Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jefferson's Thoughts on Monkey Bridge

I feel it's important that I add a disclaimer to my explanation. Brush work has always been challenging so in attempting to create this response the actualized form of my concept is lacking. I attempted to creat an asian inspired brush painting. That was supposed to depict the Great Smokey Mountain Range that would be near where the characters of Monkey Bridge live. The reason that I wanted to depict this range because it seems that Mai's mother has been living a life in exile. So my concept was to depict the familiar in an alien fashion. To me the novel is about dealing with what is unfamiliar for Mai and Thanh. Because of Mai's young age when she left Vietnam, her Vietnamese heritage becomes troubling for her. For Thanh the new world with its different ways causes her a great deal of stress. The motivating factor and what drives the plot forward is that the two main characters attempt to rectify the alienation that they feel. In the sketch I link the house like structure to the mountains by way of a murky pathway. That pathway is representative of the pains that Mai and Thanh go through in order to connect to one another.


  1. To Jeff's Blog Post: I really like the depiction of Vietnam being made here. The fact that it's geographically significant and similar to the descriptions made about the monkey bridge makes it all the more significant in meaning and representation, I think. The overall mood of the painting being set seems to also mirror the haze in which both attempt to come to terms with their pasts. Even the lighter streaks in the painting surrounding the mountains suggests hope and insight in the possibilities of their connection.

  2. I do see the alienation of exile as a significant factor for both Mai and Thanh, but I'm not sure it's the underlying force that drives the book. Rather, exile and alienation seem more like a secondary result of the bad karma incurred by Baba Quan and his wife. Thanh suffers from exile and alienation from her surroundings, but I think she is primarily driven by a desire to somehow cut herself off from her terrible family history.

  3. This is a beautiful painting! The peacefulness of it really seems to capture the landscape of Vietnam. Your analysis of it is also very strong. The isolated house only linked by a murky path is a good representation of the distance between Mai and Thanh. However, I don’t know if Thanh is really frustrated with the American culture as much as she is frustrated with the lack of connection she has with her daughter and the fact that Mai does not have the same connection and appreciation of the Vietnamese culture as she does.


  4. Your drawing is excellent, I think you captured the murky element very well. It makes sense that you depicted it in such a way, there certainly was a lot of misleading information that Mai had to go through on her path to the truth that her mother had laid out for her. Certainly, that can be another way of seeing their murky journey together.