How to Live
In recent times, integration and the increasing rate of immigration into the United States
has created concerns on the uprising identity crisis. The issue of identity has affected many
individuals because it affects how they live and interact in society. The most affected are the
immigrants who struggle with cultural difference especially the children who grow up with
uncertainties and confusion regarding their sense of belonging and place in the society. It has
created the need for individuals to reflect on how to live while embracing the diversity that exists
in contemporary society.
Over the years, individuals have been trying to answer the question “how should live?”
Ken Liu, in the story “Paper Menagerie” gives an insight into how to live in the society by
highlight issues on family relationships, identity, and the experience of being an immigrant. For
this essay, I will utilize the dialogue in the scene where the neighbors who came to welcome
Jack’s family into the new neighborhood converse in the living room;
“He seems like a normal enough man. Why did he do that?”
“Something about the mixing never seems right. The child looks unfinished. Slanty eyes, white
face. A little monster.”
“Do you think he can speak English?”
“The name doesn’t sound very Chinese.”
The dialogue highlights the theme of identity. Liu gives an insight into what many
children born to immigrant parents go through in the United States. The neighbors ask
themselves, “do you think he can speak English?”, because of Jack’s ethnic difference.
Immigrants usually fail to assimilate into the American culture because of the diversity in
cultural beliefs and practices. Jack, who is the narrator is a multiracial child born to a White
father and Chinese mum who immigrated into the United States. Unlike the neighbors, Jacks
don’t want to identify with the mum’s culture and would like to gain acceptance as an American.
According to Umehira, identity is often influenced by race. Therefore, identity remains related to
the cultural background that determines how one lives.
In an attempt to define how to live, contemporary America has made significant advances
to change the perception and discrimination based on race and ethnicity. Jack feels the need to
identify with the American culture despite being multiracial, but the neighbors perceive that “he
looks like a normal man” with different physical characteristics. The society has created
awareness and advocated for the need to integrate despite the cultural differences. The Musical
Hamilton is among the many voices that gives an insight into the issue of identity in America. It
addresses post-racial beliefs and has been acclaimed for its inclusiveness and incorporation of
many African-Americans and Latinos as casts. Therefore, it is significant for individuals to
discover their identity in the midst of the cultural differences in society.
From the dialogue, it is clear that society dictates how individuals live. Jack’s neighbors
say that “something about the mixing never seems right. The child looks unfinished. Slanty eyes,
white face” as their perception of his identity. These discriminative words remain responsible for
the feeling of isolation. Arguably, cultures have default contexts which most people subscribe to,
and this implies that one can’t get out of the societal constructions. The bone of contention
between my story and the narrator is that the narrator wants to get his context amidst the societal
dictatorship while I would rather inherit the default context of the society, accept and live up to
Moreover, individuals need to understand that the identification and acceptance of their
identity determine how they live and interact with others. The narrator’s “name does not sound
Chinese” to signify that the perception of others cannot determine one’s identity. Socrates gives
an insight into this probing question by incorporating the style of scrutinizing individual’s beliefs
known as dialectic. This style encompasses asking and answering probing questions to justify
individual perception of lifestyle and culture. For instance, in the US the ideal life is generalized
in the context of getting a job, get a mortgage, have a family, save money and eventually retire.
For me, an ideal life means accepting my identity and utilizing it to achieve my life goals and
principles. It’s essential to make a personal choice on how to live because this decision builds
confidence and integration in this culturally diverse society.
Overall, the essential point is that no one lives in isolation despite the cultural differences
in society. From experience, the quality of life is primarily dependent on the interactions, and the
universal goal of seeking happiness should not be taken for granted. People should not focus on
their failures to examine their lives but should strive to deal with life’s trials and tribulations to
achieve satisfaction. Therefore, the story teaches me that I should live my life by realizing that
every interaction is an opportunity to make my life and that of other more rewarding.
Telling story like talk to a friend
1. What kind of identity crisis are we having? Are we struggling to find who we are?
What our life’s purpose is? Be clear on what are dealing with. I also thinking
mentioning the founding fathers is confusing.
I think you are trying to address the topic of how one should live their lives
2. Try to make a personal connection to why making a choice can affect one’s life.
In your opinion, you think it’s best to have aspirations to look up to. In this case,
making someone’s life rewarding is what you aspire to do?
3. Make it clear that our goal is not to be lonely with examples from your life. For
instance, a story about a friend would work.
Examples, stories, etc.. would be better to clarify your point
4. Is our goal to make others happy or ourselves happy?
5. Who is she that focuses on material context? It’s hard to understand here. At the end,
you mentioned how you would rather live, try to expand on that by explaining your
I think it would be better to add more details about your personal experiences or
I think you should include more examples from your personal life instead of quoting
others on their opinion on life. However, your points on how we should live are clear.
I think your points and opinions are clear, but it would make the tone less formal and
more casual if you add your own experiences or stories instead of so many
sophisticated historical examples .
I think you have some good points here, but should think of your theme or argument from one of these and then see if you can
build it into a narrative. I think your narrative for Imitation #2 works much better in terms of the assignment and telling a story.
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