Part one: Autobiographical Essay
Shanghai was the place of my birth and upbringing. It gave me life lessons I intend to keep for the rest of my life. I was born into a family unaware of the privilege wealth bestowed upon man. My parents could not afford the privilege of education, yet with a good education, one was open to vast opportunities. Education as many would suggest is life, and that was the first lesson Shanghai freely offered. Education was important, and I was going to do everything to attain it its full advantages. A fire in me was born, ignited by the missed opportunities my parents experienced. I purposed to be the first person in my family to go to the university.
At eight years old, my father accepted an opportunity to go to America. Maybe the grass was greener on the other side. My siblings and I were left behind under the care of my mother. The absence of my father compounded our problems. Money was scarce. I was appointed the financial manager of the meager funds we had. I had to budget for all our needs for which, money was never enough, and still manage to channel money for my educational needs. My determination led me to a solution, coupons. Coupons enabled me to shop and still manage to save enough for my education.
It got to a point where my mother relied on me for all the financial decisions even buying a house. Buying house was an investment I knew would serve me well in the future. This was an ambitious plan especially because we had no money and no assets that could be used as security. I was intent on owning a house. My mother was a bit skeptical, especially because our circumstances did not offer her much comfort. I had to engage my self into extensive research that would change her mind. I always told her that I would take care of everything and that she did not have to worry.
When I speak of missed opportunities, I mean poverty. It was clear to me from a very early age that we were poor because my parents did not get and education. The fire is my dislike for what was our situation. The day my father left was the saddest day of our lives, but we hoped. We understood that he was going away to make a better life for us. I did not want him leaving us. I understood that the grass on the other side was greener. I longed to leave with him so that I could get a good education. I knew in my heart that education would better our humble circumstances. In truth, I no longer wanted to be humble. He left and I assumed the role of a father, ensuring that we all had enough to eat and even devising new ways to save money, like coupons. Funny enough, my habit for using coupons has never gone away. I still find it hard to make any purchases without them. Helping my mother was more out of sympathy than responsibility. Her partner had just left and all she had were children. I tried my best to compensate his absence.
The thought of our family owning a house drove me to fantasies of a perfect life. The transformation our lives would experience was more than I had ever imagined before. I shared these dreams with my mother and I realized she felt the same. She took her first step to buy a house by borrowing money from my grandfather. She bought a small countryside house. I urged my mother to buy the house in a specific part of the countryside closer to the city. My research into the process revealed the potential this part of the country as a business entity. The city was getting larger and eventually it would expand to where we were. True enough, the government a few years later came and started developing the area. Property value soared and my mother sold the house. The money she got for the sale allowed us to move to America to be with my father. On 21 July 2007, we got to the new land, ready to milk the opportunities it offered.
My experiences in Shanghai disclosed my true passion in life. I learnt how to manage money and invest at a tender age and I understood my interests lay in financial management and investment. When my family got to America, I jumped at the educational opportunities this country offered. I adapted to my new environment, excelled in my studies and went to college. While in college, I instinctively chose Accounting and Economics as my major and I have never looked back since.
Buying a house was a way for me to escape our poor life from where we came. My fantasies were much grander than what we managed to buy. However, it was a stepping-stone to a better life. My family got comfortable but I did not. I was hoping and praying that my research was right and that it would not take too long. If it did, then I would miss my opportunity. That meant remaining the poor people we always were. This had to work so that I could go to America. It might have been selfish of me not to be content, but I do not think I would ever be content with our circumstances at that time. If I had better circumstances maybe I would have been someone else. My career choice sometimes feels like it was thrust upon me. I had been doing it for so long. It felt like it was all I could do
Getting to America was our ultimate goal. The challenges in the new country were numerous. Adapting to a different cultural setting was difficult, especially with our minimal exposure to the language. These challenges strengthened my will to achieve my dream to join a university. I salute my parents for the sacrifices made in seeking a better life for my siblings and me. I especially extend my deepest gratitude to my mother. Her hard hands and frail demeanor is a reminder of the life we had and the far we have come. She gives me the strength and will to continue striving for the best in life. I will not disappoint.
Part 2: Critical Analysis
The writer is a determined young woman who has been inspired by her own experiences and those of the parents to achieve a better life than what the parents had. Her family lives in poverty, and she is determined to change her circumstances. The one thing that comes out clearly is her need for education. She believes that her parents’ lack of education is the cause for their poverty. Looking at modern trends in the world today, people who have received a proper education stand a better chance in leading better lives (Smart, 5). This is something the writer discovered at a young age. The departure of her father to America triggers her quest to follow him. She believes that America is the land where all her dreams will come true.
Stylistic independence is an artist’s guide to true works of art (Roberts, 122). The writer tells the story in a rather intriguing fashion. She has two parts to her story. One the one hand, she narrates her story on a general platform, restricting the reader to her general feelings and on the other hand she discloses her true feelings about the events in the story in text with smaller font. The writer has availed two small fonts in text explanations about what the contents in the main story truly mean. This part of the story, gives us an insight into what the writer truly felt about the events and how some decisions were influenced by her true thoughts.
In the first part, she talks about her life and the circumstances she was born. She says that she would not have liked to miss the opportunities her parents missed. From the face value of her statement, she seems quite clear and without hidden meaning. However, the missed opportunities she believes are the undertones of poverty. The writer therefore decides to ensure that she does not miss her chance for education and fall into the trap of poverty. In her small font text, she also mentions a fire. The fire refers to her hating her poor situation. This dislike is her motivation to become better than her parents are. This fire influences her decision to go to the university. This fire also helps her succeed in attaining her dreams in the land of opportunity later in her life. She also reveals that as much as she did not like the father leaving, the writer hints at the fact that she saw it as an opportunity for her to one day go to America and pursue her dreams. It is also clear that her passion for finance and investments were occasioned by the sympathy she felt for her mother. In the second instance of the in text explanations, the writer reveals that her passion might have been thrust upon her by her circumstances.
Another important aspect evident from the text is the overall tone. Tone can be recognized from the choice of words (Nova, 82). From the onset, we encounter a determined tone but in the small font in texts, the writer uses a different tone. The writer uses a hopeful softer tone. The writer’s determination arises from her need to overcome the challenges of poverty. This determination revolves around acquiring an education that would be her salvation. The hopeful tone on the other hand arises from her belief in attaining a better life in than what they experienced. The hopeful side shows a vulnerable side of the writer the main story does not indicate. For example, the writer feels sympathy for the mother after her father leaves for America. The writer experiences joy when her family finally gets to America. The writers determined tone at this point has been coupled with a thankful tone. The writer is grateful to the sacrifices the parents made to ensure that the writer leads a good life. It is important to recognize the different tone in the in small font in text explanations.
The structure has been effective in giving us two points of view of the writer. Looking at her story and her small font inputs, it is evident that writer tries to hide what they feel but even when trying to hide these feelings, they will always be there. An artist tries to hide their true intentions but their works tell it all (Rose, 253). Without the small font in texts, it is up to the analyst to try to decipher the true intentions of the wording used in a text. However, this structure does not allow an analyst to speculate, all the hidden innuendos are availed for the analyst’s scrutiny.
Pivarnik-Nova, Denise. Kaplan Ap English Literature and Composition 2009. New York: Kaplan, 2009. Print.
Roberts, Michael J. The Jeweled Style: Poetry and Poetics in Late Antiquity. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010. Print.
Rose, Wendy. Aboriginal Tattooing in California. Berkeley, CA: California Indian Library Collections Project [distributor, 1989. Print.
Smart, John C. Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. S.l.: Springer, 2009. Internet resource.