Throughout the course we have touched on many topics that are within many famous works such as The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Lisa Bu’s Ted Talk demonstrates a relation to our course through dreams as dreams are a main theme throughout The Great Gatsby. She also shows a relation to the grade twelve English course through the feminist lens as well as through her family issues which relate to Hamlet.
At the beginning of Lisa Bu’s Ted Talk she continuously mentions Dreams. She discusses how she had a dream of becoming a Chinese opera singer and went out of her way to try and get into Opera School “But my dream was to become a Chinese opera singer. I tried everything I could to go to opera school. I even wrote to the school principal and the host of a radio show. But no adults liked the idea” (Bu). However, because of the lack of hope and belief from the adults in her life, her dream ended up being corrupted and she decided to turn to books. This relates to The Great Gatsby as Jay Gatsby, the main character, had a dream of marrying Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby had a dream they would reconnect after his deployment in war so he did everything he could to make sure it could happen. Gatsby bought a mansion across the water from Daisy, threw parties every weekend all in hopes of her arrival “‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.’ I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night’”. By the end of the novel Gatsby’s dream of marrying Daisy did not come true, however, he seemed happy of the outcome as did Lisa Bu “I have come to believe that coming true is not the only purpose of a dream”.
Along with this is the topic of Feminism. One instance where Lisa’s life was controlled by gender stereotypes is the sport she participated in. Bu explains that the only sport she competed in was gymnastics, however, according to a statistic by the USA Gymnastics Association 46 individuals out of 60 were girls. This indicates that over 76% of the children in a gymnastics class were girls arguing that Gymnastics is considered more of a girls sport than boys. Bu was offered a fully paid spot at a gymnastics school “The government wanted to transfer me to a school for athletes, all expenses paid” (Bu). However, at the time girls did not get paid for participating in sports so Bu’s mother did not allow her to go, “but my tiger mother said, ‘No.’ My parents wanted me to become an engineer like them. After surviving the Cultural Revolution, they firmly believed there’s only one sure way to happiness: a safe and well-paid job” (Bu). This quote also demonstrates how girls were degraded in Lisa’s time era as Bu was going to be forced to participate in a job she does not enjoy instead of something that she does enjoy. The gender stereotypes that were present in Lisa Bu’s life relate to our course as we studied critical approach literary lenses including the feminist lens. Also, The Great Gatsby, The Matrix film, and a few of the ISU novels include feminism as one of the main issues throughout the novels and films.
Finally, Lisa Bu’s Ted Talk demonstrates a relation to Hamlet through family issues. Lisa Bu’s parents did not believe in her dream of becoming an opera singer and they wanted her to become an engineer so that she was guaranteed happiness through money. Bu did not like that idea and she did not like the fact that her parents were not supportive of her dreams so she turned to books for parental advice “I satisfied my hunger for parental advice from this book by a family of writers and musicians” (Bu). Lisa also mentions that she was lacking a womanly role model in her life as she states “I found my role model of an independent woman when Confucian tradition requires obedience. This is similar to Hamlet as he is not happy with the decisions that his mother has made after her husband’s death “By what it fed on, and yet, within a month – Let me not think on ’t. Frailty, thy name is woman – O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason Would have mourned longer! She married. But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue”. This quote demonstrates Hamlet’s hatred towards his mothers decision has she did not wait long enough after her husband’s death to marry another man. Hamlet also states that he has to hold his tongue meaning he cannot tell his feelings and problems to his mother also showing a lack of trust in his mother.
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