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PUNZALAN, John Paul B.

Ms. Kristine Marie T. Reynaldo

English 11 X5 Second Exam
4 July 2017

1. “The Diver” by Tina Cuyugan and “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid both feature adolescent
girls discovering their nascent sexuality, but differ widely in their treatment of this
subject. By comparing and contrasting the imagery, symbolism, and tone of these
narratives, explain your interpretation of each story’s theme.

The stories of Kincaid and Cuyugan has one common theme, and that is the exploration
of feminism and sexuality for both women. However, both stories vary by how the said topic
was presented. For example, “The Diver” tackles the story of sexuality within one’s self. It
used a lot of imagery and metaphors that made sense of what’s happening inside the girl’s
body during the time when she was exploring her sexuality. Simply put, the story was about
the physical attributes of a girl’s body during the time of exploring who she really is. The story
has a curious tone, in which the girl was, at first, new to such kind of persona, but then, when
she started to explore herself even more, she was already aware of it.
Jamaica Kincaid’s story of “Girl”, on the other hand, tackles the story of sexuality and
female roles in the society. Unlike “The Diver”, “Girl” is straightforward as it only entails a
chain of commands and imperatives from the mother, for the girl to follow. Unlike The Diver,
Girl’s take on sexuality focuses on the role of the mother as someone who constantly reminds
her daughter of what she should be in the society: that she is a girl, and she should carry all
the responsibilities that it carry. For me, the story gives a symbol of gender roles in the society
at the time when the story was published. It was a story full of commanding tone and
dominance from the mother, that anything that the mother says should always be followed
by the girl.
Sentence count: 11
2. What is the purpose and significance of spectacular violence in “Hope” by Shun
Medoruma and “Beheading the Heads” by Italo Calvino in relation to the structures
of power that organize the stories depicted in these stories?

Some stories, albeit fiction, were drawn from the real-life events that happened in our
society. For example, the story of “Hope” was depicted from the American occupation of
Okinawa, Japan during the 20th century. The violence committed by the narrator in the story
was an act of revenge to the American atrocities that happened in the said island for decades.
The narrator killed the child of an American, which was, later, received widespread
condemnation between the two countries. It’s funny how it took the death of one single
American to protest in anger and despair, when many Okinawans died and no one seemed to
care. Therefore, this was the motivation of the narrator: to sow revenge among the
Americans, and make Okinawans feel that they don’t feel anymore, because even the
Americans are already experiencing the suffering that they have experienced.
On the other hand, “Beheading the Heads” take from a much more meaningful yet
gruesome narrative. It depicts a very harsh way of checks and balances among the current
administration. It gives an impression of having genuine passion to serve its constituents,
knowing that anyone who stepped up to govern their country has to die later on. Therefore,
the violence promoted in the story (which was beheading) was made in order to see the
passion among its citizens, of who are going to sacrifice their own lives just to serve and to
be killed later on, no matter how good or bad their leadership is.
Sentence count: 10

3. How do the elements of the world depicted in Ted Chiang’s “Hell is the Absence of
God” make the ending both ironic and justifiable? If you lived in the world of the
story and were subject to this God, what, for you, would be the value of being
Hell is the Absence of God depicts a world that is like where we are living in right now.
However, it only varies on the fact that the concept of a deity and hell are both verifiable and
accurate; whereas in our world, it’s still uncertain. The certainty of a deity in the story makes
it easy for the God in the story to sow devotion and faith in Him: that anyone who will follow
Him will prosper; otherwise, he will be punished.
Neil’s faith was shallow at first, but then became evident on the later parts of the story.
It showed devotion in God that was expected of him in order to go to heaven and attain
happy life after death. However, ironically, God sent him to hell. This may be caused by the
fact that he devoted God because of Sarah, not because of God Himself. According to a
popular verse in the Bible, God is a jealous God. Therefore, it might be caused by the fact
that Neil loved and adored God because of Sarah and he wants to be with her in Heaven, not
because he really adored and loved God.
If I were to live in this world, perhaps, the value of being devout is being good in
everything that I will do on earth. Considering the certainty of Heaven and Hell, the concept
of God and Satan, I would make it clear to myself that my way to being devout is to do good
for others, in the name of that God. Despite the fact that sometimes God create misfortunes,
I will not make everything to worsen the situation; rather, I will make those as opportunities
to make myself better in order to go to Heaven.
Sentence count: 12

BONUS: "We never made it, did we?"