Literature review
Darznik, J. (2014). Persian, English. In L. G. Kirszner & S.R. Mandell (Eds.), The
Blair reader (pp. 140-143). New York, NY: Pearson.
The author made a contrast between English and Persian in this essay. In the
author’s hometown, a Persian speaking country, women can never talk about politics,
literature, or something else that is considered men’s talk, though she is good at it.
Women’s words are always about fancy attire, and gossip, the daily things without
deep thoughts. However, the life in America satisfies her because she can talk about
whatever she likes, without considering the gender. Language is a reflection of culture.
In Persian, women and men use different vocabulary, while in English, they use the
same. It shows serious sexism in Persian, and it is very difficult to break the rule. But
English doesn’t have this kind of sexism. Therefore, the author hates Persian and tries
to give up it. Persian still has an effect on her learning English. She finds it difficult to
use accurate words. By all means, she gains English, giving up Persian.
Tan, A. (2014). Mother tongue. In L. G. Kirszner & S.R. Mandell (Eds.), The Blair
reader (pp. 134-139). New York, NY: Pearson.
The author discussed the language situation of an immigrant family. She gains
Standard English, but her mother speaks broken and limited English, which makes her
ashamed and embarrassed when others cannot understand her mother’s words. She
tried to correct her mother, but in vain. However, she accepts it later. She finds it
normal and acceptable to speak incorrectly because of the different cultural
background, just like a young child gaining his or her first language. The change also
affects her principle of writing. She tries to adapt to the limited English because not
all people’s English is perfect. She just wants her writing to be easy so that everyone
can understand her words, even those who speak broken and limited English like her
Wong, E. (2014). The struggle to be an all-American girl. In L. G. Kirszner & S.R.
Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 302-304). New York, NY: Pearson.
The author, a Chinese American, discussed her experience of learning Chinese as a
second language. She went to the Chinese school after class, learning Chinese and
Chinese writing with a “moc but” and ink. She felt it very difficult to learn Chinese
because her cultural background is American. Her brother was even more fanatical
and could not stand any grammatical mistake of his mother’s words and blames her
for setting a bad example. She is born in America, brought up in America, educated in
America. She preferred American culture to Chinese culture. She considers her
identity as an all-American. However her family has a Chinese background, and
wants her to learn Chinese culture, so she feels it very struggling. She wants to be an
all-American and she is already an all-American in all aspects. Different
identifications from herself and her family make her confused and frightened. This is
a contradiction between who she is and who her family wants her to be.
Nilsen, A. P. (2014) Sexism in English: embodiment and language. In L. G. Kirszner
& S.R. Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 148-159). New York, NY:Pearson.
The author believe that the sexism in language origin from people’s thoughts at
every times. And the disappearing of old language is much slower than the appearing
of new language. It would be creditable to research thoughts of people at a certain
time by researching the language. She discussed sexism in English by reading a
dictionary and dividing words into two kinds. One describe women and the other
describe men. She found three main differences. Women are sexy, and men are
successful. It means that women are always evaluated by their appearance, while men
are always evaluated by their accomplishments. Women are passive, and man are
active. It means that women becomes men’s accessory in some ways. Women are
connected with negative connotations and men are connected with positive
connotations. According the author’s research, the words used for or on women with
negative connotations are much more than men. She hope that the sexist thoughts can
be reduced in the future, the sexism in English as well.
Tannen, D. (2014) Marked women. In L. G. Kirszner & S.R. Mandell (Eds.), The
Blair reader (pp. 148-159). New York, NY:Pearson.
The author discussed the topic that women are always marked while men are hardly
marked. She gave a personal experience in a working conference of for women and
eight men at the beginning. She naturally described the women’s appearance and
thought about their personality, but she didn’t describe about men. This experience
showed that women are always marked by their appearance, and the whole society are
used to this situation. Women’s appearance, including hair, clothing and makeup, all
carried meanings, while men’s appearance was just appearance. There is a kind of
appearance of men can be called standard, but women not. The author also discuss the
mark in linguistic aspect. “Female” is “male” and a mark “fe”. Woman is “man” and a
mark “wo”. “Mr.” of men only shows he is a male, while “Mrs.” and “Miss” shows
whether she is married. And “Mrs. XX” even marks her with her husband’s family
name. That women were marked origins in the thought of the society when the
language appeared. But biologically, women are not marked. On the contrary, men are
marked. The author wants to remove the mark on women. She hopes that, one day,
women can get up and get dressed without considering it would be interpreted into
some meaning.
Funt, P. (2014). So much media, so little news. In L. G. Kirszner & S.R. Mandell.
(Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 197-199). New York, NY: Pearson.
The author discussed the situation that there is more and more media, but people
receive less useful and valuable news. Not long before, only daily newspaper
provided news. People just turn to the sports section or comics, which are the sections
they like, and skip the news. Nowadays, with the development of science and
technology, people get news on television or the internet. However, the news
providers put all kinds of information, and advertisements in their media for money or
for popularity. They always try to satisfy readers taste, but forget their responsibility
to provide valuable news. Media can be a guide for the society and the light for
people. They give too much confusing information so that people cannot find the
direction. The author tried to awaken people from the force-feed news.
Humphry, J. (2014). I h8 txt msgs: how texting is wrecking our language. In L. G.
Kirszner & S.R. Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 174-177). New York, NY:
The author discussed the change in language which is affected by text language. At
first, the author talked about hyphen. He does not like it but he can still accept it
because it does not cause deep trouble. However, he hates the text language. He
admitted that everyone texts, and uses text language. The purpose is to save time at
first. The text language that everyone uses is acceptable because everyone can
understand it. However, since more and more text language appears, it takes even
more time to translate the text language. So what is its significance now? Also, text
language ruins people's spelling. People cannot spell even very easy words since they
are used to the text language that they use every day.
Brooks, M. (2014) The movie that rose from the grave. In L. G. Kirszner & S.R.
Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 211-214). New York, NY:Pearson.
The author discussed the zombie movies that became popular these years. The
author introduce the history of zombie movies in the first half of the essay. Zombie
movie origin from the culture of myth. The purpose of zombie movies was to make
people feel afraid and excited. The zombie movies now became more vivid because
zombies seem to have their feeling in some ways. The zombie movies became very
popular, because a lot of people like experiencing the exciting movie. Also, it is
because people believe they can easily escape from the horror if they turn off the
television. The author believes that the popularity of zombie movie will disappear
soon and surely it will become popular again someday in the future. The movies are
always based on the people’s interests.
Rushdie, S. (2014) Reality TV: a dearth of talent and the death of morality. In L. G.
Kirszner& S.R. Mandell (Eds.), The Blair reader (pp. 199-201). New York,
The author discussed the reality TV which was popular now. Many people became
famous by going to reality TV, but no one cared about them unless they went on to the
main evening news. Reputation and wealth were two main purposes for most people
in contemporary society. It was even “good” to be devious and exhibitionistic if it
brought reputation and wealth. The author was actually discussing the value in society,
which became corrupted these years.
This literature review focus on the topic what affects people better, cultural identity
or social interest.
Thesis argument:
Culture identity plays the most important role in people’s thought and life. The first
five pieces focus on cultural identity. These pieces all show that the cultural
background, the language, the social identity have a long-term effect on people. Those
non-native Americans and those struggle against sexism take all efforts to work
against the effect, but it still exists. However, the social interest has only a short-term
effect on people. All the Medias and films can only influence people in a short time.
Such as Brooks said in The Movie that Rose from the Grave, it will disappear in some
year, and some year later, it must appear again. People may be crazy about something
like media and movies, but the enthusiasm will disappear soon.
Cultural identity has a long-term effect on people, while social interest has a
short-term effect.