Dear Mr. Thicke

By Lindsay Czechowski

I created my found poem with the lyrics of my least favorite song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. I have always hated this song, however only because I thought it was overplayed not realizing what the message was. After listening to “Blurred Lines”, I realized this song was offensive towards women. I then watched the music video and it made me sick seeing how the women in the video were treated like animals and the men in the video were just carelessly taking advantage of them. From that point on I had a new hatred for this song for its dehumanization of women.

Starting this explanation with the paper I taped the lyrics on. I purposefully chose to distort the lines on a normal loose leaf piece of paper. I used water to blur the lines so that the poem itself would pop on a kind of washed away, blurred background. This also speaks to the title of the song I used. The structure of the poem is like a letter, hence the title addressing Mr. Thicke, a co-writer and main singer of the song. I wanted to use the song lyrics themselves in an attempt to “clap back” or respond to Robin Thicke and his audacity to produce such an absurd song. I then blacked out some of the words in certain lines throughout the poem. I chose to black out words rather than white them out because I wanted the audience to know that I was changing the lines. I did not want to hide the alterations I made. At the end, I repeated the lyric “I hate these blurred lines” and it seems to fade. This effect hammers home the entire point of this “letter”. Ultimately, this poem straightens out the “blurred lines” to make them more clear.

I really enjoyed this project because it was fun to play around with other people’s language. To be able to change a perspective and goal of a work to have a completely different meaning made me feel powerful. This helped me feel better about this song because the project allows me to have a response to it. This project reinforces the topic of language and how it can impact people.

“Fire Ghosts, Meter Reader Ghosts, Tree Trimming Ghosts” … Oh My!

By Lindsay Czechowski

The memoir The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston is a collection of stories about the author’s life growing up. The important things in her life were the “talk stories” her mother, Brave Orchid, told her growing up to “warn us[her] about life” (Kingston, 5). Progressing through the book Kingston begins to write more and more about these ghosts that constantly haunt her and her family. Ghosts typically represent people of the past that have died. In ancient China “ghosts were taken very seriously”because they were seen as beings that did harm to the living (Mark). Brave Orchid’s life was surrounded by ghosts. Kingston recognizes her not as “crazy” but as a “capable exorcist” because she was strong enough to fight off the ghosts (Kingston, 92). Because of Kingston’s mother, ghosts are a large part of Kingston’s girlhood even in America.

In the chapter Shaman, Kingston switches point of views between herself and her mother. Brave Orchid grew up in China and is the reason for Kingston’s thoughts and stories in this book. In the perspective of herself, Kingston refers to regular people as ghosts. This is interesting because the “talk stories” from Brave Orchid contained harmful ghosts that haunted her throughout life in China. Those stories differ from the thoughts Kingston creates about ghosts in her life. She replaces people with ghosts. She writes about being “regularly visited by the Mail Ghost, Meter Reader Ghost, Garbage Ghost,” all people in normal everyday life (Kingston, 98). These ghosts are not harmful to anyone yet Kingston continues to write about them as if they are, in turn copying her mother’s stories. It is said that ” in ancient China, they were reality whether one believed in them or laughed them off”(Mark). These stories are very real to the Chinese. Tales of certain deaths such as “the drowned one,” or Kingston’s aunt that killed herself and her baby, can haunt and “waits silently by the water to pull down a substitute” (Kingston, 16). The contrast between this mother and daughter duo is the severity of these ghosts within their culture. Kingston lives as a Chinese American not surrounded by the ancient Chinese beliefs causes her to make up stories like her mother’s. This behavior attributes to why the reading is confusing to the reader. Kingston writes about what she remembers from her childhood trying to explain these happenings as if she knows everything about them, however in reality she knows very little. This leaves the reader with little knowledge of what her stories’ purposes were.

These stories emphasize hidden thoughts of Brave Orchid. For example, while explaining a story about the garbage man that Kingston refers to as “Garbage Ghosts,” Brave Orchid refers to him as “the White Ghost” (Kingston, 98). Brave Orchid says, ” Now we know”and continues,” the White Ghosts can hear Chinese” (Kingston, 98). Why does she include that in the story? Does Brave Orchid have something against Americans? This contributes to why Kingston never feels like enough. In the chapter White Tigers Kingston says,”My American life has been such a disappointment” (Kingston, 45). Why did Kingston refer to her life as her “American life”? America was not what Brave Orchid was used to nor did she have her family there with her. Chinese traditions are up to her to continue on to Kingston. However, these stories make Kingston seem less than acceptable to Brave Orchid only because she is not fully Chinese. Although she married an American man she has unhappy feelings on white Americans, specifically, even compared to black Americans.

The ghosts are significant in Chinese culture and to Brave Orchid. These “talk stories” reveal a side to Brave Orchid and her actions towards Kingston. These are important to recognize because these stories about ghosts slowly begin to unravel the truth about Kingston’s life and stories as a female, Chinese American.

  1. What was the purpose of including “White” and “Black Ghosts”?
  2. Why does Kingston call machines and people “ghosts” growing up in her stories?

Works Cited

Kingston, Maxine H. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Childhood among Ghosts. Vintage, 1989.

Mark, Emily. “Ghosts in Ancient China.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 29 Sept. 2019, www.ancient.eu/article/892/ghosts-in-ancient-china/.

Hey, my name is Lindsay

Hello everyone! I am a freshman at SUNY Cortland and am studying Speech and Hearing Sciences. I am from a little town named Darien (if you’ve ever been to a Darien Lake concert, I live two seconds down the road). I am the youngest in my family, unless you count my little chocolate lab. I love the outdoors and dill pickles!