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1. How would you characterize the author's politics?
2. How might you respond to the work's "call to action?"
How I Got That Name
By Marilyn Chin

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The Individual and the Whole
Posted by: Denise Hill (
Date: November 26, 2004 09:20PM

I would consider her politics as anti-dictatorship and in some ways anti-patriarchal when such are used to create environments of suppression and oppression for individuals capable of creating their own choices and making their own decisions. I find her writing reveals a sense of radicalism in the actions portrayed as well as the negativity toward establishments, both in the sense of government as well as tradition, which stifle individuality.

I find her call to action to be greatly individualized, in that each has to answer the narrator’s charge: “Oh God, where have we gone wrong? We have no inner resources!” She demands a resistance to assimilation that allows stereotypes and racist thought to be correct without those against whom they are charged “correcting” them with right behavior. Instead, allowing themselves to be stereotyped and as such, fly “under the radar” or in the way of “not rocking the boat.” She also attacks the ideals which lead to the erasure of the sense of self, both for the individual as well as for family, and her attack of such is her call to action to denounce these: Marilyn Monroe and Santa Barbara two pop culture icons mentioned in the writing.

In this, it is the individual who must act on behalf of the whole and understand how individual decisions affect the whole through each individual involved.

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