Final Reflection Explained

This is it. It’s the final days of this semester! And boy, it was one heck of a trip. Time really does fly by!  I can honestly say I’ve grown so much more this semester than any other in the past. With the help of some amazing professors and their classes , I was able to push my intellectual boundaries even further… and that’s what college is all about, right?

After blogging about the various American women writers, we were assigned to come up with a website for a particular one we were interested in. Without any hesitation, I joined the group for Zitkala-sa. Out of all the authors we read in class, she was the one I connected to most. She had such a different writing style and came from a background I was less familiar with, which stirred up my interest. When any professor mentions group work, I already know there would be eyes rolling around in classrooms. However, my group was such a pleasure to work with. Creating a website was no easy task!

It was my first time ever using the Wix platform and took a while to get familiar with it. I’m a techy kind of person and love trying to figure out the mechanics of sites, so the frustration was definitely a choice. Once I got the hang of it; adding pages choosing the theme, and all the general elements, putting the content together was easier.

Each section was split by the members of my group, and I was in charge of assembling most of the contents of the site. Besides site building, I was responsible for the sections: Zitkala-sa 101, Bright Feathers, and a scholarly work critique entitled A Fixation of the Native Identity, as well as a contributor in our quotes section. What surprised me most about this project was the amount of content we were all so eager to add. In doing our research for Zitkala-sa, we saw that she didn’t have a huge presence on the web. It was either small glimpses of her or only one section on a large-scale site. Our goal was to give Zitkala-sa her own home, where anything you can possibly know about Zitkala-sa was visible. We also wanted to leave our personalized touch with our quote analysis and scholarly critiques. This project helped me realize how important it is for our authors to have a presence to the public eye. Nowadays, everyone does their research on the internet, and the main purpose of it is to get instantaneous answers. It is important to let the audience know about the overall demographics of a writer, but to also enlighten them with ideas they cannot find on a simple “About Author” section.

I cannot take all the credit for this website. It was truly a group effort and I appreciate their cooperation and patience. We didn’t want to leave one person in charge of adding each content, so we tried to log in and add our own. However, we figured out that because there was more than one person logging on and saving… another member trying to save would have their content deleted. It was frustrating but we pulled through. Not one person’s section was any more important than the other. We saw how each tab was significant in knowing Zitkala-sa more. I think I speak for us all when I say we wanted to make the best website possible for Zitkala-sa. Adding the little extra artwork and transitions were time-consuming, but definitely worth it. I was very impressed with the work my group put in. They had thought-provoking content and completely poured their heart out on each section.

Writing for the public audience was scary. Just the simple fact that typing in Zitkala-sa’s name and having our site be one of the options they can click on sparks my adrenaline. It is a responsibility. Are we giving them what they are looking for? Is our content good enough? Are we giving Zitkala-sa justice? These are some of the questions that popped into my mind during this project. We needed to make sure our sources were credible. There must be more facts than mere opinion. At the end of the day, we are trying to shine light on the author and not only us. It was interesting to switch the mentality of research a bit. Was this something I would be looking for when conducting research? If the answer was yes to every section our group made, then our purpose was well served. I believe that our website is the best web presence out there for Zitkala-sa. That’s not because I am biased, but because I know that the work contributed by my fellow group-mates is noteworthy. All aspects of Zitkala-sa has been covered. Zitkala-sa was very passionate about preserving her traditions and ensuring the voice of her people be heard. We wanted to be the ones who allowed her voice to resonate. It was finally Zitkala-sa’s turn to be heard.

What I appreciate most about this American Women Writers course is how personal it was. My blog up to this point has been dedicated to the authors we’ve read and how influential each were to topics relevant today. We’ve read stories that revolve around identity, strength, and finding a voice. I don’t think I can capture how significant this class was to my life with a single post. But I think it’s safe to say that it did empower me. Hannah Crafts taught me about freedom. Harriet E. Wilson shared ideals about the role of men. Harriet Jacobs gave importance to my childhood. Zitkala-sa reestablished the power of education. Nella Larsen showed me the importance of identity. Zora Neale Hurston helps me cope with falling out of love. I’ve learned a lot about these authors, but I know I’ve learned even more about myself. In previous classes, I was consumed with getting good grades and writing papers that were all about the structure. For so long I’ve written things that were never to satisfy me, by my professors. Suddenly, I have lost my voice in the sea of reasearch papers, strict MLA citations, and thesis statements that I could care less about. Like the authors I’ve read this semester, I was stripped of the one thing I valued most: my voice. Blogging holds a very personal place in my heart. I’ve done it before it was a “trend,” or before sites like Tumblr had gotten famous. It was my outlet. To have the opportunity to blog again was so refreshing. I fell in love with writing all over again. I actually wanted to read the books that were assigned. I remembered why I became an English major in the first place. Dr. Travis, I know you are reading this and I want to say thank you! Thank you for introducing me to such amazing writers and allowing me to connect to them through blogging. Thank you for letting my mind roam free, yet staying grounded on the importance of content. If there is one thing I will walk away with from of this class, it is to be fearless. I have to take the strength and lessons expressed by these women and remember to never forget my self-worth.

It’s okay to write a preface in a book. It’s okay to have your work hidden for a while. It’s okay to lose yourself sometimes.

My work might be forgotten. Maybe not even be found.

But it’s still mine. It’s my story. It was explained by me.

Falling Out of Love Explained

I wish I knew how to start this one. I wish I had some smart catchphrase or witty joke, but today, I can’t find the exact words. The topic at hand is something that I find pretty hard to tackle and that is probably because it’s all too familiar. It’s the art of falling out of love.

Now, this is for the broken-hearted. Not just those who are coming out of romantic relationships, but friendships as well. Because, let’s face it… love is a powerful component that makes any relationship what it is. So after all the great memories and loving each other until your heart feels like it will explode, you’re hit by an unexpected emotion that leaves you almost paralyzed. You look at the person you love and the unthinkable comes to mind: you don’t feel the same way as before. You don’t love them anymore. It’s like a solid snowball to the face during a snowball fight. It will hurt. It’s cold. You will feel numb. And for a good ten minutes, you just want to curl up in a warm corner and cry.

While reading Zora Neale Hurtson’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, I wanted to hug Janie and eat tubs of ice-cream with her (Vanilla ice-cream, to be specific. With loads of fudge and whipped cream) as Sam Smith plays in the background. She goes into these relationships thinking it would be for the best. In the beginning, it would always seem to feel right; and at a point I did see Janie love the men she was with. Maybe not the extravagant, “till death do us part” kind of love, but a love that was worth something. Even if the first two husbands were good-for-nothings in my book, Janie chose to stay for as long as she could. But then, she had that falling out of love phase, especially with her second husband Joe Starks. The man she married was not the same man who she fell for in the early stage of the relationship. The snowball had hit her pretty hard in the face.

Janie stood where he left her for unmeasured time and thought. She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over. In a way she turned her back upon the image where it lay and looked further. She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be. She found that she had a host of thoughts she had never expressed to him, and numerous emotions she had never let Jody know about. Things packed up and put away in parts of her heart where he could never find them. She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen. She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them. (Chapter 6)

How heartbreaking was it to read that? Now, imagine experiencing it.

We tend to put the people we love on a pedestal, well at least that’s what I and Janie did. There’s this picture-perfect image of them inside us that we are completely connected to, but then when the snowball comes flying towards you, expect that image to shatter. Whether it was something they said, something they did, or often times, something they didn’t do or say, your love for them shifts. You start to reevaluate the relationship, look for answers that are impossible to find, and try to trace back to the starting line that’s miles away.

But when you’re falling out of love, you don’t push the re-play button. It doesn’t exit. Instead you have to look past the shattered pieces and accept that the picture will never be the same. It wasn’t the photograph you envisioned. You realize the love you were experiencing was a one-way street. And relationships are never supposed to be a one-way street. You are supposed to grow, express yourself, and learn to accept another person as a part of you; not as a separate component.

When your ‘insides and outsides’ don’t mix, you fall out of love.

Sometimes, it just has to happen. It’s the only time you learn to fall in love with yourself and feel how great it is.

Once you’ve finished crying over the pain of a frozen snowball to the face, you’ll see that you’re still alive. You can pick up a patch of snow for yourself, form it into a ball with no one else’s help, and throw like a pro.

You learn a lot by being hurt, but grow by being smart enough to know that you have to dust off your skirt and move forward. Falling out of love sucks, but you can’t fall forever.

A Grandmother’s Love Explained

Family is everything to me.

My parents were my first teachers and my brother was my first best friend (besides my teddy bear named… Teddy). But my grandma was different. She’s my rock. I told myself that if ever she leaves our home, I was to move in with her. Can’t nobody take my grandmama away from me! I could go on forever about the sacrifices, love, and care that she has exerted throughout her life, but my words wouldn’t do her justice. If there is one thing you should know about my grandma, it’s that she takes so much pride in her grandchildren (all nine of us).  As her first granddaughter, she doesn’t shy away from talking about relationships and who she believes I should be with; especially now that I am older.

Here are some qualities my dear grandmother expects from my future husband:

  • He has to have a good job. Or as she likes to repeat, “Marry a doctor or a lawyer.” 
  • He has to come from a good family.
  • Loves me unconditionally.
  • He needs to be a man of faith.
  • He must be respectful.
  • HANDSOME (oh, grandma).

This list doesn’t even sound that bad. Actually, I like it. But to put a man through such a list can be a task, because it sounds pretty much perfect. And perfect just doesn’t exist. However, I ask myself why she is so worked up about me having this ideal man. Her answer to me once went a little something like this, “because my granddaughter is worth it.” Of course I wanted to flip my hair and smile in agreement… and I did. But thinking about it now causes my heart to break a little. My worth stands next to a man with a law degree, whose family name is on the Forbes 100, and has a body hot enough to kick Adam Levine off of the “Sexiest Man Alive” throne? My worth is reflected on a person other than myself? I don’t think so.

In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s grandmother (Nanny) has given her a similar list as mine. Nanny wants her granddaughter to marry quick, to a man who is of quality, but Jeanie was confused. She was still so young and saw marriage as a love-relationship, not something that is produced out of a mere list. So when Jeanie did marry she said this, “Husbands and wives always loved each other, and that was what marriage meant” (Chapter 3). Despite rushing into her relationship with Logan and doubting her feelings for him, she believed that a marriage built on love can be learned. Marriage ideals take the couple out of the situation and views it as only institutional, perhaps just necessity. It is often seen that women are expected to be housewives and mothers. That because they are given such roles, their companions must also be a certain way. I think that Nanny was aware that these gender roles are inescapable, but what could make it better is having a good partner. Then the goal of getting into a marriage is not for love, but a title.

However, let’s try not to criticize our grandmothers too much. I know they mean well.

My grandmother wants me to be my own person. She wants me to grow. She wants me to grab every opportunity thrown at me. She wants to see me succeed in life. She wants me to be happy. I think her main purpose in giving me her list of expectations is to teach me to aim high. It was never about the ideals, but the reason why we form them. As long as I don’t settle for someone who can pass as a good guy and be with someone who actually is, I know she can live with that. So, she won’t disown me if I marry a writer than a doctor. 

Grandmothers have this wisdom that us grandkids can’t always understand, but need to trust that it’s fruitful. Sometimes they go about expressing themselves to us wrongly, but it is all because they are one of the few people on this planet that have our best interest in mind. We are their successors, whether you feel like you are obligated or not. It’s a component in being family. My grandmother has taught me so many life lessons, that I am forever thankful. But the best gift she gave me is her love. It overflows. Like Nanny, her soul is strong. Because she has been through so much, she wants her grandchild to know that the world will give you choices. It’s about weeding out the bad and picking the one that suits you.

“No one is ever completely happy, or free, or safe” Explained.

If there is one quote from Nella Larsen’s Passing, that can easily touch on all the themes from the novel it would be:

“I’m beginning to believe,” she murmured, “that no one is ever completely happy, or free, or safe” (Larsen 121).

Take a minute and let that settle. Not much of an optimistic motivator, huh? I know. Humans are a unique species that’s able to take free will and run with it. But of course with all our decisions bring forth consequences: good and bad ones. Funny, when you think of it. If free will gives us no boundaries, then why are there consequences we must face afterwards? It should be a stream of actions and no limitations. Won’t our “free-will” or decision to do whatever we want to, be influenced one way or another? That’s why what we do, I would like to think, is for happiness. Because a bad consequence is something no one really aims for.

In Larsen’s novel, Clare and Irene marry for some kind of happiness. Though Clare’s situation can be seen as her marrying to reserve her “white identity,” I can still see it as her choice to be happy. Or in the least, be content with her choice. As for Irene, it is pretty evident that she loves her family and will do just about anything to satisfy and keep them whole. However, in both cases, the women in the novel aren’t truly happy. The initial sense of happiness is just a front, a mask to distract whoever is looking outward in, that they are complete. Internally, they are broken. Clare has to suffer her husband’s racist comments and Irene is paranoid that she isn’t enough for her spouse. Which brings me to the next point: freedom. Because they are confined in a marriage, Clare and Irene cannot really escape their husbands’ highly opinionated personalities and must abide by certain rules. The notion of freedom is also closely related to identity. Both women are a mixed race of white and black, so the stereotype as well as their physical appearance hinder them from being self-expressive. They are looked at as what they are supposed to be, opposed to respected as who they want to be. Their identities are inescapable.

Trying to answer how one can be “safe” is very interesting in Larsen’s novel. There are many secrets, suspicions, and taboos explored in Passing, that the question of safety becomes relevant in the major scenes. Because Clare sneaks off to Harlem to be amongst her fellow black community, her secret to her husband is at risk. Mr. Bellew is oblivious to the fact that Clare is half black and if he finds out, he will be furious. The consequences of Clare’s other identity coming out will call for a very hostile response. Aside from identity and secrets, worldly issues become a problem in the Redfield household. Irene’s husband wants his little boy to know the issues and topics discussed in the real world, and not only what he learns in school. He wants to prepare his son to know the ins and outs of reality and ensure that this fantasy life of childhood is not the only world he knows. But as a mother, Irene’s instincts kick in, and shelter her boy from the harsh realities of the grown up world. Though, no matter how much a mother tries, her children will see the world they try so much to shelter them from. It is no longer “safe” because information reaches young ones unfiltered and their minds tend to wander into the unknown. A parent can only do so much in guiding their children, but they can never really control what is handed to them.

One of my professors told me that we need to have a sense that we are free. We are told we have freedom and can achieve anything we put our minds to. But it’s a system. We are told this because once we figure out that it isn’t true, there will be and uproar. People will just go insane. And it’s true. No matter what our decision are, they are never completely ours. Rational beings have to think, sometimes over-think, their actions. The simple fact that we think before we act proves that this freedom holds a kind of responsibility. And responsibility is binding. So how can we ever be truly happy, free, and safe, if we know we have to pay for it at the end? We won’t know, is the answer. But we can’t let that question bother us too much. So live like there’s no tomorrow? NO. Live like there is tomorrow, because you shouldn’t restrict yourself to just today.

Falling in Between a Hyphen Explained.

I am American by citizenship/birthright, but Filipino by blood. I was born and raised in the wonderful city of New York, but my upbringing didn’t shy away from the traditions of a Filipino household. I speak my language pretty well, know a bit of my homeland’s history, and current events. I probably know more about the celebrities in the Philippines than those in American television. I’ve visited the Philippines countless times and constantly yearn to be swimming in its transparent waters or immersed with locals in the market. I am so proud to call it home and to be a part of such a deep culture. We are known to be proud people, always raving about our culture, but I like to think there is a good reason for it. I mean, have you been to a Filipino party? We won’t just feed you, we will let you take home some of the food. Not only that, but we will entertain you with some uncles who can’t dance and mothers who will sing some of the music industry’s greatest hits… as if they were the originals. Overall, we are a fun, happy, loving bunch of people.

And even though there’s a great side of being Filipino-American, there’s a dark side to it side as well.

I have to accept that I fall in between a hyphen. Because I wasn’t born Filipino, I am not truly Filipino. Because I live in America and mingled with a whole diversity of people, experienced “American things,” and haven’t eaten Balut, I am not entirely Filipino. “My education is American.” I haven’t “lived” the harsh realities of the Philippines, so I can’t identify with its struggle. I’m not part white, so I can’t be “American.” Some Filipinos don’t consider Fil-Ams as Filipinos at all. Other Fil-Ams don’t think of themselves as Asian because we are specifically “Pacific-Islanders.” Filipinos tend to be prejudice to others because of the hyphen. Because I am also American, I can’t just be Filipino.  In other words, as much as I identify with being Filipino, I can’t escape the fact that I am also an American. Trust me when I say, people have reminded me of this fact time and time again.  And before anyone thinks that I am not proud to be an American, I want to clarify that I am very proud to be. See, that’s where the struggle with the hyphen comes in. How can I give an explanation for being proud to be both, without sounding too prideful or alienating to the other? Is it that negative to actually be prideful? No. But once you start mixing things up and interlocking different cultures, suddenly it’s like your stepping on someone’s toes. There’s this need to identify, but oh wait, you must be very careful on how you word things. Don’t make one side sound worse than the other. Make sure your facts are right. Don’t sound like an “ugly American” or “another bandwagoning Filipino.” Really? Does it ever end?

In Nella Larsen’s Passing, Clare struggles with the same issue. She comes from both white and black parents, however, she “passes” as looking more caucasian. Since her appearance hides her “black identity” she embraces it and doesn’t even tell her husband she is mixed. When she runs into Irene, who is also mixed and a childhood companion of hers, she instantly connects. Clare is seen as a traitor of the black race because she is ashamed of it, putting it all behind her, and claiming to be only a white woman. But as her highly racist husband expresses his indifference with black people, Clare becomes just as uncomfortable as Irene. The reason why Clare is so happy to see Irene is because she has this need to be with someone like her. She has confined herself to only one side of her identity, that her latter side is seeking for attention. In another sense, Larsen expresses that no matter how much one tries to escape their dual identity, it will always find its way back. It will always have this need to be expressed. Clare struggles with balancing who she really is and who she is trying to be. Because she identifies with being white, she cannot escape the fact that she is also black.  Both sides of her just want to blend together, but she cannot let it. A lot of this is because of what I said earlier: there’s a caution when expressing who you are. We see that with the perspective of Mr. Bellew (Clare’s husband) and Irene. Mr. Bellew represents Clare’s white half and Irene represents her black half. Either way, if Clare picks a side, the latter would look at her in disgust. Making it a difficult decision for her to openly be who she is.

Race is such a major identifier. Not in the sense that it keeps you in a box, but it helps in explaining who you are as a person. There is history that influences your choices, morals that drive your thought, and language that help your articulation. For those who are mixed or know what it is like to live in between a hyphen, you understand the hardship in trying to explain who you are. There is a push and  pull notion when you talk about a particular side of you. It’s hard to choose sides. Often times you are told you are, when you aren’t. Stereotypes are thrown at you from both ends. You then start to question why it all has to come down to this. Why is it so hard for others (and often times, yourself) to just accept that you are you? I wish I could give you an answer. But I will tell you this, be happy with who you are. You don’t have to choose a side. Society will push ideas down your throat, cultures will clash, but honey… go ahead and spit out all that glitter and rainbows. You are more than what the hyphen says. Take it and run because even if you are Latino-American, Asian-American, Orange-Green, an Alien Bunny rabbit, or whatever… I trust that you know yourself. And if you are still trying to find who you are, don’t worry. You aren’t the only one.

The Power of Hair Explained.

Picture Day has got to be one of the most hectic times of a child’s life. You have to choose a background (blue, grey, or the classic bookshelf. But if your school hired a fancy company, you had the option for an outdoor backdrop), pick out nice clothes, practice your smile, and most importantly… your hair has to be fabulous. Things worked out well for me, except for 2nd grade. Oh how I hated my hair during that time!

A couple of days before Picture Day, my mom brought me to the salon to get a haircut. I remember specifically telling my mom to let the hair stylist know I just wanted a trim. NOTHING DRASTIC. Now, I know that lady understood English because she agreed. But she was also Asian, so she was going to whatever she wanted (Relax, I’m Asian too. And I know how we get all sensitive about jokes on our people. So if that offended you, I’m kinda sorry.) So as the length of my hair got shorter and shorter, my eyes only got wider. Then, she whipped out the razor. I swear to you, the buzzing sound still rings in my ears. My soul was shaking. Slowly, I feel it hit closer to my neck and cut higher to my head. After the damage was done she told me, “See, it’s even better than you asked for.” I got into the car and cried my eyes out. I looked like Dora the Explorer, un-casted edition. It was mortifying.

But I was not the only one who experienced this pain. In Zitkala-sa’s novel American Indian Stories, she recalls the day the “paleface woman” cut her hair and how much it affected her.

I cried aloud, shaking my head all the while until I felt the cold blades of the scissors against my neck, and heard them gnaw off one of my thick braids. Then I lost my spirit. Since the day I was taken from my mother I had suffered extreme indignities. People had stared at me. I had been tossed about in the air like a wooden puppet. And now my long hair was shingled like a coward’s! In my anguish I moaned for my mother, but no one came to comfort me. Not a soul reasoned quietly with me, as my own mother used to do; for now I was only one of many little animals driven by a herder.

(School Days of An Indian Girl, Section II)

After leaving her homeland and moving East with the missionaries for school, she realized her expectations of what life would be were different. She was a foreigner. But this particular scene is so important to discuss in Zitkala-sa’s story. She says, “Our mothers had taught us that only unskilled warriors who were captured had their hair shingled by the enemy. Among our people, short hair was worn by mourners, and shingled hair by cowards!” Her long hair is a symbol of strength. It was part of her identity and a direct connection to her roots. As the “paleface woman” cut off her hair, she felt that she had also “lost [her] spirit,” her sole reason of being. The woman did not only change the girl’s physical appearance, but altered her inner self as well. AGAINST HER WILL.

Hair will always grow back. We know this. But it is part of our body, and no one should control our body but ourselves. Whether you want to shave it all off or grow it long, it is your choice. That was why I was so angered by the lady who had cut my hair when I was younger. I chose the kind of way I wanted my hair to look, I trusted that she would respect that, but instead she did what she thought was good for me. No one gave her that right. Not her certificate, not her employer, not my mother, and definitely not me. As a girl, I am attached to my hair. It sounds so silly to say hair gives someone some kind of identity, but it does. Because (on good hair days) I control it and I style it the way I am comfortable with.

Zitkala-sa shows that after all the struggles she went through up to the time she had arrived at the school, her hair being cut off was the final straw. Expectations, rules, and culture was pushed onto her like she had no choice. She was being made into someone who she is not, but didn’t know how to escape it because “[she] was only one of many little animals driven by a herder.”  She ended up being one of the warriors captured by the enemy and had their hair shingled. She was made into a “coward.” They broke her.

I cried, just like her. I knew I became different. But I knew it wasn’t natural. To be stripped of choice, especially at a young age, makes you feel so powerless. For someone to take away something you hold so close to your being, makes you feel robbed. As I pass by the little salon and see it now made into a shop, I feel a bit better. It’s like I got my revenge. I might make my experience sound so dramatic, but my emotions were as real as I recall it. That lady left me with a bad hair cut and a picture to always remember it by. But it will still be a memory that is instilled in my mind forever, no matter now much my hair grows now.

Girls and Education Explained.

I sit here and think about how different my life would be if I hadn’t gone to school. Let’s face it, school is like that boyfriend that you love and hate at the same time. At one moment, he has your attention, the next, he just babbles about something you could care less about. Still, you, as the amazingly loving girlfriend, must put up with… everything. This boyfriend is a part of you. He pushes you to be better, teaches you things you’ve never known, and provides perspective on ideas that are other than your own. Education is the boyfriend any father wouldn’t mind you taking home (primarily because it really isn’t something you can make out with and most importantly, he wouldn’t need to worry about his little girl being with something useless). In Zitkala-sa’s American Indian Stories, we get a glimpse of a young American-Indian girl’s life. She sets out to do chores with her mother, spends time with her playmates, and learns the ways of her people. The one thing absent, is access to a proper education. She is obviously a curious child.  She likes to hear the stories about Legends and tries to figure out its meaning. She questions the role of the “palefaces” and their relationship to her people. When the missionaries came, she wanted to learn more of what they are saying. All this curiosity comes from a fire within her to want to be more than what she is. When she was given the opportunity to go East with the missionaries, her mother was hesitant. Letting her go will mean that her beloved daughter would have to face hardships on her own. But the mother knows how valuable education is.

“She will need an education when she is grown, for then there will be fewer real Dakotas, and many more palefaces. This tearing her away, so young, from her mother is necessary, if I would have her an educated woman. The palefaces, who owe us a large debt for stolen lands, have begun to pay a tardy justice in offering some education to our children. But I know my daughter must suffer keenly in this experiment. For her sake, I dread to tell you my reply to the missionaries. Go, tell them that they may take my little daughter, and that the Great Spirit shall not fail to reward them according to their hearts.”

Education provides us with a foundation. It gives us information that is connected to just about all corners of the Earth. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned, is that everything in the world is always changing. It’s proven in history books and reality. That is why the mother sends her daughter off because there will be “fewer real Dakotas, and many more palefaces.” Education will provide her with the knowledge and strength to both adapt to the changing world we live in, as well as allow her to trace back to the land that birthed her. Education is empowering. Girls were expected to follow the footsteps of their mother. They are taught domestic duties and are expected to abide by these “womanly roles.” As we see in the beginning of Zitkala-sa’s novel, women are seen as the home-bodies. But when education becomes accessible it shows that women are able to rise above this stereotype and prove they are capable to be so much better. Education is a human right. It should be provided for, no matter the gender or status of a person. And a woman’s education should go beyond the home setting. Let the world be her classroom.

The thought of not having the education I am so thankfully provided with, hits pretty hard. I was always eager to learn. I was the bookworm. I was the one who looked forward to journal entries. I’m part of the few who actually really like school. But liking school was not the first thing that came to my mind. I went for my friends and the whole social aspect of it. Had I not been taught to sit in a chair and actually pay attention, I wouldn’t have done so. If my teachers never introduced me to certain books, I wouldn’t have picked them up to read. Education goes far beyond textbooks and lectures. It really does prepare you for life. However, the lessons outside of a classroom is what tests you on how strong you use your education. Let this Education Boyfriend be your companion in life, but never forget to follow your own voice. Use his lessons about basketball stats and playbook rules, and apply them to your own situation. Also, be brave enough to create rules of your own.