Published on March 20, 2014
Agenda Presentation: Terms Discussion: Far and Film How and why does Far resist? What are the social implications of her doing so? Why do people reverse pass? Assessing Blogging Responses Discussion/Writing: Essay #4
Terms Transsexuals: People who indicate that they are of one gender trapped in the body of the other gender. A person who has altered or intends to alter her/hir/his anatomy, either through surgery, hormones, or other means, to better match her/hir/his chosen gender identity. This group of people is often divided into pre-op (operative), post-op, or non-op transsexuals. Due to cost, not all transsexuals can have genital surgery. Others do not feel that surgery is necessary, but still remain a transsexual identity. a. Non-operative: People who do not intend to change their primary sex characteristics, either because of a lack of a desire or the inability to do so. They may or may not alter their secondary sex characteristics through the use of hormones. b. Pre-operative: People who have started the procedure to reassign their primary sex characteristics, but have not yet had the surgery. This covers both those people who have just begun the procedure and those who are very close to the actual surgery. c. Post-operative: People who have had the actual genital surgery
Transphobia: The fear or hatred of transgender and transsexual people. Like biphobia, this term was created to call attention to the ways prejudice against trans people differs from prejudice against other queer people. There is often transphobia in lesbian, gay and bisexual communities, as well as heterosexual or straight communities.
Persona: a character in drama or fiction or the part any one sustains in the world or in a book. Persona also denotes the “I” who speaks in a poem or novel. Plot: a plan or scheme to accomplish a purpose. In literature, this is the arrangement of events to achieve an intended effect consisting of a series of carefully devised and interrelated actions that progresses through a struggle of opposing forces, called conflict, to a climax and a denouement (final resolution). This is different from story or story line, which is the order of events as they occur.
Point of view: a specified position or method of consideration and appraisal. It may also be an attitude, judgment, or opinion. In literature, physical point of view has to do with the position in time and space from which a writer approaches, views, and describes his or her material. Mental point of view involves an author’s feeling and attitude toward his or her subject. Personal point of view concerns the relation through which a writer narrates or discusses a subject, whether first, second, or third person. Prose : the ordinary form of spoken and written language whose unit is the sentence, rather than the line as it is in poetry. The term applies to all expressions in language that do not have a regular rhythmic pattern.
Scenario: an outline of the plot of a dramatic work, which provides particulars about characters, settings, and situation. The term is most often used for the detailed script of a film or a treatment setting forth the action in the sequence it is to follow with detailed descriptions of scenes and characters, and actual works. Sometimes the plot of a film or television show is loosely called a scenario. Simile: a figure of speech in which two things, essentially different but thought to be alike in one or more respects, are compared using “like,” “as,” “as if,” or “such” for the purpose of explanation, allusion, or ornament.
Style: a manner of putting thoughts into words or the characteristic mode of construction and expression in writing and speaking. The term is also used for the characteristics of a literary selection that concern the form of expression rather than the thought conveyed. Style is usually defined by the writer’s choice of words, figures of speech, devices, and the shaping of the sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes, styles are classified according to time period or individual writers. Theme : the central and dominating idea in a literary work. A theme may also be a short essay such as a composition. In addition, the term means a message or moral implicit in any work of art.
Discuss Far and Gentleman’s Agreement
Spring Fragrance and Other Writings By Sui Sin Far This text includes “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian”
Passing and Sui Sin Far “Ah, indeed!” he exclaims. “Who would have thought it at first glance? Yet now I see the difference between her and other children. What a peculiar coloring! Her mother’s eyes and hair and her father’s features, I presume. Very interesting little creature!” I had been called from play for the purpose of inspection. I do not return to it. For the rest of the evening I hide myself behind a hall door and refuse to show myself until it is time to go home. Why does Far hide after this experience? How does this moment contribute to her identity development?
“Look!” says Charlie. “Those men in there are Chinese!” Eagerly I gaze into the long low room. With the exception of my mother, who is English bred with English ways and manner of dress, I have never seen a Chinese person. The two men within the store are uncouth specimens of their race, drest in working blouses and pantaloons with queues hanging down their backs. I recoil with a sense of shock. “Oh, Charlie,” I cry. “Are we like that?” “Well, we’re Chinese, and they’re Chinese, too, so we must be!” returns my seven year old brother. “Of course you are,” puts in a boy who has followed us down the street, and who lives near us and has seen my mother: “Chinky, Chinky, Chinaman, yellow- face, pig-tail, rat-eater.” A number of other boys and several little girls join in with him. “Better than you,” shouts my brother, facing the crowd. He is younger and smaller than any there, and I am even more insignificant than he; but my spirit revives. “I’d rather be Chinese than anything else in the world,” I scream. Why does Far fight after this experience? How does this moment contribute to her identity development?
The greatest temptation was in the thought of getting far away from where I was known, to where no mocking cries of “Chinese!” “Chinese!” could reach. Here Sui seems to want to disappear. Given her desire to escape prejudice, why does she become a champion of the Chinese instead of “passing” as we know so many others do during this time? In other words, which of her life experiences compel her to refuse to pass as white? How does she become the woman who speaks the lines below? With a great effort I raise my eyes from my plate. “Mr. K.,” I say, addressing my employer, “the Chinese people may have no souls, no expression on their faces, be altogether beyond the pale of civilization, but whatever they are, I want you to understand that I am—I am a Chinese.”
How and why does Far resist passing? • Far refuses to pass as white. Why? What convinces her to consciously and intentionally reveal her racial identity? • Consider how Far resists passing. Which behaviors can you specifically identify?
In this movie, the main character both reverse passes and refuses to pass. How is this possible?
How does his behavior affect his identity, his family, and his intimate relationship?
How can we compare Phil Green to Sui Sin Far? How does each resist passing? What behaviors can you specifically identify? Consider the time periods: Far wrote “Leaves” in 1890 Hobson wrote Gentlemen’s Agreement in 1946 Do their motivations differ?
Thinking about Passing What is it exactly? What is Identity? When is Identity “real” and when is it constructed”
Consider the identity of Dr. Lieberman, the Jewish physicist in Gentleman’s Agreement, who says, “I have no religion so I am not Jewish by religion. Further, I am a scientist, so I must rely on science, which tells me I am not Jewish by race, since there is no such thing as a distinct Jewish race. There is not even such a thing as a Jewish type. Well, my crusade will have a certain charm. I will simply go forth and state that I am not a Jew. With my face, that becomes not an evasion but a new principle, a scientific principle“? What is his fixed identity category? Would he be passing if he simply stated he was not a Jew based on his lack of religion and his scientific assertion that there is no Jewish race?
Are our identities on the inside or the outside? Are transgender people passing? If so, what is the fixed identity category? What is the passing category?
Can a bio male or female person have the identity of “trans” without being called a passer?
How, then, can we parallel this trans identity and trans passing scenario to racial identity and racial passing? Is a person who looks white but is of African American lineage, also “trans”? When can this person be “white” without being called a passer? OR should he or she identify as trans (racial)?
Is Race “Real” or Constructed? • If race is constructed, is Jack passing? • Is Coleman Silk? • Can Sui Sin Far refuse to pass if race is constructed?
Disruption or Stabilization? Does this ability to identify as trans (sexual, gender, racial, ethnic) and pass or not pass disrupt identity categories or does it destroy them? How? Does “Passing” disrupt or stabilize the status quo? Can it do both? How?
The blogging post points (150) require self- assessment. Consider three aspects of your responses: • First, how many of the posts did you make? • Second, what was the quality of your response? • Third, how timely were your submissions? Write a brief argument justifying your grade. This is due before the final. Email me your self-assessment. Posting: Self-Assessment
Homework Writing: Finish your research paper! Submit your essay electronically before our next class by emailing a copy saved in MS word to firstname.lastname@example.org Evaluate your blogging responses. Submit your evaluation by email before our next class. Prepare revision of essay #2 or #3 Submit your essay electronically before our next class by emailing a copy saved in MS word to email@example.com Studying: Terms In preparation for the final essay: Think about reverse passing and refusing to pass. Think about identity categories. Think about what you have learned about passing and identity during the course.
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