Friday, January 27, 2012

The Birthmark,

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

In my effort to catch up with American Literature, I feel upon a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Birthmark. The story is about a late 18th century scientist Alymer who devoted his life to figuring out Nature to the detriment of his personal and social life. However, lately he abandoned his laboratory and obsessed philosophy and persuaded a beautiful woman to become his wife.

As beautiful as she is, Georgina has a birthmark. While some find beauty in it, others view it as the irony of Nature, it's imperfection. That is the case for her husband who thinks that "it was the fatal flaw of humanity which Nature, in one shape or the other, stamps ineffaceably on all her productions, either to imply that they are temporary and finite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain". 

At first, Georgina falls apart. She feels rejected by her husband and ugly. As they both grow increasingly unhappy in their marriage, Alymer fixated on her birthmark and Georgina drowned in self hatred, he finally comes up with a potion that makes the birthmark disappear.  Sure enough, she drinks the potion and falls asleep. The birthmark fades, Georgina dies and Alymer laughs.

The narrator then takes over to conclude how we humans cannot live in perfection and we human sometimes cannot handle imperfection... The story is all and all 10 pages, but there is so much to take from there.

A birthmark. What's your quirk?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The "new generation"

I'm only 22 but sometimes I feel like saying: "oh the young these days have no respect".

For example, on my way home from the prison one night, three teenagers crossed a 6 lane road, without even glancing at the oncoming traffic. As I slammed on my breaks, I honked in a pointless hope the guys would realize how dangerous that was and all they did was give me the finger. Oh well, with such an attitude, I can only count the years before I'll be seeing them behind bars...

Tonight, as I pulled up in the parking lot of the local Starbucks, a group of five well dressed guys, approximately around the age of 18 crossed without paying attention to the cars. One of them spat on the ground while another pointed at my car and laughed. I'm not exactly sure what he was laughing at but it doesn't matter. I was just thinking how disappointing that these business looking guys were being so rude. Next thing I know, I'm sitting in the Starbucks when one of them burped really loud. I must have made a facial expression to express my disgust because one of the guys said to the other, "do it again, it bothered that girl." And till he walked out the door, he burped, again and again...

Seriously? This might not be the most fascinating topic but please tell me what these guys are missing here...

Monday, January 23, 2012


the book that is making me write again.
After being silent on the blogosphere for a couple of weeks, I've decided tonight to make a comeback with an old topic. You may or may not know that I appreciate arts and literature and therefore at times, I bore you with paintings or authors such as Sartre or Bourguerau . Tonight I would like to bring up a different kind of book, which you may or may not have read: HUSH by Eishes Chayil, a pseudonym. If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend it.

In a few words, Hush is the story of a nine years old little girl who witnessed her best friend being sexually abused and committed suicide in a extremely sheltered Chassidich community. The story is told by the author now in her 20's but remains the incredible tale of a frightening and traumatizing experience in the eyes of a nine years old. The author made the story public ten years after the crime, after she got married to the boy she met ten minutes before her engagement and only after she realized the truth had to be told.

The story of HUSH per say is not that shocking. Tragic definitely but I cannot pretend to be surprised for sexual abuse and molestation happen everywhere. The sad thing is that being sheltered as much as these little girls were, does not help them to outgrow the mechanism of trauma. They don't know any better, they don't know any explanation of what is happening to them or around them. Actually, there is no around them, everything else outside their community, from the goy to the litvish, is not worthy of Heaven. In the eyes of a little girl, it doesn't get simpler.

Despite the fact that the book is written by the witness denouncing the atrocity of the crime, I mainly appreciated the fact that her general tone was not one of anger and bitterness toward the entire Chassidich community. Tell me if you disagree, but I have found that her book was not about trying to denounce the way Chassidich Jews choose to live their lives, by the same token the very Yeshivish community as well. Instead, in an effort to open the mind of the reader, to prevent such crimes to remain silent, she did a great job at explaining the Chassidich ways and what it means to grow up that way.

I admire the way she points at a specific problem which is of course a terrible issue but does not libel the tradition of many generation of Chassidich movement.

That is not to say I understand the way these tight communities are run and how or why they remain sheltered. I simply respect the fact that she remained the modest and deep person she was bought up to be while addressing such an issue instead of turning her back on an entire movement. I've had my share of hate and communities being badmouthed. Abuse is not okay, and therefore she now speaks up.

The issue is that these books tend to be read by outsider who already know these things happen. How to reach those communities remains the main issue but at least she came forward and told her story.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I have taken a break.

For even I am on school break right now, everything else in my life remains the same. My job goes on, my internship goes on, the people in my life are the same. The only difference is the lack of homework that needs to be done at night.

So I took my own break and haven't blogged in a few weeks. Maybe I can pick it up where I left it, or maybe I will just leave it.