Difficult to Read Yet Amazing Story to Hear

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In the novel, Baho!, but Roland Rugero is about a boy, Nyamugari, who is mute and is framed for a crime he did not commit. Nyamugari simply asked a young woman for directions but she assumed he was trying to rape her. Because he is a mute and cannot explain himself, he is guilty for his “crimes” according to the young woman’s community.

Honestly, my favorite thing about this novel is that it talks about the rape culture and how women are being treated in Burundi. The author speaks about how women are treated as property and the men are ranked higher than women. For example, in the book, they explained that there was a lot of raping going around so the women need to be more cautious with their surroundings. As a woman, I would have gotten scared as well if a random guy came up to me, but it should not be like that. There is a quote on page 14 that states, “Suddenly, the young girl recalls the descriptions of the rape her friend a few weeks ago. Her friend had spoken of a fixed and burning gaze, of the folds in his forehead, the hands that seized her without warning in violence and desire. Her friend told her to yell if she were ever assaulted.” This quote is important to me because it is showing how if a girl thinks she is getting assaulted, she must scream because that way, she could get help. In reality, that is what girls do nowadays too. What I did not like about this novel is that it was honestly really complicated to read. Reading a few chapters for homework was hard because it took me three hours to read a few pages. The reading was complicated because of the different terms that were being used and some were in Burundian.

Overall, this novel was something I am not use to reading. It was more difficult but it was something I was willing to continue to read because it was so good.

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Art in Literature form

“Words create worlds, the language we use shapes the culture we lead.” –Unknown

 

What do you define art? If you search up the definition of art on google, it will state, “the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.” So, let’s talk about art in literature form. In the novel, BAHO!, by Roland Rugero, there is a lot of “art.” What that means is that the words of the author can be transformed into a picture. Have you read any book and just thought about how the characters would be like, what they are wearing, or even what they look like? Most books, right? That is because you are literally painting a picture in your mind with the words the author has written. That is with this novel, BAHO!. There is so much things that the Roland Rugero wrote in this novel that literally sticks out. I am going to show some examples from the novel that jumped out to me and painted itself on a canvas.

 

“Nyamurgi was born alone. He had never had a conversation. Nor a discussion. Nor a debate. He had been born mute; speech was etched into him. He drew nourishment from it as a matter of course. Awkwardly. Alone. In isolation. He knew no friends, and he had no family to count on. Already when he was still very young, his two parents were cursed at and called witches for wanting to remain isolated in their poverty… In any case, the war had carried them away. Peace be upon their souls!” (57)

That quote on page 57 shows a lot of emotions. You can just picture the boy alone and wishing he had people beside him. By this quote, you can already see a depressing image.

 

“Your wife isn’t cheating on you anymore? But I’ve told you a million times: Women are all liars, every last one of them. They want our money, that’s all. Right, it’s because they can wait till the cows come home? Hey, your right finger is swollen!” (47)

This quote is from chapter 8, and the entire chapter is something you can just imagine in your head. But this quote stood out to me because it is about a man talking about women and they are all “liars,” which is not true. He can speak on the behalf of the women who have lied and hurt him but he cannot speak about all women. Women are the creators of life so we must be cherished. Just saying. (:

Do you have the time or do you have the time?

“Do you have the time?” ‘Tip.” You see this repetition throughout the novel, Tram 83, by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, but what exactly does it mean? Well, I guess there is multiple meanings to it and I will give you my perspective on it.

“Do you have the time?” First time I read this, I thought, “Prostitutes,” because back where I am from (Orange County), you see prostitutes in every street light corner and you will hear them say something along the lines of “Do you have the time?” I am assuming they are asking males this to see if they have the time to give them pleasure for money. And I would understand why the need to be pushy about this line because this is their job and they need money to survive. Another thing I think this line could mean is do people really have the time? Is it 1:00 o’clock or what is it? They are legit just asking what time is it. And the last thing I think this repition could mean is that they are asking someone if they have the time to pay attention to them and give them love. It is maybe more like a relationship type of thing but they could be asking for the need of someone’s time to love them in any way possible.

“Tip.” I can only think of two things this can actually mean. The first time I read it, I assumed it was someone asking for tip money for doing service, for example like a waitress. They probably ask because not everyone gives tip and they need that money to survive. Another thing I think it could mean is advice. Maybe someone needs advice and help to get their life together because it is not easy living in a society like that so they need a “tip” to get by.

So, what is the actual meaning for these repetitions? I guess it is how you see it. For me, I see prostitutes and money tip, but others can think of a whole other meaning.

Makina is Definitely a Badass!

In Yuri Herrera’s novel, Signs Preceding the End of the World, the main character, Makina, is my definition of a badass. She is on a journey to find her brother and from the beginning, she is already facing obstacles in doing so. During her adventure, she is alone. That already shows how much of a badass she is. Makina is out crossing the border by herself and is determined to find her brother.

 

As Makina is buying her bus ticket to cross the border, she meets these two men who are basically bothering her. She ignores them because she knows it is a waste of time. Right when the bus leaves, one of the men sits next to her and puts his finger on her lips and told her to “shhhhhh.” This is where I learned to love Makina’s character and the guy realized he had messed up. Makina grabs his middle finger and twists it and what she said to him defines what kind of character she is- a badass.  She told him without fear or hesitation, “Listen up, I’m going to let you go and you’re going to curl up with your little friend back there, and I swear on all your pain that if you even much as think about me again, the only thing that that hand’s going to be good for is wiping ass.” Literally for me and that quote alone just shows so much about Makina. At first she was patience with the guys but he went too far and pushed her button and got what he deserved. I am going to say this again; she is a badass. She is not an average girl in a novel that you read. She is on a journey facing many struggles, for example, crossing the border, she got shot by the cops and almost drowned crossing the river. If that were me, I would have died throughout this kind of adventure. What makes her an amazing character is that she is a woman.

 

All in all, this novel is not like any other novel because of the character and how Yuri Herrera wrote her to be. Makina could have been just been a normal girl who is not strong or determined, but the way she was written, you can see that the author put a lot of thought on how she should be.

Utopia’s Society V.S. Other Novels Society

There are many different novels just like “Utopia,” by Ahmed Khaled Towfik. For example, I see “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley as one of them and even “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. These novels are very different from each other but they somehow connect with one thing- class and society. In “Utopia,” you have the Utopians and the Others. Utopians are the riches of Utopia. They literally have everything their heart desires and throw money around like it is nothing while the Others fight and kill one another just to survive. Towfik writes, “You’re a Utopian resident, softened by a life of luxury and boredom.  You end up unable to tell an American from an Egyptian from an Israeli. You end up unable to tell yourself apart from other people. If it weren’t for the remnants of lust in your veins, you couldn’t tell men from women.” (Pg. 6) This is showing that all Utopians are the same to each other. But compared to the Others, you would be able to tell who is who based on how they look, speak, and act.

In “Brave New World,” by Aldous Huxley, you have individuals that are separated from one another for the sake of stability; this way there is no envy and no complications from integrating. Huxley quotes, “Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh, no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.”

Last but not least, “The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is showing how the riches are separated by “old money” and “new money.” So, if you are considered “new money,” you would live in the West Egg and “old money” lives in the East Egg. Everyone else in that society who does not have money lives in the Valley of Ashes.

In the end, all three novels have something in common- the split in society based on class. Even though these novels are fiction, they bring out the reality of society. In today’s society, we are split up based on class and ethnicity. Even though each story tells it from different century/time, it is still the same problem of being divided into class.