, in contrast to the other chapters, which I felt were sometimes esoteric to a fault.
4. An-mei was a believer. She believed everything in her life was due to some higher power. She believed in the dangers "Twenty Six Malignant Gates". And in the end, she believed that she could save Bing with the help of her faith. Though she may have seemingly renounced her faith, she still notices her bible because at the end of the day, when it seems like there is nothing you can do, you can only hope, and have faith.
5. The conflict is mainly human vs. internal, I think. It is a conflict within Rose as she is hesitant and cannot seem to make her own decisions. This conflict wasn't resolved yet.
6.C. The chapter relates to the allegory as both mothers are worried of the dangers in "The Twenty Six Malignant Gates", but cannot really decipher it. Also, the danger and tragedies that happen in both might both have been caused by the mothers. If the bicycle mother had not warned her daughter, she may not have fallen. If An-mei hadn't told Rose to take care of her other brothers, Bing might not have fallen.

-Nolan Tran

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

1. “Indecisive “

2. “Half and Half’

3. Out of all the vignettes that I’ve read, this one is the most depressing by far. Rose and her family lose Bing when Rose was just a child. Rose is also going through a divorce. It was also saddening to find out that Rose’s mother, An-Mei Hsu, began to lose her faith in God after the incident with Bing. In the beginning. In my opinion, I thought Rose just lost her mind. She doesn’t do anything to save her own brother. Even though everyone else in the family blames themselves with what happened to Bing, I felt that Rose could’ve prevented this from even happening in the first place.

4. Rose is an indecisive person whose actions lead to dire consequences. Rose doesn’t take any action in her marriage and just agrees with Ted’s opinions and decisions. As a result, their marriage falls apart and eventually leads to a divorce. This is also the case with her brother, Bing. Had she done something, her brother would still be alive. At the beach, Rose questioned herself over and over as to what to do when the answer should’ve been simple.

5. The main conflict in the chapter is man vs. self and internal. Rose reminisces about what happened in her marriage. Her indecisiveness was the cause of her divorce and the death of Bing. This is somewhat resolved when her mother opens her eyes. Her mother tells her to try no matter what because it’s her fate.

6. The moral of the chapter is to take action even if there seems like there’s no hope. If Rose had spoken up to Ted and done something in her marriage, there wouldn’t have been a huge rift between them in the first place. What happened with Bing is also the same case. Rose predicted that Bing would fall into the water, but took no action.

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger Platinum said...

1. Consumed by Water

2. Half and Half

3. This chapter was very emotionally turbulent. What I mean by that was a it conjured and mixed up a lot of emotions. It was extrenely sorrowful when the whole family struggled so hard to find Bing, but alas, it was all in vain as they failed to find him. It was really interesting how Rose realizes that, in the end, she never really expected to find Bing, in the same way that she never really expected to save her marriage. I don't understand what the significance of writing Bing Hsu under deaths in "erasable pencil" is though.

4. One character that particularly caught my attention was Rose, the main character and narrator. the reason as to why she didn't save her brother when she could have still remains a mystery to me. This is also apparent in her marriage. If she had talked to her husband, Ted, and worked out their problems, the divorce that they are getting might have occurred. This clearly and obviously shows the indecisive character trait that she possesses. This particular characteristic of her has led to these problems in her life.

5. I think the main conflict in this chapter is human vs. self. There is an internal conflict within Rose, as she can never decide what to do because of her indecisive characteristics. As mentioned in number 4, Rose just seems to have an inability to decide certain things.

6. I think that the lesson to take away from this chapter is that communication is vital to a healthy relationship. If Rose had opened up in her communication to Ted, their marriage might have, as said before, have a different result. Bing might have survived and even her relationship with her mother could be different if she would have opened up more and had that direct line of communication between herself and her loved ones.

-Calvin Ho
Period 4

Friday, January 01, 2010 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gisellllle! said...

1. Let fate decide
2. Half and Half
3. I thought this chapter was very depressing. The topics of divorce and death came up, both of which create a very gloomy atmosphere in the chapter. I thought it was sad how Rose couldn’t decide whether or not she should save Bing. As a result, An-Mei and rose mourn over Binks death and they gave up looking for him.
4. Rose Hsu Jordan is very indecisive. She can’t make decisions for herself. This shows that she doesn’t know how to get through life without another opinion. She cannot solve problems by herself so she lets others control her life.
5. The conflict is internal and is human vs. self. The struggle is between Rose and herself because she can’t make any decisions. She is trying to take control of her life to make her own decisions instead of letting others control her.
6. The theme in this chapter is to make a choice. If Rose had made the decision to save her brother, he wouldn’t have drowned. If she had learned to make decisions, she could take control of her life.

Friday, January 01, 2010 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger DaoTheMackDaddy said...

1) "Heads or Tails"

2) Half and Half

3) This is probably the most dramatic chapter I've read out of all the previous ones. I really liked this chapter. Most of the other chapters are hard to understand and I didn't real like them any of them. But until I read this one was where I began to become attached to the book. But I am still kind of curious to what Rose was thinking when she knew Bing was about to drown.

4) When Bing fell into the water and Rose didn't do anything about it, it really made my think about what was going through her head. I mean who watches motionlessly as a 4 year-old has fallen into the ocean?! I am also beginning to think that Rose is the type of person who you can manipulate. She depends on other people to control her life instead of her taking action for herself.

5) I think that the main conflict in this chapter is that of Human vs. Self. Rose is scared of taking action in her life. An example of this is at the beginning of the story when Rose wants to talk to her mother about a planned divorce with Ted, but is too scared to talk about it. Another example is how Rose was too scared to tell people that Bing was drowning, which led to Bing's death.

6) It is pretty obvious how this chapter could relate to the allegory and the beginning. Because Bing decided to "go around the corner" and out of protection of Rose, Bing not only ended up hurt, but dead.

Friday, January 01, 2010 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger CherryBerry said...

1. Fate or Faith?
2. Half and Half
3. I really enjoyed this chapter! I thought it had a lot of understandable points and everything was written clearly. It was really sad at points, but everything tied together.
4. Rose Hsu Jordan is a character who seems like she is continually learning from her mother because she has so much knowledge, wisdom, and faith. I think Rose needs that because she has to deal with losing her little brother, Bing, and also enduring a divorce with Ted.
5. I think the conflict was human vs. self for Rose because she cannot seem to bring herself to find faith in situations, she says she has hope but she will not try and make her marriage better.
6. I think the theme was, When you lose something you love, faith takes over.
-Jahana Kaliangara

Saturday, January 02, 2010 4:50:00 PM  
Blogger Scott_Lee said...

Brandon Lam

1. Water
2. Half and Half
3. This chapter changes very fast. During the beginning of the vignette everything was calm and peaceful, but suddenly becomes frantic and worried. Caused by the disappearance of Bing, everyone frantically searches, and even prays, all in hope for his safe return. Apparently their search ends in tears.
4. Rose is the easiest character to focus on. She is very indecisive and has trouble making her own decisions. She pushes everything on her husband and hopes that he does what is best. When handed the baton, Rose couldn't handle the pressure which led to a divorce.
5. The conflict is Man vs. Self. Rose constantly struggles in making her own decisions which led to the death of her brother and soon the finale of her marriage.
6. The theme that I'm getting from this story is "live your own life". Make your own decisions; it should be what feels right for your needs. You could ask for advice, but don't rely too heavily on anyone else. Listening to others and following everything that they set out for you is little different from being a well-treated slave.

Monday, January 04, 2010 8:13:00 PM  

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