Optimism in ‘The Cattle Shed’ Imagine this: you are confined in a small room as a prisoner, forced to be a laborer because of the political preference Communism, and the love of your life is locked up in his own ‘cattle shed’. How is a person supposed to stay optimistic in these horrible living conditions? In Ding Ling’s “Sketches from the ‘Cattle Shed’”, the narrator who is placed in solitary confinement due to being a Communist struggles through her everyday life to survive.
Most people would be sullen, defeated and angry, but Ling’s narrator embraces glimmers of hope through her lover’s, C. , secret letters. C. is a very important character supporting Ling’s, his letters in the form of poems are inspiring, hopeful and powerful. They relieve the stress of confinement for only a moment, but the lasting effects change her outlook at the end of the story. Optimism at a time like this is crucial for the narrator and support from her lover is exactly what she needs, C. chooses his words carefully and subtly eases his lover’s tension.
This is shown when the beginning and ending lines of the short story are compared and analyzed. The beginning of the short story starts off as a very vivid description of the prison she is in, Ling uses words like, ‘shrill whistle shrieking’, ‘ear piercing sound’, ‘darkness’, and ‘naked electric light bulb’ (142). Ling sets the tone of the story right from the beginning, using this depressing language to enhance the miserable atmosphere she has been placed in. There is hopelessness in the language used at the initial setting described by Ling.
Because of the weighted controversy, the reader expects the narrator to continue with her feelings of hopelessness and defeat. However, when the letters by C. are introduced, they fill the narrator with feelings of optimism and inner strength. The letters by C. are very political and poetic. He is acting as a support system for her, to ease the realities of confinement. When Ling receives these letters she describes them as ‘treasures’ and that “they would accompany me through the world to the end of my days” (150) giving the sense that these are extremely important and vital to her survival- at all times.
It is these ‘treasures’ that give her the power to keep her head up high and also reflect on the positive messages from her husband.. She adores them so much that she says, ‘.. poetic exhortations that I recited so often and which became indelibly imprinted on my heart. ” (149) There are many key phrases and words that infer this type of optimism In these letters, C. carefully selects optimistic phrases and words like: “You must live on! ”, “Hope lies in the struggles of your waves. ”, “Forget the names of those people who harmed you; hold fast to the names of those who stretched out a helping hand in times of difficulty. (149), and “Straighten your back; fearlessly live on. ” (150).
Each sentence, carefully written and thought out, were subtle ways to strengthen that hope, to give Ling any small amount of happiness to hold on to. Although Ling still feels like a captive and cannot bear to be away from her lover, she realizes, “He sought to bring a smile to my face with his optimistic words, but I was already incapable of smiling” (155). Ling feels like she has nothing left to look forward to, she cannot even bear to smile at her husband for the last time.
She doesn’t understand that it will be the last time seeing each other, but the fact that she does realize that he is putting in the effort to put her emotions before his own shows that she’s embracing the optimism not by choice but for her undying love for C. The language that is used at the end of the novel, more specifically the last sentence, shows the transfer of C. ’s hope, into the emotions of Ling’s narrator. It reads, “His arm was raised high, as if in a carefree, joyous, warm farewell to a friend setting out on a journey to distant parts” (155).
The language used here ‘carefree, joyous, warm’ all contrast with the hollow hopeless words from the beginning. If she had not been touched by his uplifting words in the letters, the language to describe his departure would be more depressing and heart-wrenching. By looking closely at the beginning and the ending of the short story, the reader can see how his poems/letters shaped her negative, worrisome thoughts into becoming more freeing and positive.
3 part question
Part1 : What’s the value of recess?
The trend these days has been gradually reducing time spent in unstructured play in favor of increased time spent preparing for standardized testing. This trend gained momentum with the passage of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. More time spent learning math and reading should be a benefit, right? Well, not so fast. Play has its own developmental purpose for youngsters and in this week’s discussion, you’re going to dig a little deeper into this topic.
Chapter 5 in your textbook (Experiencing the Lifespan by Janet Belsky) provides an excellent foundation for understanding the importance of play in various aspects of child development.
This brief news story (Links to an external site.) discusses recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding play. Please review the attached original report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and use information from this report to support your answers.
The Power of Play_American Academy of Pediatrics.pdf Download The Power of Play_American Academy of Pediatrics.pdf
Answer the following:
Discuss two different types or categories of play and the impact on child development.
What are differences in play between boys and girls? What causes gender-stereotyped play? Be sure to cite a reference here, not just your opinions!
How does engaging in play enhance executive functioning skills? You might begin with one or two sentences about what executive functioning skills are, and then explain how play improves these skills.
What is meant by “healthy risks” in childhood play and how are these important in child development? (MINIMUM 300 WORDS) PART 2: First, read this article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201008/how-your-personality-shines-through (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.and then read this article: http://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/02/science/major-personality-study-finds-that-traits-are-mostly-inherited.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.next, please answer the following questions: 1) From the article “How your personality shines through” by Art Markman, Psychology Today as well as in chapter 4, do you feel that the trait, or the situation is more important in determining how a person behaves (and while yes, both are important, for this question pick which side you feel is most important)? Explain why you feel this way using evidence from the reading and/or outside sources to support your opinion.2) Based on the article from question 1, do you feel that people are consciously aware that they are going into situations that match/favor their personality style, or do you think they unconsciously choose those situations? Explain. Support your viewpoint with evidence from the reading and/or outside sources.3) Are the results presented in the 2nd article surprising to you? Why or why not? Do you feel that a genetic predisposition (things we will be discussing in more depth soon in the course) could be overcome by our experiences? Explain your response using evidence from the readings/weekly notes to support your opinion. (300 MINIMUM WORDS) PART 3: I want you to make one strong argument for both sides of the issue below and then explain which side of the debate you favor and why. You need at least 4 paragraphs with a paragraph being at least 5 sentences. Topic: The world’s oldest profession: Prostitution. Make one argument in support of voluntary legalized prostitution (not forced) and one argument against it. Then let the class know your position and why. You should include feminist theory as well as real world consequences and statistics in your posts.
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