What’s Your Point of View?

maxresdefaultNow that I have finished the novel Baho! by Ronaldo Rugero I am looking back at the translator’s note which says “As you read Baho! my hope is that what you love most about the novel comes to rest with you.” At first, I had to read this quote a few times to really come to an understanding about it and decided it would be best for me to break it into parts.

At first I decided to look at the aspect that talks about what “you” or the reader loved most about the novel. At first I thought I would discuss the gender roles in this society as they are something I found myself very passionate about throughout the novel. However, not only is this something that I have discussed to an extent in the past, I don’t think it is really what I would consider a favorite part of the novel.

Going further into my thoughts and what I really enjoyed about the novel I discovered that the aspect I enjoyed most was actually the way in which the author moves between characters to narrate the story. In doing so we are allowed into the thoughts of many characters creating a more complete picture of the whole story. For example, there is a period of time in which the main character is knocked unconscious and the reader is moved into the mind of another character. Not only did this provide the reader with insight into the other character but also allowed the reader to know what was happening while the main character is unconscious. Without this switch in narrator, we would be left only with the main characters thoughts and far less understanding of the situation.

This multiple perspective way of telling the story also allowed for me to have a better grasp on the culture in which the main character lives. For example, while it is made clear that the idea of raping a young girl is very looked down upon in this culture by the actions of all those reacting to the main character’s supposed attempted rape on the girl, it is a far more complex situation. With only the information the main character is given it would leave the reader with the impression that women and girls are valued highly in this society and are protected and cherished by the men. However, as we learn from the other characters’ thoughts and experiences, that is not the case at all. The men care about the women as property to be treated however they wish to treat them. They seem to have very little respect for women as a whole and only wish to defend their property from being sullied and protect what they believe belongs to them.

As I come to a close on the discussion of this novel, I am inclined to be thankful that I read it not only because it was a thought provoking story but also because it illustrated techniques in writing that I did not even know that I valued. I do believe, as the quote mentioned, that my favorite aspect of the novel is one that will rest with me as it has made me want to read more books that utilize this technique of multiple perspectives. Going forward I plan to look more in depth at the books that I read and focus not just on the aspects that I feel passionate about but also on the elements of novels that I truly enjoy.


Works Cited:



What Is “Wrong”?


How we as humans look at, view, and treat one another is not something that you may think about everyday. However, It is something that we may need to be brought to everyone’s attention in the current state of our country. The novel Baho! by Roland Rugero takes a very philosophical approach on humans’ perspectives on one another and how it affects our actions.


Throughout the news recently and constantly more and more women have spoken out about the sexual misconducts and assaults that in the past they were unwilling to bring to light. As more and more women speak out about their story and more and more men are forced to apologize, it makes a person wonder how all this could have been happening in the past, has it really even stopped in the present and do the men who are responsible for hurting these women genuinely mean their apologies and intend to never repeat their transgressions?


In the society in the novel Baho!, the men do not feel bad or any sort of remorse whenever there are misdoings or harms upon the women in their society. The only point in which they take action is when the women have been or are threatened to be raped but that is only because they see their property or possessions as being “sullied,” “desecrated” or losing value. They feel that it is natural to treat women badly and even state that, to one man, throwing a bottle at his wife’s head when he gets home is “the most natural way [he] could find to wish her good evening.” Obviously the men do not feel the need to treat the women with any sort of respect or care, A large reason why that is, is because it has become what is normal in this society. No man would get in trouble for treat a woman or specifically his wife in this way. Because of the lack of policing of this mistreatment, men do not feel that they are actually doing something “wrong.” The idea of what wrong actually is and means is called into question by Rugero and left for the reader to interpret.


On the other hand, the society that we live in today does have a similar problem in that women are not being treated with respect in many instances and the men are going years or forever without any persecution for their actions. However, our society does have a real judicial and prosecuting system that men are and should be afraid when it comes to committing crimes against women if they already lack the ability to see why it is wrong in the first place. One can only assume that either the men are extremely clever and sneaky in their way of conducting these disrespectful and inappropriate acts, or any time in which there is opportunity for them to be exposed or policed in some form, nobody is taking action. It would seem that those who know that certain men do commit such actions are either unwilling or afraid to go to the police for whatever reasons.


While the men in the society in the novel Baho! may have a warped interpretation of what is right and wrong, I believe many of the men in our society who commit these acts of disrespect towards women understand what is right and wrong and the consequences. However, I believe that they do not think they will have to face severe consequences or any consequences at all past an apology. We can only hope that those who know of misconduct report and attempt to stop it and that all members of society continue to work towards seeing one another as equals.


Works Cited:


Rugero, Roland, and Christopher Schaefer. Baho!: a Novel. Phoneme Media, 2016.



Requiem: A Villain or a Victim?


According to Dictionary.com, the definition of a villain is “the person or thing responsible for specified trouble, harm, or damage.” Based upon this definition, the character Requiem from the novel Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila does seem like a villain. He is someone who is responsible for the trouble, harm, and damage of many people on many occasions. For example, it is made clear in chapter 17 subtitled “collector of nudes,” that Requiem is a very corrupt man (102). He is said to have “nude photographs of some two hundred and fifty tourists” and he uses this power over them as leverage to obtain money and power in the City-State and Tram 83 (102). It understandable that blackmailing hundreds of people is a very evil thing to do.9128576-Devil-Stock-Vector-devil-cartoon-satan.jpg

While it is easy to simply label someone, in this case a character, as evil and move on, is it ever really that simple? While there is no denying that Requiem has committed villainous acts and created evil situations for many of the people who visit the City-State and he does these things in order to obtain power, but does he have many other options in his society?

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of a victim is “a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency.” Based upon this definition, I believe the character Requiem also seems to be a Victim. While his actions are not something of a victim, the reason why he must do these things are. Requiem has been living in a society for so long in which being aggressive, cruel, and breaking laws leads the doer power and accomplishment. While nobody is actually forcing him to do these nefarious things and he could choose other paths in order to provide for himself, that is not what he is being shown and taught every day living around and in Tram 83. Requiem is a victim of the situation and society he is in as he is forced to survive the best way he can by doing anything he can.


Though it may be hard to avoid seeing only the evil in Requiem when he is doing so much harm to so many people, it is important to step into his shoes in order to truly understand him and how he may also be a victim. Would we, ourselves be able to resist breaking laws and doing whatever we could to gain power? Or would we, like Requiem, see all of the lawbreaking and corruption around us and do whatever we believed was necessary to obtain the best life for ourselves.


Works Cited:



Mujila, Fiston Mwanza, et al. Tram 83. Deep Vellum Publishing, 2016.




Why Makina is the Female Main Character We Need!


While it is 2017 and women and men are supposed to be considered equal, they still are not always portrayed that way. This unequal portrayal of men and women in all mediums of stories leavesmany people wanting a strong female character focused upon herself and other issues aside from a love interest.

“Literary girls don’t take road-trips to find themselves; they take trips to find men.” This idea that women’s stories tend to always revolve around men is not only prevalent in history but also still very clear in our society today.

Let’s really think about it. How many movies, television shows, or stories in general can you think of where a love interest, especially with a man, is not one of the main focuses of the female main character’s story? Probably not that many. What’s your favorite TV show or movie or novel with a female lead. Does she avoid the plotline of finding love or is it a significant part of her story?

In the novel Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, the female main character Makina focuses on the finding of her brother across the border without also having a storyline based in love and finding a man. In doing so, the author creates the female main character feminists have been waiting for.

Makina is a very strong and independent character who bravely crosses the border to find her brother without relying on anybody else. She never says that she wishes she had someone there to protect her or to be there with her by her side but rather takes on the challenge feeling completely confident in her ability to get it done. However, Herrera avoided making a character who, without the love interest loses the quality of being a feminine and sexual. Makina is portrayed as a sexual character in multiple scenes like when she is describing her relationship with her non-boyfriend. She says how, rather than “defining” and creating a relationship with the man, she cares more about the fact that “every weekend they’d shuck” (Herrera, 28). Their relationship is by no means a main focus in the story and is only briefly mentioned but illustrates Makina’s sexual desires as a woman and a human being.

Without this romantic relationship to soften the female character, it can leave many readers and viewers with the feeling that the character is very unfeeling. Herrera easily maneuvers past this obstacle as the taskher character Makina is undertaking is to find her lost brother who she and her mother miss. This creates a character who is already one who feels and has feelings for her family and loved ones.

Can you think of other female characters like Makina who have remained strong and independent without the romantic story line but still remains feminine and human?

Book: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

Quote: https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/07/its-frustratingly-rare-to-find-a-novel-about-women-thats-not-about-love/277621/

Utopia: Humans or animals?

            It seems that any time a dystopian novel is published, it questions the boundaries and limits of society in a different way by illustrating the extremes of what people are capable of. While this is true in the book Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik, there also is a serious focus on defining what humanity is versus being animalistic.

           While we are all a part of the human race, defining humanity can require a different definition. Towfik, through the two main characters from Utopia and from the others, defines what it means to be a human and have humanity. You may expect the two characters, one coming from wealth and privilege and one who has only known poverty and despair, to have different definitions of humanity but it appears they are quite similar. Both men seem to think the “Others” of Utopia are “savage” (p.76) and compare them to “stupid animals” (p.105) because of their lust for only sex and violence. They also see their dirtiness as an animalistic characteristic that prevents them from seeing the Others as human.

           I noticed though that it seems neither of the characters defines humanity as just being a human being. Both men seem to believe that without the more civilized components, somebody is not an actual human.

           Another point that I noticed that should be recognized is the direct comparisons of the two main characters. Even though the Utopian narrator has lived a lavish life of luxury, he is the who is more capable of violence. The whole point of his and Germinal’s trip to Utopia is to cut off somebody’s hand to take home. This obviously displays the character’s ability for violence as, when the time comes to knock out the Other woman to cut off her hand, the narrator does not hesitate and hits her on the neck rendering her unconscious. On the other hand, the character Gaber is unable to follow through on his plans for violence. When he sneaks away from the chicken slaughter house to rape Germinal, he is unable to do it. He attempts to be violent with her but is incapable of really doing any harm to her. We know through Gaber’s previous thoughts that he wants something more out of life and his relationships and it seems that this desire may be part of what keeps him from mindless violence and sex.

           After reading about half the book now, many questions have developed about the characters that we are following. What is it about Gaber that makes him different from the Others? Why is he above the unnecessary violence and killing of people while the narrator from Utopia is not immune to the draws of violence?humanity