Author Archive

Jessica Hagedorn Reads Dog Eaters

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Here is a great video of Jessica Hagedorn reading excerpts from Dogeaters. Also spliced throughout the video is an interview with Hagedorn where she talks about becoming an author. She begins reading Dogeaters at the 10:30 marker. What i also found interesting was that she called the novel her “Love letter to her homeland.” I must also say that she is a great reader.

Cinema References: Dogeaters, Serenade.

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Upon reviewing Trindad’s character today in class, I saw that I had forgotten to mention some further cinema references in the Chapter Serenade, which revolves around romeo and Trinidad. These specific titles might play a less important role than in the first chapter. If you notice, most of these titles are given to us in an almost cereal or catalog mode.

The Ten Commandments. 1956.
This reference can be interpreted as one of the religious elements in the book. But if you notice, pious catholic Trinidad is unimpressed by this biblical epic while Romeo is entranced. He is fascinated by the large miracles and the grand scale the movie is able to depict. Think of it as the Inception of its day.

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Rebel Without a Cause. 1955.*
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I did not spot him in the trailer so below is the IMBD link to the character Sal Mineo who Trinidad compares Romeo too.

Jail House Rock. 1957.

Trinidad compares the Elvis of this film to Romeo. While an Elvis comparison usually might empower a man I think here it only serves to cut Romeo down.

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* Rebel Without a Cause. Everyone should see this movie. Considering how emotionally raw this movie is, it amazes that this movie was made in the 1950’s. Admittedly if you are in the wrong mood enduring two hours of  of melodramatic, isolated, middle class teenagers can be  infuriating. However at a  time when it was common place for parents to beat their kids the themes that this movie deals with are very compelling. Even a decade earlier it may not have gotten past the FCC. (Or who ever was in charge of censoring Hollywood.)

Cinema References. Dogeaters, Ch 1: Love Letters.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Not being of the authors generation many of the cinema references went straight over my head. While some of you may prefer to imagine your own Rock Hudson and using the author’s words to interpret the films she discusses, for some reason I needed to see what she was talking about. I guess it was that I knew these were real actors and was certain these would be real movie titles.

All That Heaven Will Allow. (1955)

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A Place In The Sun. (1951)
It becomes apparent why this move would be condemned by the Archdiocese of Manila as “vile” and “obscene”.

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A Bundle Of Joy. (1956)
This is the movie that her parents wanted the children to see. As you can see, much more Catholic.

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I liked this cinematic aspect of the opening chapter Love Letters. It made the, the girl and the experiences with her cousin Pucha, much more real to me. Especially the exchange between the author and her cousin immideitly after seeing All That Heaven Will Allow.

Koshy: (Page 4, Sub Heading – “Shifting Boundaries of Asian American Ethnicity”

Monday, August 30th, 2010

One thing I was stuck by in the Koshy article in particular is how the oriental narrative has changed.  Koshy correctly points out that  part of our modern  challenge in studying Asian American literature is to resist the temptation of clumping together of different cultures and ethnicities. However starting on page four she outlines the history of the term “Asian American”. What I find striking is that up until recently America often would draw clear distinctions between different Asian cultures, countries and ethnicities. The distinctions that we drew reflected the american political developments.

For example during WWII Chinese and Filipino immigrants were given some amount of a protected status due to our mutual international interest. While the Japanese population of america saw their civil liberties obliterated.  During the Korean war of th 1950’s the Chinese lost much of the status it had gained during WWII.  While democracy took root in South Korea and Japan these two peoples found their status greatly improve in America.

The fallout of the Vietnam War saw  refugee populations from south east Asia that worked with the American Military flee to the U.S.  I would also add the the Vietnam War left a real pessimism in america about Asian American relations. Our Army left in defeat after more than a decade of blood and treasure poured into a tiny nation that did not seem to want or appreciate our help. I think this led much of america for a brief time to at least reconsider isolation from Asia and the rest of the world. (Not to mention our own domestic  problems and inequalities.)

Since In recent decades our international relations with Asia have shifted to more business trade and less regional conflicts and proxy wars, I think the american psyche has ceased this kind of Asian ethno-political  horse trading we use to engage in and started to clump regions and cultures together.

(Sorry for the length.)