Strong Women: vivant toujours

Haiti’s Rape Survivors

I had a chance to read an article and a short film in IRIN about the rape survivors in Haiti. Although it has been nearly 2 years since the earthquake occurred in Haiti, the living environment for many Haitian people is in severe condition. The makeshift camps are vulnerable for sexual violence. In the film, it showed that each living unit is made up of  thin boards or synthetic fabrics supported by wooden framework. The doors of the living unit and the tents inside are also not secure. “Anyone with a razor or knife can cut the tent and come inside…and before you know it someone is there in your tent.”(Shirley)

Shirley Christoff, one of the rape survivors, talks about her experience of sexual violence that happened in her tent. She had to recover from physical damage such as a month-long hemorrhage, and her psychological hardships. As quoted in the article, “after you have been raped, you have nowhere to go, you have to return to the camp and face the person who raped you.” In other words, the victims and the attacker have to live in the same community.

Some victims even died from the sexual violence. Fortunately, Shirley was able to survive not only from the moment of the violence but also from painful memories that prevented her from moving on living and fighting for a better life. A gender issue organization KOFAVIV is playing a large role in cases like Shirley. This organization is an “organization established by and for rape survivors from the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince.”(Madre) The survivors talk about the ongoing cases of sexual violence or food-for-sex related sex trade; then, they provide the victims help from doctors/psychologists and survivors to cope through and regain the physical and psychological strength to focus on living a better and safer life.

I was very excited to read the survival stories and about the organizations that are passionate to help through such hardships. It is my passion as well, and hopefully what I will be putting my profession in…somehow. Continuing to visit the websites and share what I saw and read is one little step that I can take for now : )

Here are some useful links:
MADRE, to advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. (
IRIN, humanitarian news and analysis, a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (


A bit of a headache

My little doodle from year 2009.

It just makes me wonder into which road I should continue my passion.

I tried to  decide throughout my recent years.
but…I just can’t seem to get a clear determination,
although I was supposed to already start on preparing for a certain career goal.

Subscribed! Decor8♡


This is the very first blog that I have subscribed outside my English class 🙂

I have always been a big fan of buildings, homes, and interior designs. And, as I am planning to move into a new apartment, I am very very excited to get some decorating advice from this blog!

Interested in decorating your home, too?
Go and check it out by clicking the title below the screenshot 🙂

情: the Beauty of the Korean Streets

Gamchundong Culture Villange

This is a little village in a city that I live in back in Korea. I was looking through other people’s blogs and ran into a blog about a place that I wanted to visit when I go back home after college. The style of the place was so familiar and reminiscent.

Small concrete houses are all stacked closely together, up and up a mountain. I remember that roads in such a place is so narrow and steep that only very small cars and minivans can barely get up there. Riding a bicycle, either up or down, is something you wouldn’t want to try over there. When you look up while you walk these narrow roads, you will see webs of wires, crossing here and there that it is hard to see a just the blue sky with spots of white clouds. Stairways going up to your home would also be so narrow that you are bound to know your neighbors’ faces very, very well.

Many places, especially large cities, don’t have these “mountain villages” anymore. These villages were traces of our hard livings during Korean War when many people were poor and desperate to escape the dangers of the war. They are the homes to seek comfort from families and neighbors despite the sounds of bombs, and despite the great famine that they had to cope through each day. Neighbors took care of each other like their family, their own sons and daughters, their own grandparents, their own aunts and uncles. The villages were the core of what Koreans call as “정(情, jung)“. 情 as our cultural essence is the kind of care and closeness you have like a family to people around you, whether you have known them for long or not. 情 is the origin for the Korean expression of “our”. It is always natural to say “our country”, “our family” or “our mother”  to whoever you are with; it will be very awkward to express a community or a family member as your own possession, like “my country”, “my family”, or “my mother”.  Not only the language, but the living style took that ambiance of “us”.

Like many of the mountain villages are gradually disappearing, the sense of 情 seems to fade away from our minds. Much of the hearts, even mine, have replaced it with competition, keeping each other in check rather than with care.

Fortunately, many artist communities are rebuilding the abandoned mountain places into art galleries and cafés. The walls of the old and falling villas are repainted with beautiful murals. Even the webbed electricity lines look as if they are part of the masterpiece. On the sides the narrow roads, the cute fish panels and arrows on the walls welcome visitors to experience the warmth and friendliness that have resided there since the Korean War. The culture promoting organizations also produced tourist pamphlets that include the map of the place. Like Gamchundong Village, the mountain villages are changing into a peaceful community that embodies the beauty once again.

As we move on from the hardships of war and poverty into the modern society of economic prosperity, the places of such memories and culture needs to be preserved and handed down with the past and the present form of the Korean beauty.

Images from Majeong’s blog:

A Memoir

School life is somewhat exhausting as the semester comes to an end, and as your college life is also coming to and end. I look back at my past three years at Tech. I have dreamt the same dream. I have grown so much out from my weaknesses and the subsequent hardships that rised each semester. When I look back, though, I can smile and escape from the exhaustion I felt from the busy days that passed so fast.

Thank you.
is the expression I can only say when I dwell in my past college experience and my expectations on the remaining year at Tech. And,

is the word that I still hold on to. It is the word, the spirit that makes my life so


The gratitude, the dreams, the reality. For the past two years, I have recorded them in my small blue notebook. It is my diary that I carry around everyday, everywhere. I draw and write my thoughts, my feelings, my ideas, or whatever that happened during the day. As this year is closing, I am also near the end the notebook. So, I looked back at what I recorded and started to plan out how I am going to use my new notebook that I will carry around in year 2012, my last year at Tech, and maybe my last in the US.

I noticed that I loved to visualize what I wrote by decorating the word based on its meaning. When I wrote the “entrust” (in Korean), I would decorate the surrounding with a simple sketch of a hand. These simple summaries brought back the emotions and the thoughts I had at the very moment I wrote and sketched them.

I hope to continue developing my style of keeping a memoir.
For the next notebook, I hope to really understand how words and images can merge together to fully express my inner self.

Now, No More Fear in Writing!


Describing My Poster

The Fate of Victorian Orphans

As a visual presentation of my research assignment, I created a poster that displays how major resources from my research process interrelate to support the cause and effect of the orphanage-lead orphan emigration schemes of the Victorian era. By using both primary sources and academic/literary journals on colonialism and orphanage systems, I wanted to demonstrate that Victorian philanthropic system for orphans had taken action on the social perspective on colonial expansion, British Industrial Revolution, and overpopulation of destitute children.

The aesthetic layout is in blue-and-gold theme with some red variations in order to give coherency and richness to the poster due to the academic/analytical context of the project. Two images of migrated child workers and a Victorian ship was added in the background to visually indicate the research topic. I have added my resources in two major sections: the social perception of orphans(left), and the role of orphanages in the emigration scheme(right). These two subtopics are arrowed back to the center image of a Victorian map that shows the colonized regions in the end of the 19th century to incorporate the overall project topic. Website source image on British migration timeline includes screenshots of both the main page and the link to the primary source; this display method reflects the research process for web processes. I have also circled and used arrows to indicate specifically which written artifacts and images I would like to use in my research project.

Group Blog Post

Summary – Bradley Oesch

Fifty two year old Clarissa Dalloway sets out on an early June morning in Westminster, England to buy flowers for the party she is to put on that night. She runs into an old childhood friend Hugh Whitbread. They talk briefly about his wife Evelyn’s sickness, and he mentions that he will, of course, be attending her party that night. Clarissa can’t help but feel self-conscious about her hat when next to the proper and manly Hugh.

After they part Clarissa thinks about Peter Walsh, an old friend who had asked her to marry him, but she had rejected. She thinks about how poorly he treated her dreams and aspirations, then reflects on how her life might be different had she accepted his proposal for marriage or if she could live her life over again. In any case, she feels that her one true gift is her innate ability to know people.

She reflects on her role in the family, worrying that people view her simply as her husband’s wife, and not her own person.  Her daughter Elizabeth does not care for the same things Clarissa does, she prefers to play with the dog and learn from her teacher Miss Kilman, whom Clarissa greatly dislikes.

While Clarissa is in the flower shop, a car backfires and onlookers wonder if the passenger is someone important such as the queen or prime minister. World War I vet Septimus Warren Smith hears the backfire and lapses into the frightening images of the war. He believes he caused the traffic and begins to lose some of his connection to reality. He and his wife Rezia go to Regent’s Park and he shows signs of paranoia and fear, claiming things such as that his dead friend is outside of the park and the world might burst into flames. He sees a plane writing letters in the sky and believes someone is trying to communicate with him. Although his wife briefly gets up to separate herself from her crazy husband, feelings of loyalty and devotion overwhelm her and she returns to his side, despite his broken mental capacity.

Clarissa returns home upset that her husband Richard has been invited to lunch at Lady Bruton’s house without her, but relishes the moment alone in the house. She reflects on her friend Sally Seton, wondering if she loves Sally more than she does Richard. Sally was a rebellious girl who had great influence on Clarissa. The best moment of Clarissa’s life was when she and Sally kissed, but the moment was interrupted by Peter. She seems to have conflicting emotions toward Peter, but ultimately respects him and wants him to respect her as well.

Unexpectedly, Peter shows up at Clarissa’s house; he is back in town to file a divorce for his Indian fiancée (who is already married to an Indian Major in the Army). He confesses to Clarissa that he believes the Dalloways view him as a failure. Clarissa wavers multiple times in her view of Peter, wondering one minute why she ever rejected him, and thanking Heaven the next that she refused his proposal. Peter breaks down and begins crying under the weight of all the emotion of being back in town and with her, and Clarissa takes his hands and kisses him. He stands up and moves away, then begins to ask if she is happy with Richard, but is interrupted by Elizabeth entering the room. Peter says hello to Elizabeth then bids farewell without looking at Clarissa. He leaves with Clarissa calling after him to remember to come to her party.

Peter leaves her house filled with conflicting emotions. He criticizes her conformity to the standard middle-aged life then worries that he had upset her with his abrupt visit and weeping confession. He feels thrilled that he has found a new love in India, yet still feels heartbreak at Clarissa’s rejection of him so many years prior. Much like Clarissa earlier, he reflects on death and mortality and becomes upset at the thought of aging and dying.


Picturesque Writing Style -Matthew Alin

Virginia Woolf picturesque writing style helps to develop a sense of nonchalance and warmth into the story of Clarissa Dalloway’s day.  Woolf focuses details and narration on recreating characters’ observations through imagery and vivid descriptions.  This focus is an omniscient one that is a mix of direct and indirect thoughts to gain a worldly perspective about the events leading up to the party Mrs. Dalloway is preparing. The introduction of the story places readers in the midst of a dreamlike state as Mrs. Dalloway is nostalgically reminiscing about her more or less romantic past with Peter Walsh.  From these brief and calm thoughts the narration transitions into reality as we find Mrs. Dalloway buying flowers for her party.  Woolf’s picturesque style serves as a medium between the nonchalance of English society and the complex issues that are revealed between characters. It allows readers to perceive the problems that the upper class have despite their position in society while allowing readers to enjoy a glimpse into the calm nature of the setting.  The gradual emotional distancing between Septimus and his wife, Rezia, cannot be ignored as the narrator keeps shifting back to this couple.  Rezia complains on page 16 of the Septimus’s lack of interest in sex and Septimus is portrayed as very apathetic.  Rezia mentions how Septimus’s arm belonged to her and he doesn’t reject to this attitude simply because he doesn’t care about his own well-being but is doing things mindlessly.  Despite the fact that they are out in public and in the midst of the upper class these two are self-absorbed in their own world.  As this ongoing struggle occurs the rest of the society around them tends to be also self-absorbed into the useless and unimportant events.  On page 20 and 27 the aeroplane amazes and confuses the people as they attempt to make out what its smoke trail is spelling out.  The ability of such a simple object in the sky to distract so many people is one factor that helps create this picturesque characteristic of the novel.  The people are so carefree and calm that they are easily distracted by the most plain and simple things. It is almost as if they are all in a dreamlike state.  The scene with the car that backs into the flower shop further displays the picturesque quality established by the novel as it is another example of an element that brings many people to bewilderment and confusion.  The feeling of shifting between different characters’ thoughts and different events such as the aeroplane and the car create an interesting and charming mood in the novel.  This semi dreamlike and picturesque style isn’t one that resembles what readers are supposed to be feeling but rather reflects the state of being of the characters.  For example on page 27 Mrs. Bletchley murmurs as if she were a sleepwalker upon seeing the aeroplane.  The multitude of events going on in the first third of the novel represent the idea that Woolf is painting different parts of a picture to finally create one grand mosaic.  This is an idea that allows the readers to perceive the events and characters with a sense of warmth and serenity.

Discussion Question:
Why do you think the author incorporates this picturesque style or do you see someone style that stands out more?

Character Relationships – Matthew Alin

Interestingly the novel does more than simply focus on creating mini stories that elaborate on details and vivid imagery.  Rather Woolf incorporates complex character personalities and gives the characters complex interactions that display a deeper meaning which reveals a not so perfect society.  By creating parallels between the characters one can better understand this deeper meaning.  First one could ask what is the importance of the inclusion of the character of Septimus?  Or more specifically why is Septimus plagued with shell shock and thoughts of suicide? Septimus is an odd part of the novel in which there is a party that is about to occur and the characters are busy socializing and enjoying life.  The answer to this question can be discovered as the novel reveals more about Clarissa Dalloway.  It can be observed quite quickly that Mrs. Dalloway is full of herself yet aware of her position in society as a mother and wife.  She states on page 10 that she if fully aware that she is Mrs. Richard Dalloway and that is how her friends and others see her.  Yet Mrs. Dalloway’s wandering mind displays her unique feminism.  It is a subtle display of her belief in her own self-expression and the ability to live life fully as her natural right. The idea of setting up the party if her own and clearly symbolizes her need for self-expression.  She makes the statement that she wants to “affect other’s opinions.” She cares about how others perceive her rather than how she is perceived by her husband.  Her selfish desires and her judgmental outlook upon others which is evident from her display of confidence in her ability to know people by instinct display her repressed feminism.  In a way she lives two lives.  One in which she is the wife of Richard Dalloway and one in which she fantasizes about her future and reminisces about the past.  The nomenclature employed by Woolf proves this as there is a switch between referring to Mrs. Dalloway as Clarissa, Mrs. Dalloway, and Clarissa Dalloway.  Note the omission of Richard’s name. This is not only in reference to Mrs. Dalloway but throughout the first third of the novel Richard’s activities are kept for the most part out of the narration.  The character of Septimus helps to complete our understanding of Mrs. Dalloway as Septimus parallels to Mrs. Dalloway in many ways.  Both are repressed by the society around them.  Septimus is seen as a mentally ill man who needs to be controlled and Mrs. Dalloway is seen as the wife of Richard Dalloway rather than simply Clarissa Dalloway.  Also both characters have attractions to other characters like Septimus is strongly affected by Evans and Dalloway by Sally.  And most obviously is that fact that both as disconnected from their lovers and the world around them.  Mrs. Dalloway enters dreamlike states where she thinks about sublime topics such as death or God and Septimus has fictional visions of war due to shell shock.  Just as Mrs. Dalloway finds her husband to be disconnected due to his political work Septimus finds himself disconnected from his wife Rezia.

Discussion Question:
What reason do you think Septimus is included in the novel? Is it a possible display of lack of happiness despite being upper class?

Perception in Terms of Characterization (Self-Perception vs Perception of Others) — Abishek Mukund

<Literary Terms>
–  Characterization: the way the author presents the character
–  Indirect Characterization: character traits revealed by dialogue and action of characters
–  Direct Characterization: character traits revealed by the author or narrator

A major theme in the novel, Mrs. Dalloway, is the idea of perception. Characters are constantly making judgments on other characters. In addition, the narration and self-reflective statements make perceptions on the character itself. When the narrator gives insight on the character, it is called direct characterization. When other characters or the characters themselves have actions, words or comments that contribute to characterization, this is called indirect characterization. As the book constantly switches views and from narrator to characters, we are able to see how characters see themselves while defining the characteristics of others. During the scene when Peter is at Regent Park, the narrator states that Peter had cried and was saddened by the thoughts of his past with Clarissa. From this, we as readers gain sympathy for Peter and this further characterizes Peter as innocent and deprived from happiness. In addition, we are left to believe Peter is still a bit unhappy on the fact that he has found love with another women in India. However, right before Peter leaves Clarissa’s home, he states to her that she is “the perfect hostess.” From this indirect characterization, we can see that Peter is infact aggressive and cunning with his remark. Peter intended to inflict some emotional distress upon Clarissa. While the narrator characterizes him as miserable and disheartened, Peter’s actions characterize him as somewhat of an antagonist.  These conflicting characteristics support the idea that perception is based on subjective reasoning. Furthermore, we are able to get these alternative descriptions as the stream of consciousness writing switches from character to character to even narrator.

Septimus is a character of conflicting characterization. From the narration and Septimus’s own words and thoughts, we are left to believe he is essentially delusional and crazy. Septimus makes various references to a dead friend, proclaiming he saw his friend when Peter arrived. When Septimus and Rezi go to Sir Williams to diagnose Septimus, Sir William characterizes Septimus as “normal,” suggesting that he relax by going to listen to some music and eat a good meal. However, Rezi goes on to question the practice of Sir Williams and furthermore, goes on to characterize Septimus as derange and irregular. While the narrator, through direct characterization, places Septimus is a place of abnormality, characters like Sir Williams try to redefine Septimus position in the novel. These conflicting perceptions and characterization keep the reader in a changing state: the stream of consciousness.

The characterization of Clarissa is always conflicting. Clarissa herself reflects upon the fact that she has taken a conservative life. She feels that she has lost her independence, in that her husband essentially defines her. This also brings meaning in the title as, “Mrs. Dalloway” as Clarissa is defined by her husband’s last name. While Clarissa tries to define herself through importance by organizing the get together, Peter comes to throw her back done when he calls her the “perfect hostess,” thus placing her back into a position subordinate to that of her husband. Understanding Clarissa’s position as the wife of her husband or an independent woman is constantly described by both the narrator and within the thoughts of Clarissa. I found this characterization conflict particularly interesting, as it was a constant struggle of the mind through the stream of consciousness. As the narrator contributes to the direct characterization of Clarissa, Clarissa herself makes judgments on her character through her thoughts. Furthermore, Clarissa tries to present the judgments other characters place on her by herself, making it a secondary level of indirect characterization. She tries to perceive how others see her. In doing so, Clarissa raises the complexity that the stream of consciousness tends to go through. It is even a bit of metacognitive understanding for define the characteristics of Clarissa.

Discussion Questions:
1. How does the stream of consciousness writing style add to the greater understanding of characters?
2. Evaluate how you as an individual make conclusions on someone that seem to contradict?

Punctuations: the Linguistic Element of a Modernistic  Writing — Irene Euisun Pyo

Stream of consciousness is one of most well-known literary significance that this novel embraces. The narrative style  illustrates a loose sequence of the thought process of the characters as they encounter the exterior settings.  Woolf uses specific patterns of the punctuations as its fundamental element in order to”graphically reflect […] the various tonemes or information curves of expressions of surprise, joy, consternation, etc.” (Alacaraz). In other words, the use of punctuation allow the readers to intuitively imagine the tone and emotions of the characters. This sensual and nonconventional style of writing hence shows the modernistic tendency of Woolf as a writer.

In the novel, the sentences are fragmented into short phrases and clauses by punctuations such as commas, dashes, brackets, and semicolons. By varying the length of the phrases and alignmenting many of them in a single sentence, Woolf successfully demonstrate somewhat a quideline for the readers to experience how the thoughts flow. For example, the pace of the character’s flow of thoughts can be determined. In the description of the flowers at Mulberry’s, the narration has a faster pace by having lists of short descriptions linked by commas and semicolons (“There were flowers~the exquisite coolness”). Due to the fast display of the descriptions, the olfactory sensation is immediately delivered to the reader, hence allowing concurrency as the story unfolds.

The pace of the narration based on the fragmentation of the sentence also contributes to the perspective of the main character. Its use of multiple sets of descriptive adjectives and phrases, divided by commas, illustrates how the character analyzes her observation. “Septimus Warren Smith, aged about thirty, pale-faced, beak-nosed, wearing brown shoes and a shabby overcoat, with hazel eyes which had that look of apprehension in them which makes complete strangers apprehensive too.” This layout of short descriptions enhances the characters, merging the reader’s stance with the narrator’s stream of thoughts.

Discussion Questions:
What are other stylistic elements that Woolf use to support the stream of consciousness?
Woolf uses quotation marks irregularly; what are the effects from this writing style?

Source Cited:
Alacaraz, Enrique. An Approach to th,e Language of Mrs. Dalloway. Cauce. 6: 211-224. n.d.

Reflection on Assignment 2

The second assignment on research process was an important exercise to effectively represent the compiled knowledge and ideas into written and visual artifacts. The process of researching can be summarized in three steps: brainstorming(research proposal as its product)→collecting sources(annotated bibliography)→presenting the overview of the research(visual representation).

The brainstorming mainly developed within my research proposal drafts. This writtern work was the first critical artifact produced from the project. When I wrote the first draft of the research proposal, I started with too many subtopics to cover in one clear thesis statement: “The cultural and social role of orphanage in the 19th century in relation to childhood.  A comparison/change to today’s orphanage system.”. Based on my peers and instructor’s advice, I removed the past-current comparison subtopic and narrowed my research on better understanding the historical impact on the British Industrial Revolution by understanding the social perception of orphans and the role of orphanage system in the 19th century. As the writing took shape into a final draft, the proposal became more effective in presenting a clearer direction and significance of my research topic. The relevance and the method of using the collected sources also developed much better after having a concrete draft of the research proposal.

Since understanding the meaning behind the term “orphanage” in the Victorian times was crucial, the first information I looked for was the definition and the social perspective of orphans during the Victorian times. To find these sources, I “googled” generalized keywords such as “Victorian orphans” or “19th century orphans”; the search was quite unsuccessful in finding credible sources (many that I found from the search engine were student report papers or blogs of unrecognized writers). Then, I investigated the scholarly database related to the history, technology and society field (i.e. EBSCO America: History & Life, OCLC History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, ProQuest Sociological Abstracts). From the database, I was able to find a review article about Peters’ “Orphan Text” book, written by Cunningham. After reading the article, I found the book will be an important sourse for my

The Keywords also came in handy when researching. For example, “The Poor Law Amendment”, was a word that was in a blog related to orphanages during the late 19th century. I used this keyword with the addition of the word “orphanage” to make a new search and was able to narrow down my searches. Through consecutive keyword searches, I obtained many sources on orphanage involvement in child emigration while Britain actively fostered the industrialization of its colonized regions around the world. Therefore, I have added more details and changes to my research proposal in order to focus presenting orphan emigration as the key example of the roles of orphanages and destitute-child related philanthropic societies of the Victorian era.

Many sources were also relevant to each other. For example, primary sources like George Cruikshank’s etching work criticized how British citizens negatively perceived the orphans on the street. This was evidence as a cause for the scholarly journals that talked about Victorian orphanages to send children to colonies. However; to find hardcopy sources from local GIL express inventories was a challenge.

For primary sources, I eliminated data that analyzed the orphanage system outside the Victorian era (1837–1901). That way, most of the time-relevant primary sources left on the bibliography list ranged from 1860s to 1900s. Here, I had difficulty finding the original names of the work, their artists, and publication of primary sources in photography and other image formats that I found in the less formal web pages such as blog posts or student works. Thus, I only used the images that were significant in supporting my research and had sufficient information from credible websites (i.e. museum websites), scholarly journals, or hardcopy books. The electronic book viewer websites were used often (i.e Google Books, Android Market eBook). It was my first time attempt using electronic books and electronic previews for research, and this research method was helpful especially since the hardcopies of old or rare texts were not readily available.

growing up so early…


This clip about SOS Child’s Village left me in awe to once again think about how fast the children in such circumstances have to grow up into the desperate reality.

Yes, they need to go through these realities so deeply and so early in their lives.

Although the experiences were inevitable, with no strength to resist the streams of grief filling up their hearts, I wanted to state aloud once more that these children are the treasure, the pearl of many lives in the world. These children are now previledged to have a heart big enough to love and understand without discrimination.

Now, I believe that I hold a responsibility, or rather a grateful opportunity, to help the precious souls to be the blessing that they are made for and hence to witness the bliss I longed for throughout my life.

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