March 19, 2013
Event Analysis 5
Bharati Mukherjee’s “A Father,” Stephanie Shapiro’s “Serving up Hope,” Richard Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT” and Gary Gildner’s “First Practice” all explore the role of what it means to move beyond the norms in society and what it means to take risks. Often times in a society so driven by doing what is right rather than what is wrong, people can become taken in by only the rewards of doing something the right way. However, doing something wrong or different in some situations can be the best choice, yet people sometimes fear that being different will be looked down upon and people might not be accepting of the action or the person. Vulnerability is also very influential when considering when and how people take risks and try to move beyond the norms of society. A person must be willing to make him or herself vulnerable in order to take a risk and experience something transformative and meaningful. When a person takes a risk, the situation or people they are surrounded by often have a large impact on their decision making process. In the two short stories Bharati Mukherjee’s “A Father” and Stephanie Shapiro’s “Serving up Hope,” the characters all take risks and challenge their society in some way. In Richard Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT” and Gary Gildner’s “First Practice,” the societal norms are challenged by being independent and pushing what is comfortable.
In Bharati Mukherjee’s “A Father,” Mr. Bhowmick questions the differences between his own Ranchi culture with that of American culture. Mr. Bhowmick strongly identifies with his own Indian culture, however sometimes he struggles to understand the reasons and implications behind American culture. The story’s central conflict involves Mr. Bhowmick’s daughter Babli, who becomes pregnant before marriage. Mr.Bowhmick is conflicted by two very different cultural perspectives. There is a difference between Ranchi culture, which shuns women from their families if they become pregnant before marriage, and American culture, which is relatively more accepting of pregnancy before marriage. Mr. Bohwick reflected on what it meant for his daughter to be pregnant. He explained that, “his daughter, his un-tender, unloving daughter he couldn’t love and hadn’t tried to love” (910). He even pushes himself to realize that in a sense he was, “Afraid of her”(911). Ultimately, Mr. Bohwmick is the one with the “crazy, progressive ideas”(913). Despite his struggle of having two different cultural viewpoints, Mr.Bhowmick chooses shame over family, and risks the life of his own daughter’s baby to try to save his family’s reputation.
In Stephanie Shapiro’s “Serving up Hope,” the Sampson couple serves as an example of people moving up and progressing through society. The couple opens the Dogwood Deli, something both of them had dreamed of doing for a long time. The husband leaves behind his other job and takes the risk of opening the new restaurant. Sampson explains that it was, “time to switch roles”(2). Sampson pushed the norms of his ordinary life and job and went after what he had always wanted to do with his wife. Ultimately, he found the experience very rewarding and was able to fully commit and relate to his work.
Richard Hague’s “Directions for Resisting the SAT” addresses the issues of the norms of the SAT. Hague challenges the reader to not be tricked by the test and to, “Follow no directions. Listen to no one”(lines 14,15). He seems to be further suggesting that when a person takes the SAT, he or she should not be distracted by the little hidden tricks or the lies that the test may appear to have. Instead, the test taker should challenge the exam and take control of the situation. Similarly in Gary Gildner’s “First Practice,” the coach challenges his players to push themselves beyond their limits and challenge the norm. The coach not only motivates the players, but pushes them to take risks “Now”(line 27). These stories and poems made me reflect on the event for sexual diversity week titled, “What does it mean to be an ally?”. The discussion challenged me to consider in my own life when and why I take risks for others. The talk encouraged me to think about how at Loyola I stand up for someone or something that is offensive or hurtful for another person. I was able to push my understand of what it means to be an ally for LGBT students on campus here are Loyola and consider how I can speak up more for others in my own day-to-day life.