WRIT 340 Paper 2 Final Draft with comment 1

WRIT 340 Paper 2 Final Draft with comment 1 - Trang Ho 5...

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Trang Ho 5 October 2010 Trang Ho Writing 340: Section 65060 Yance Wyatt Assignment #2 Foreign is a New Black, or is it? Within the last decade, many successful movies are adapted from foreign literature, yet a question remains: how do the inevitable modifications affect the original text? “Memoirs of a Geisha” poses a particularly intriguing example for this xenocentric phenomenon. The movie grossed $158 million internationally and won numerous awards, including three Academy Awards in Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. Despite the popularity of the novel of the same name by Arthur Golden, the tremendous success of its film adaptation introduced the once mysterious practice of geisha into mainstream, Western culture. Movie adaptations popularize a foreign culture more successfully than their literature counterparts because filmmakers often modify the original text to appeal to the mass audience while whereas instead of while the authors are focused on the quality and authenticity of their work. In writing autobiographical novels, authors sometimes place more emphasis on conveying their characters’ internal worlds with utmost authenticity than writing to commercialize. In particular, Arthur Golden displays an exceptional talent in bringing characters to life in his debut novel Memoirs of a Geisha . He artfully crafts an enchanted world of memories, thoughts, and emotions through the perspective of Sayuri, the female protagonist. This character is an innocent girl whose insights and imagination are sophisticated beyond her 1
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Trang Ho 5 October 2010 years. Consequently, Golden chooses to write in simple yet elegant prose to highlight Sayuri’s purity and refinement, as illustrated in this description of Sayuri’s debut dance performance: We wore identical kimono of yellow and red, with obis of orange and gold – so that we looked, each of us, like shimmering images of sunlight. When the music began, with that first thump of the drums and the twang of all the shamisens, and we danced out together like a string of beads – our arms outstretched, our folding fans open in our hands – I had never before felt so much a part of something. (Golden 266). Golden applies a simple formula that is ubiquitous throughout the novel: he starts a section with Sayuri’s recollection of a particular experience, connects it with intriguing imageries, and concludes with a reflection or emotion evoked from the observation. This writing technique is particularly powerful – it familiarizes the readers with Sayuri’s thought process as if we were getting to know her as a real person. Sayuri had a less than fortunate upbringing, growing up as Chiyo in a poor fisherman’s family. When she was nine years old, her elderly father had to sell Chiyo and her sister into the life of servitude. Having experienced extreme hardships at such a young age, Chiyo became poised yet connected to the sorrows around her. As a result, the overall tone of the book is somber, naturally conveying Sayuri’s propensity for sadness. This
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