AgendaPresentation: TermsDiscussion: Far and FilmHow and why does Far resist? What are thesocial implications of her doing so? Why dopeople reverse pass?Assessing Blogging ResponsesDiscussion/Writing: Essay #4
Terms Transsexuals: People who indicate that they are of one gendertrapped in the body of the other gender. A person who hasaltered or intends to alter her/hir/his anatomy, either throughsurgery, hormones, or other means, to better match her/hir/hischosen gender identity. This group of people is often divided intopre-op (operative), post-op, or non-op transsexuals. Due tocost, not all transsexuals can have genital surgery. Others do notfeel that surgery is necessary, but still remain a transsexualidentity. a. Non-operative: People who do not intend to change their primary sexcharacteristics, either because of a lack of a desire or the inability to doso. They may or may not alter their secondary sex characteristicsthrough the use of hormones. b. Pre-operative: People who have started the procedure to reassigntheir primary sex characteristics, but have not yet had the surgery. Thiscovers both those people who have just begun the procedure and thosewho 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 andtranssexual people. Like biphobia, this termwas created to call attention to the waysprejudice against trans people differs fromprejudice against other queer people. There isoften transphobia in lesbian, gay and bisexualcommunities, as well as heterosexual orstraight communities.
Persona: a character in drama or fiction or the partany one sustains in the world or in a book. Personaalso denotes the “I” who speaks in a poem or novel. Plot: a plan or scheme to accomplish a purpose. Inliterature, this is the arrangement of events toachieve an intended effect consisting of a series ofcarefully devised and interrelated actions thatprogresses through a struggle of opposing forces,called conflict, to a climax and a denouement (finalresolution). 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 considerationand appraisal. It may also be an attitude, judgment, or opinion.In literature, physical point of view has to do with the positionin time and space from which a writer approaches, views, anddescribes his or her material. Mental point of view involves anauthor’s feeling and attitude toward his or her subject.Personal point of view concerns the relation through which awriter narrates or discusses a subject, whether first, second, orthird person. Prose : the ordinary form of spoken and written languagewhose unit is the sentence, rather than the line as it is inpoetry. The term applies to all expressions in language that donot have a regular rhythmic pattern.
Scenario: an outline of the plot of a dramaticwork, which provides particulars aboutcharacters, settings, and situation. The term ismost often used for the detailed script of a filmor a treatment setting forth the action in thesequence it is to follow with detaileddescriptions of scenes and characters, andactual works. Sometimes the plot of a film ortelevision show is loosely called a scenario. Simile: a figure of speech in which two things,essentially different but thought to be alike inone or more respects, are compared using“like,” “as,” “as if,” or “such” for the purpose ofexplanation, allusion, or ornament.
Style: a manner of putting thoughts into words or thecharacteristic mode of construction and expression in writingand speaking. The term is also used for the characteristics of aliterary selection that concern the form of expression ratherthan the thought conveyed. Style is usually defined by thewriter’s choice of words, figures of speech, devices, and theshaping of the sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes, stylesare classified according to time period or individual writers. Theme : the central and dominating idea in a literary work. Atheme may also be a short essay such as a composition. Inaddition, the term means a message or moral implicit in anywork of art.
Spring Fragranceand OtherWritingsBy Sui Sin FarThis text includes “Leavesfrom the Mental Portfolioof an Eurasian”
Passing and Sui Sin Far“Ah, indeed!” he exclaims. “Who would have thought it at firstglance? Yet now I see the difference between her and otherchildren. What a peculiar coloring! Her mother’s eyes and hair andher father’s features, I presume. Very interesting little creature!”I had been called from play for the purpose of inspection. I do notreturn to it. For the rest of the evening I hide myself behind a halldoor 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 thelong low room. With the exception of my mother, who is English bred withEnglish ways and manner of dress, I have never seen a Chinese person. Thetwo men within the store are uncouth specimens of their race, drest in workingblouses and pantaloons with queues hanging down their backs. I recoil with asense of shock.“Oh, Charlie,” I cry. “Are we like that?”“Well, we’re Chinese, and they’re Chinese, too, so we must be!” returns myseven year old brother.“Of course you are,” puts in a boy who has followed us down the street, andwho 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 inwith him.“Better than you,” shouts my brother, facing the crowd. He is younger andsmaller than any there, and I am even more insignificant than he; but my spiritrevives.“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 wasknown, to where no mocking cries of “Chinese!” “Chinese!” could reach.Here Sui seems to want to disappear. Given her desire to escape prejudice, why doesshe become a champion of the Chinese instead of “passing” as we know so manyothers do during this time? In other words, which of her life experiences compel her torefuse to pass as white? How does she become the woman who speaks the linesbelow?With a great effort I raise my eyes from my plate. “Mr. K.,” I say, addressing myemployer, “the Chinese people may have no souls, no expression on their faces, bealtogether beyond the pale of civilization, but whatever they are, I want you tounderstand that I am—I am a Chinese.”
How and why does Far resistpassing?• Far refuses to pass as white. Why? Whatconvinces her to consciously and intentionallyreveal her racial identity?• Consider how Far resists passing. Whichbehaviors can you specifically identify?
In this movie, the maincharacter both reversepasses and refuses topass. How is this possible?
How does his behavioraffect his identity, hisfamily, and his intimaterelationship?
How can we compare PhilGreen to Sui Sin Far? How does eachresist passing? What behaviorscan youspecificallyidentify? Consider the timeperiods: Far wrote “Leaves”in 1890 Hobson wroteGentlemen’sAgreement in 1946 Do theirmotivations differ?
ThinkingaboutPassingWhat is it exactly? What isIdentity? When isIdentity “real”and when is itconstructed”
Consider the identity of Dr. Lieberman, theJewish physicist in Gentleman’sAgreement, who says,“I have no religion so I am not Jewish by religion. Further, I am ascientist, so I must rely on science, which tells me I am not Jewishby 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 crusadewill have a certain charm. I will simply go forth and state that I amnot a Jew. With my face, that becomes not an evasion but a newprinciple, a scientific principle“?What is his fixed identity category?Would he be passing if he simply stated he was not a Jew basedon his lack of religion and his scientific assertion that there is noJewish race?
Are our identities on the insideor the outside? Are transgender people passing? If so, what is the fixed identitycategory? What is the passing category?
Can a bio male or femaleperson have the identity of“trans” without being calleda passer?
How, then, can we parallel this transidentity and trans passing scenario toracial identity and racial passing?Is a person who looks white but is of AfricanAmerican lineage, also “trans”? When can thisperson 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 Jackpassing?• Is Coleman Silk?• Can Sui Sin Far refuse to pass ifrace is constructed?
Disruption or Stabilization? Does this ability to identify as trans(sexual, gender, racial, ethnic) and passor not pass disrupt identity categories ordoes it destroy them? How? Does “Passing” disrupt or stabilize thestatus quo? Can it do both? How?
The blogging post points (150) require self-assessment. Consider three aspects of yourresponses:• First, how many of the posts did you make?• Second, what was the quality of yourresponse?• Third, how timely were your submissions?Write a brief argument justifying your grade.This is due before the final. Please submit itelectronicallyPosting: Self-Assessment
Homework Writing: Finish your research paper! Submit youressay electronically before our next class by emailing acopy saved in MS word to firstname.lastname@example.org Evaluate your blogging responses. Submit yourevaluation electronically before our next class byemailing a copy saved in MS word email@example.com Prepare revision of essay #2 or #3 Submit youressay electronically before our next class by emailing acopy saved in MS word to firstname.lastname@example.org Studying: Terms In preparation for the final essay: Think about reversepassing and refusing to pass. Think about identitycategories. Think about what you have learned aboutpassing and identity during the course.