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  1. hmong04

    can you please correct my essay

    Have you ever wanted to be someone you’re not? If so, did you realize that in the end, it’s best to be the individual you already are? Well, in Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks” and Sherman Alexie’s “Indian Education,” they yearn to be American. Not a Chinese American or a Native American but American as in Caucasian. Though Tan’s and Alexie’s different culture are what set them apart from the American culture, they still seek to become part of that culture; however, they come to learn that in the end, you can’t be someone you’re not.
    As Chinese people, we are taught to date within our race because it’s our way of life and not get plastic surgery because God made us who we are an we should keep it that way. But when you’re Chinese American living in American and the American culture is what’s in front of you from the time you get to school until the time you get back from school and watch American television, you start to feel the American culture overshadowing your everyday thinking of who you really are. Are you Chinese on the inside and Chinese on the outside or are you Chinese inside and American outside? This is the problem young Amy Tan faces as she grows up in Oakland, CA. A city populated with Caucasians, fourteen-year old Tan faces a dilemma when she falls for the minister’s son who is Caucasian. Tan realizes that this handsome boy is the person she’s looking for and that maybe he’ll be attracted to her if she were to have a slim nose just like the Caucasian girls, considering the fact that Tan had a not so slim nose. “I prayed for this blond-haired, Robert, and a slim new American nose” (92). Tan’s reason to like a Caucasian boy and change her nose is because of what the American culture has done to her mentally. Once a young minority in America starts to think like an American instead of a Chinese American, he or she forgets who they are ethnically as an individual and take on the American culture as if they were Caucasian. Tan adapts more to the American culture since she was born in America and what she was taught was from American teachers; however, her stubbornness to realize that she is not an American but a Chinese American will haunt when her family invites the minister’s family over for Christmas Eve dinner.
    Chinese people have no manners when eating at the table. We don’t say, “Please pass the bowl.” We just take our chopstick and reach over the table to get what food we want to eat. Again, the American culture has taken a toll on young Tan. She’s embarrassed when her own family acts foolishly in front of their guest. “At the end of the meal my father leaned back and belched loudly” (93). Tan thought her family was going to act polite as the Americans, but she was wrong. Chinese people do not act differently if they have guests over or not, we are who we are. Tan learns a valuable lesson when the minister’s family goes home. Tan’s mother tells her that she can sense her need for her family to be more American; however, the only person who acts like she isn’t herself is Tan. Her desire to be American and desire for her family to act like one is something Tan will never get a hold of because, like her mother said, “You must always be Chinese. You must be proud you are different” (93). Tan realizes to appreciate being Chinese because that’s who she is.
    Growing up in an Indian Reservation, Sherman Alexie felt as if he wasn’t getting the best education he could possibly get. He went to a tribal school on the Spokane reservation through the seventh grade in which he decided to seek a better education at an off-reservation all-white high school. Alexie knew that if he wanted to make something out of himself, his best bet was to attend a white school were the teachings would help prepare a young man for the future. As a young Indian boy, Alexie was taught the values of the Native Americans; however, he became aware of the dominant American culture as he would soon find out as he explored the world of the Caucasians. “But on the day I leaned through the basement window of the HUD house and kissed the white girl, I felt the good-byes I was saying to my entire tribe” (100). Alexie left behind, as he set forth on his journey of education at a white school, his family, friends, and culture. He now had to deal with the culture that at first did not give a damn about his people. Alexie learns about the devastating American culture of young girls having anorexia and bulimia. Girls that would starve themselves because they felt they were fat and in actuality, looked like twigs, “I sat back and watched them grow skinny from self-pity” (100). Alexie knew that he too once suffered from this disease; however, it wasn’t his choice. His family was too poor to buy food and so Alexie grew skinny.
    From what the American culture taught him, Alexie still kept his own Native American culture right at his heart. His intentions of going back to where he came from shows what being Native American is all about. Going back to his roots and making a difference. Alexie knows who he is on the inside and outside and that is…Native American.
    From their personal writing, I felt that Tan and Alexie had one thing in common; they wanted the feeling of being American (Caucasian). At a young age, they felt intrigued by the opposite sex of a different culture, but what they learned from their own culture was that, they can’t change who they already are. One is Chinese American and the other is Native American. Tan’s and Alexie’s nature of understanding the American culture was what I found interesting. Tan’s view of the American culture was that, she had to be like the Caucasian girls outside her house: blond-haired, blue-eyed, with handsome boyfriends. Her desire to change who she was blinded her because she wanted to change the way her family acted. Tan’s immaturity eventually died when she learned the true meaning of being Chinese. As for Alexie, his view of the American culture was that the white children had the best education compared to the Indian children, which fueled him to seek the American education. He strived to be the best that he could be and in the end he became valedictorian of his high school class. Even though they had different views on the American culture, Tan and Alexie learned to understand the importance of knowing who you are before you try to change yourself.
    You don’t have to change your identity in order to fit in because in the end, it’s best to be the individual you already are. As for Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks” and Sherman Alexie’s “Indian Education,” they learn a valuable lesson of not giving in to the temptations of the dominant American culture. Though young Tan and young Alexie may have felt that not being American was not enough to impress society, being Chinese American and Native American in today’s society is an advantage in any way you look at it.


  2. Editor,
    English Teacher
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    Should you be using contractions (can't, etc) in an essay?

    Para 2 line 3- living in America (not American)
    line 5- everday thinking of who you are- I'd change this phrase
    line 9- he would be attracted to her (not will)
    line 14- Once a young minority (I wouldn't use minority as a noun in this way)
    line 15 he or she forgets who they are ethnically (inconsistant pronouns- either use they...their. or he or she....his or her)

    Para 3 line 5 to act polite as the Americans I'd say politely and like Americans
    line 8 the only person who acts like she isn’t herself is Tan - this needs rewording
    line 9 her family to act like one - the pronoun 'one' is unclear
    Tan realizes to appreciate being Chinese because - I'd say grows to appreciate
    Para 4 Alexie knew that he too once suffered from this disease; however, it wasn’t his choice. His family was too poor to buy food and so Alexie grew skinny. - being undernourished is not anorexia
    Para 5 right at his heart.- in his heart
    Para 6 they felt intrigued by the opposite - rephrase? attracted towards...?
    which fueled him - change the verb- drove him??
    Tan’s immaturity eventually died - does immaturity die?
    in any way you look at it- whichever way you look at it

    Does that help?

  3. hmong04
    Thank you!

  4. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 65,543
    You're welcome.

    • Join Date: May 2010
    • Posts: 1

    Re: can you please correct my essay

    Comparison and Contrast Between Saudis and Canadians Culture
    All humans are enigmatic in nature, due to the fact that culture in different countries is so different and yet so similar. Every culture has a district characteristics that make it different or unique from every other culture. Some differences are evident like language, religion and political structure. Others can be so subtle that making an adjustment is so complex. Today I'm going to write about the cultural differences and the cultural similarities between Saudis and Canadians. Although there are some minors similarities between them such as, devotion to work and recklessness, today I'm going to discuss in depth the cultural differences between them like greeting customs and mentalities.
    The first cultural similarities between Saudis and Canadians is their devotion to work. Mainly, Canadians are hard working people. They do their best at work because the way they work reflects their personalities. Like Canadians, Saudis are considered devoted and loyal when it comes to work because Islam tell the to be so. For example, in the same way that Canadians never leave work until they are done, Saudis strictly do the same.
    The second cultural similarities between them is recklessness. Generally, just as Canadians do not take in consideration the risks or the consequences of their actions, Saudis do not calculate the risks or the stupidity of what they are going to do. For instance, when you ask a Saudi person do you want to go skydiving?. He is mostly going to say sure without hesitation or thinking. Like the Saudi, a Canadian person is going to do so.
    Although there are some minors similarities between them, there are numerous cultural differences between Saudis and Canadians. The first cultural differences that Saudis notice about Canadians is their greeting customs. Although the greeting is one of the simplest human communications, both of them have different methods of greetings each other. The main reason is that Canadians use verbal greetings, while Saudis use verbal and non-verbal greetings. As an example, Saudis greet each other by saying Peace Be Upon You ( Asalam Alaikom ), while they huge or hold hands. In contrast, Canadians do not huge or hold hands. Furthermore; in Canada, people start a conversation discussing weather, whereas Saudis start a conversation asking each other about their health and families.
    The second cultural differences between Saudis and Canadians is mentalities. Generally, Canadians are much more open-minded, while Saudis are close-minded or let me say very conservative. For instance, having a Canadian woman an identification card is normal and easy. Unlike Canadian woman, a Saudi woman was not able to have an identification card until recent time. In addition, Saudis feel free to tell an offensive joke in front of each other and to criticize each other harshly. In contrast, Canadians criticize and joke kindly and indirectly.
    In conclusion, each country has its own culture which it is considered its identity. You may find something in common between two culture and you may not. As for the Saudis and Canadians culture, we can clearly see that the differences outweigh the similarities.

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