Sunday, June 6, 2010

the significance of a rice kernel

This scene is intended to portray the rice fields of Saigon. The rice fields symbolize so many things in the text-both good and bad. I separated the sky into two colors in order to illustrate this aspect. For instance, the "golden" sky is meant to reflect the "current of grace that runs through [the fields] (like golden light)" pictured on page 172 in Cao's text. However, as seen, the light in my drawing does "evolve" into darkness (the black color) as a means of representing the turmoil of war and even exile. The color red in the water is meant to represent the blood that was spilled in the war (among the luscious greens of the fields-emphasizing the contrasting memories that Lan Cao's family has of this specific terrain). I was really fascinated by the passage on pg. 172- especially when the mother says "She (i.e. Mai) has never known how it farmed, how it is loved, how a bowl of rice is also a bowl of sweat, a farmer's sweat, a mother's sweat." This really puts things into perspective- never take anything for granted-because someone, somewhere, sacrificed in order for us to have it.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't really think that much about this aspect of the novel, but it makes so much sense when I think about the rice fields as the soul of Vietnam. Thanh recognizes how the rice fields connect others sacrifices to herself, just like how karma and blood lines inter-connect members of a family or a country. The rice fields also seem to represent the country's main source of sustenance. The rice fields nourish their bodies just as their soul nourishes their being. Since Mai doesn't see the rice fields and all that's connected to them, she also seems to lose her connection to the land.