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This is it, everyone. The Holocaust romance novel between a Jewish concentration camp prisoner and a Nazi officer that literally no one asked for. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Kate Breslin's For Such a Time.

(Trigger warnings for textual anti-Semitism, romanticization of Nazis, romanticization of the Holocaust, etc.)



In 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide under the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz. Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy. Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp's prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

There is so many things wrong with the book, aside from the fact that it's a romance between a Jewish woman and a friggin' Nazi officer in the Holocaust, but the way Jewish people and religion are portrayed. Kate Breslin is a Christian writer, and her lack of understanding of Judaism shows up throughout the book. Perhaps what's even worse is that this book was actually nominated for a RITA Award back in 2015. The attempts at humanizing a Nazi and trying to portray him as a romantic hero is appalling.

The fact that this is based off of the Book of Esther, a book in the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible. That told the story of a Hebrew woman in Persia who was born as Hadassah but known as Esther, and how she thwarts a genocide of her people by marrying the Persian king Ahasuerus. However, a Christian author tries to write the a retelling of this story, and even has the heroine convert to Christianity, which is a slap in the face to Jewish people everywhere. It's an insult to Jewish women, an insult to the six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust, and an insult to Jewish Holocaust survivors and their relatives. 

Breslin's portrayal of Jewish people and religion is incredibly inaccurate and reflects her own Christian beliefs, which further rubs the salt in the wound. As such, I have decided that I am going to spork this novel, and I will not be alone in this endeavour. Accompanying me will be four members of my crew from Eleanor & Park.

So far, the counts in this novel are as following:

LA BELLE JUIVE: This is French for 'The Beautiful Jewess' (which I must add is a disrespectful term to address a Jewish woman), an archetype most common in 19th-century romantic European literature. She was often portrayed as having long, dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. Her personality could be portrayed either positively or negatively. The negative portrayal is sly, coquettish, and overly sexual. The so-called 'positive' portrayal was noble, pure, loyal, and exhibiting qualities similar to Christian martyrdom. Popular portrayals of this character include Rachel from Jacques Halévy's grand opera La Juive, Rebecca from Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, and Salome, the daughter of Herod II and Herodias.

A MATCH MADE IN THERESIENSTADT: Need I say more? The so-called 'romance' between Hadassah/Stella and Aric happens at the Theresienstadt concentration camp after he 'rescues' her from Dachau, and some can even call this a 'romance' rooted in Stockholm Syndrome. It's basically 'oppressor-falls-in-love-with-oppressed-and-learns-not-to-be-an-oppressor' kind of story.

NOT ALL NAZIS™: Yes, this book is basically trying to make us empathize with Nazis, portray a Nazi commandant as a good guy, and make us forget how the Nazis believed in the Master Race, how they sterilized and killed disabled people (as someone with autism, this seriously angers me), committed the Holocaust of the Jewish people, the Porajmos of the Romani people, raped Jewish women and girls, and experimented on humans, including gay people, Romani, Sinti, ethnic Poles, Soviet POWs, disabled Germans, and Jewish people. And that's only a few of their many crimes. Want to know more? Just look up the Nuremberg trials or 'nazi war crimes'.

YOUR CHRISTIANITY IS SHOWING: As mentioned before, Kate Breslin is Christian, and it shows in her attempts at writing a Jewish character. This ranges from not just major parts about Hadassah/Stella's beliefs, but minor things such as what she finds comforting and the like. Not to mention, conversion to Christianity is what ultimately saves the heroine, which completely disregards the plight that Jewish people went through in World War II.

And this is what I have so far. So, my fellow readers, be afraid. Be very, very afraid. I will see you in the first chapter.

 
missabnormal: (Memoirs)


This is the original short story of Cho-Cho-San, a beautiful, fragile Japanese Geisha, whose trust and fidelity are betrayed by her husband, an American Naval Lieutenant. Stationed in Nagasaki, Lieutenant Pinkerton acquires his wife as casually as his house-- both leased for 99 years, with the option to cancel at any time. After their honeymoon, Pinkerton departs, promising to return. But for three long years, Cho-Cho-San awaits, and when he finally does return, he brings his new American wife-- and finds he has a son by Cho-Cho-San.

The original story that inspired Puccini's Madama Butterfly.



 
 
You probably have heard of Madame Butterfly through Giacomo Puccini's famous opera. However, there's a lot more works that started up the Madame Butterfly story which inspired the opera. First, it came to life as a novel called Madame Chrysanthème by French naval officer/novelist Pierre Loti, a pseudonym of Louis Marie-Julien Viaud, his actual name. Originally published in 1887, this novel was presented as an autobiographical journal of a naval officer who temporarily married a geisha while stationed in Nagasaki, Japan. It was a very successful novel, and was translated into multiple languages, including English.

Then, in 1898, an American writer and lawyer known as John Luther Long, published the short story Madame Butterfly in Century Magazine. This story is based on the recollections of Jennie Correll, Long's sister, who had travelled to Japan with her Methodist missionary husband. It also shares influences from Loti's novel. He's used both the exotic and the classical in the illustrations of the short story, which reflects the blend of both traditional and Japanese styles in the fine arts movement during the turn of the 19th century, as well as the movement of Japonism, or the Western fascination of Japan after the Opening of Japan by Matthew C. Perry in 1854.

This short story inspired American playwright David Belasco to write a one-act play called Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan. The play premiered in March 1900 at the Herald Square Theatre in New York City and quickly became Belasco's most famous work. This work also caught the attention of Giacomo Puccini, an Italian opera composer most famous for La bohème and Tosca at the time, at its premiere in London. He had been so moved by the play, despite not understanding English, and wished to adapt it into an opera. 

Puccini had written five versions of the opera, called Madama Butterfly (also called Madama Butterfly: Tragedia Giapponese in Italian), along with his librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa (both had collaborated with Puccini for his operas La bohème and Tosca) yet at its premiere in La Scala in 1904, it was disastrous. He then revised it subsequently before it became the success that it is today. Now today, audiences know the story of Madame Butterfly as the tragedy of a young Japanese girl so in love with an American man, that upon discovering his remarriage to an American woman, she commits suicide. In fact, Madama Butterfly is a staple in opera houses around the world today, and according to Operabase, it is ranked 6th, just below Tosca, which ranks 5th, and La bohème, which ranks 3rd.

(It should be noted that in Long's short story, Butterfly does not commit suicide at all. It was Belasco who introduced the tragic ending in his play, which made it into the opera.)

Through sporking this short story, I want to be able to analyze the Orientalist themes that were common during this period, and I aim to criticize the work that helped create a narrative that seems to entrance Western audiences: the narrative of an East Asian woman becoming so devoted to a white man, that she cannot imagine her life without him and commits suicide when he abandons her.

There is going to be some offensive dialogue on the part of Cho-Cho-San, as it is in extremely broken English, and some themes of Orientalism and yellow fever. I do hope you look forward to it.

Chapters

I- Sayre's Prescription
II- Mr. B.F. Pinkerton-- and his way
III- A Moon-Goddess Truly
IV- Trouble-- Meaning Joy
V- A Song of Sorrow-- and Death-- and Heaven
VI- Divine Foolery
VII- How he didn't understand her Whichever
VIII- The Bright Red Spot in Cho's Cheeks
IX- "'Bout Birds'"
X- Gentle Lying
XI- "'The Mos' Bez'nize Man'"
XII- Like a Picture of Bunchosai
XIII- The Good Consul's Compassionate Lying
XIV- The Blonde Woman
XV- When the Robins Nest Again
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More stories I'm thinking of sporking:

The India Fan- Victoria Holt
The Lotus War series- Jay Kristoff
Madame Butterfly- John Luther Long
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Eleanor & Park is getting too much for me. It's too bland, too boring, and it just sucks. I just want to spork other works that, when not being offensive, are just plain ridiculous. These are the books I'm planning on sporking soon.

The Boy Who Sneaks Into My Bedroom Window- Kirsty Moseley
Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur Golden
Nocturne- Syrie James
The Tiger Saga series- Colleen Houck

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Our first chapter where we get the perspectives of both characters. We also get a brief look at Park's mom. But there's so much offensive crap in this, so trigger warning.

Read more... )
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In which nothing happens.

*Yamini and Ruki are working out together: Yamini is punching a sandbag while Ruki is lifting some weights. Kala is reading while Wolfgang rests his head in her lap. Meanwhile, Mako is going through her phone. Right then, missabnormal enters the room*

missabnormal: Well everyone, it's time to start sporking chapter 4 of this, so break time is over. As for food and drinks: Yamini, there's murukku and guava juice; Ruki, there's Naga Viper peppers and goat's blood; Kala, there's chaat and sugarcane juice; Wolfgang, there's apfelwein and knödel; and Mako, there's some sake and sushi. As for myself, there's aloo tikki and mango juice. 

Kala: *stunned* Ruki has to drink goat's blood?

Ruki: *nods* Goat's blood and extremely spicy foods are the only Human World foods I can consume. 

Yamini: I'm more surprised at how he can consume whole chilli peppers, honestly.

Wolfgang: It does sound rather painful.


Mako: Thanks for the food.

missabnormal: No problem. Now then, let's get started!

We open up with Eleanor reaching home before her younger siblings, and is happy about it. Why? Because according to her, "[it] had been such a freak show when she'd walked in last night..."

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!: 2

*snappy* Any time you feel like not being so ableist, Rowell? Please let me know. And yes, I'm being mean today because I want to.

Yamini: So, what happened last night? Apparently, she "had spent so much time thinking about what it would be like to finally come home and how much she missed everybody-- she thought they'd throw her a ticker-tape parade. She thought it would be a big hugfest."

However, when she had walked in, it was
"like her siblings didn't recognize her". *angry* So, not even her siblings welcome her home after she had been living in another person's house, courtesy of their jerkass stepfather kicking her out?! You know what?

ZERO TOLERANCE, MY ASS: 14

I gave it three points out of spite. Damn, this book is turning me into a bitch.

missabnormal: Bad literature can turn anyone into a bitch.

Ruki: My turn. *reads ahead* Only one sibling, known as Mouse, had greeted Eleanor. According to Eleanor, "[Mouse] reminded her more of a big, sloppy puppy-- always excited, always trying to jump into your lap."

*frowns* Why is she comparing people to animals, now? Are we really supposed to like her? At this point, I don't really care if she has an abusive stepfather, I really cannot find her sympathetic whatsoever.

So Mouse tries to bring the stepfather's attention to Eleanor, but he pretends not to hear. *clearly annoyed* The stepfather is already making me want to stab him. I absolutely loathe abusive parents with all my heart. 

Yamini: *sympathetic* Me too, Ruki. 

Ruki: We learn a bit more about the other siblings. There's Ben, who is eleven-years-old, Maisie, who is eight, Mouse, who is five, and an unnamed baby who is two years of age and should be called a toddler, not a baby. Eleanor's mother says that they'll have to readjust their sleeping arrangements, despite the room being too small. We get a description of the bathroom, which prompts Eleanor to think that the house was designed by cave trolls before we finally get back to the present.

Kala: *reads* Eleanor enters the house, which she sees to be even more depressing in the daylight. And in a moment that is rather sad, Eleanor thinks how weird it is to see her mother standing in the kitchen like normal. They have the typical conversation of how the first day went, and Eleanor can't help but admire the way her mother looks.

Apparently, when Eleanor was a little girl, "she'd thought her mom looked like a queen, like the star of some fairy tale."

Yamini: I can kind of relate to that. I mean, I've always thought my mother was beautiful, like she was a princess or something.

Kala: But according to Eleanor, "princesses are just pretty". She describes her mother as "tall and stately, with broad shoulders and an elegant waist. All of her bones seemed more purposeful than other people's." Basically, her mother is supposed to be incredibly beautiful and gorgeous.

*bewildered* This all sounds just so... bland. There's no energy in the text whatsoever, it sounds almost like a laundry list. Also, it's just very generic, like "you'd look at Eleanor's mom and think she must be carved into the prow of a Viking ship somewhere or maybe painted on the side of a plane". These are just very weird descriptors.

missabnormal: Also, what kind of plane were you thinking about, Rowell? I looked up pictures of airplanes with women painted on them, and the only ones I could find were fighter planes from World War II. You know, like these!






Also, as for the 'carved into Viking ships' part, are you talking about a figurehead? You know, a carving at the prow of a ship from the 16th and 20th centuries? Yeah, Vikings didn't have beautiful lady figureheads on their boats. These were Viking figureheads:





These sort of figureheads were considered to be protective and warding off evil spirits. So, Eleanor's mother should not look like a figurehead on a Viking longboat.

Wolfgang: While Eleanor's mother is described in very flattering terms, Eleanor herself is not. For example, she "looked like her mother through a fish tank." And at sixteen, "Eleanor was already built like she ran a medieval pub." Basically, she's overweight and unhappy about it.

After this, Eleanor's mother tells her daughter that he has something to show her, and it turns out to be Eleanor's personal belongings in a black trash bag. We also learn that they have to eat dinner around 4:30 because everything has to be settled before Richie comes home. *sighs* This chapter is very boring, was there really a point to it? It's almost like filler right now.

Eleanor finds some paper dolls, several books such as John Irving's The World According to Garp and Richard Adam's Watership Down. But she's not happy to see Erich Segal's Oliver's Story and not Love Story, another novel by him. She also sees Louisa May Alcott's Little Men, but not Little Women or Jo's Boys. *raises an eyebrow* So... she likes classic novels and American literature?

Mako: It's a common cliché in these books. The heroine always seems to like the well-known classic novels to try and seem 'well-read' and 'cultured'.

Yamini: And it all started with Bella Swan from friggin' Twilight. You can't even say that she likes the classics, 'cause she doesn't understand them! She thinks Wuthering Heights is an actual love story! She just likes the school's reading list!


DRAMATIC ANGST: 3

missabnormal: It's so boring. For once, I'd like to see a heroine who likes, I don't know, harlequin romance novels.

Yamini: Me? I like reading foreign horror novels. Europeans and Japanese people are some of the best at writing actually scary horror, but Stephen King is also really good! *smiles* My current favourites are Koji Suzuki's Ring, John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In, and Patrick Süskind's Perfume. Foreign horror is just seriously terrifying and I love it.

Wolfgang: *surprised* Perfume is also one of my favourite novels. Though, I guess I'm into more of the thriller genre. The Millennium Trilogy is one of my favourites. The Swedish are really good at creating thriller novels.

Kala: I'm more into reading classical Indian epics, like the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. They've been my favourites ever since I was a child. But I also like reading romance novels as well.

Ruki: I haven't had much experience with every genre of Human World literature. However, I must confess that I enjoy reading tragic novels. Tess of the d'Urbervilles was one that really stuck with me. I could really relate to the heroine's situation. Doctor Faustus, Anna Karenina, and The Duchess of Malfi are also some of my favourites.

Mako: I love Japanese literature. My favourites are Norwegian Wood, The Tale of Genji, Battle Royale, Sanshirou, and Woman in the Dunes. And those are just a few.

missabnormal: I also like horror, but mainly by Stephen King. Carrie has been my all-time favourite.

Kala: I'd rather be talking about this, honestly.

missabnormal: Don't we all?

Mako: It's my turn now. *reads* So Eleanor starts organizing all her books and papers while wondering about what happened to everyone else's things. She also hopes that her mother's marriage to Richie is just temporary.


DRAMATIC ANGST: 4


She finds a box from her uncle, which is a Fruit of the Month Club box that he used to send to her family every Christmas. This box is used for holding her stationary and markers, promotional cards that smell of perfume, and her old Walkman.

missabnormal: A Walkman?


IT'S THE 80'S!: 4

Also, the box apparently smells like Chanel No.5 and pencil shavings.

To her dismay, there is nothing to do with her recovered belongings after she'd sorted through them. So she sets aside the box and books, puts everything else in the garbage bag, and puts that on a high shelf behind some towels and a humidifier. We then finish the chapter with Eleanor finding a cat sleeping on her bunk before shooing him out of the room.

And we're done!

missabnormal: Dear God, was this pointless.

Yamini: Like, nothing happened at all in this goddamn chapter!

Ruki: There was no character development, no important plot points, nothing!

Kala: Even the writing was just very banal and bland!

Wolfgang: The counts are at quite the standstill right now.

Mako: I'll be honest: about halfway through, I almost fell asleep.

missabnormal: Well, we're done for the day, and we'll see you all in the next chapter!


Counts

IT'S THE 80'S: 4
PAN-ASIAN FUSION: 5
FETISHIZING BASTARD: 1
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!: 2
MADAME BUTTERFLY MUCH?: 1
HERE COMES MISS SAIGON: 1
ORIENTALIST BASTARD: 2
DRAMATIC ANGST: 4
I'M DOWN WITH DA HOOD, YO: 0
ZERO TOLERANCE, MY ASS: 14

Total= 34


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In which we find out more about Park, and see that he really is an Edward Cullen 2.0, and that no one gives a damn about bullying whatsoever!


Mako: Are you feeling better, Ruki?

Ruki: *nods* Yeah, I'm fine now. Yamini and I lay down in bed in only our underwear, and I feel a lot better.

Yamini: It really helps him calm down, that kind of physical contact. *blushes slightly*

Ruki: I hope this chapter isn't as trauma-inducing.

*doors open, in walk Kala, Wolfgang, and missabnormal*

Kala: Hey guys.

Yamini: What's up?

Wolfgang: Sorry we're late.

missabnormal: And while this chapter isn't as trauma-inducing as the previous, it's pretty rage-inducing. So yeah, as always, I've got snacks and drinks, and I have an extra button here to put up cute or sexy pictures in case of extreme rage. Anyways, let's get started!

We find out immediately in this chapter that Eleanor did not talk to Park at all on the bus ride home. Apparently, he'd been trying to think of a way to get away from her, but didn't want to force attention onto himself by asking to switch seats! God, what a dick! What's so bad about sitting next to Eleanor?!

Yamini: *annoyed* I swear, any more of this and I might just destroy this book. I have my sword with me, and I'm not afraid to use it.

missabnormal: But that's not all! We've got ourselves a Pan-Asian Fusion coming right up!

Park had expected Steve to start in on him as soon he let the girl sit down, but Steve had gone right back to talking about kung fu again. Park, by the way, knew plenty about kung fu. Because his dad was obsessed with martial arts, not because his mom was Korean. Park and his little brother, Josh, had been taking taekwondo since they could walk.

PAN-ASIAN FUSION: 5

So... Park knows about kung fu, but he's been taking taekwondo since he could walk? *bewildered* What the hell?! Kung fu and taekwondo are two completely different styles of martial arts! Yeah, I gave it two for that reason!

First of all, kung fu isn't just a fighting style, actually. In Chinese, it's a term that refers to any kind of study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete. The original meaning can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice, not just martial arts. The first character, 功 (gong), means 'work', 'achievement', or 'merit', and the second character, 夫 (fu) is a particle or nominal suffix with many meanings. Also, there are hundreds of different fighting styles of Chinese martial arts. Ever heard of Tai Chi? Shaolin? Wudang? They're all different styles of Chinese martial arts. And above all, each region in China has its own unique form of martial arts, so it's impossible to know all about kung fu, especially since there's so many different varieties, and the term itself just encompasses all these different styles. 

As for taekwondo? That's a Korean martial art, completely different from Chinese martial arts. That is a mix of Chinese martial arts, karate (which is Japanese), and indigenous Korean martial arts like TaekkyeonSubak, and Gwonbeop. This style developed shortly after imperial Japanese occupation of Korea in 1945 when new martial arts schools called 'kwan' were opening in Seoul by Korean martial artists who had studied in Japan during Japanese rule. These were a ton of different styles and they were merged under the insistence of Syngman Rhee, president of South Korea, in 1952. It was originally called Tae Soo Do, before Choi Hong Hi advocated the change to Tae Kwon Do. This name consist of the hanja 跆 (tae), meaning 'to stomp, trample', 拳 (kwon), meaning 'fist', and  (do), meaning 'way, discipline'. Also, taekwondo is characterised by an emphasis on head-level kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques.

Yamini: In short? Taekwondo is very different from kung fu or Chinese martial arts. It's like saying that you're an expert on karate but have done Muay Thai all your life. They're both completely different fighting styles.

Mako: In addition, what is with Park's brother's name? Why is Park called, well, 'Park', but his brother has 'Josh', a Western name? It makes no sense.

missabnormal: Damn straight! If you're going for a Korean naming scheme, give them both proper Korean names! Also, it is kind of weird, but apparently Josh looks more white while Park looks more Korean. It still doesn't make sense. Methinks that Rowell really doesn't know much about genetics. But I'll save that issue for later.

But as for the mention about his dad (who is white), and his Korean mom? I'm gonna give it this point.

HERE COMES MISS SAIGON: 1

It's gonna go up pretty soon.

Kala: *reads* So Park is wondering how he could switch seats. He's thinking of switching seats and sitting near a freshman but not only would it mean that he was weak, but "he almost hated to think about leaving the weird new girl at the back of the bus by herself".

*frowns* Why is he calling Eleanor 'weird'? Can't he just be nice and let her sit next to him? I can't really support him if he's disdainful of others around him.

Yamini: I'm not even a popular kid like Park, and no one wants to hang out with me because they're instinctively frightened by me. I've been lonely most of my life. But you know what? I still have common courtesy! I'm polite most of the time and I don't just act all superior to other people! Hell, even though my default expression is 'resting bitchface', I still act polite, I don't act like a jackass! Just because you have your own troubles doesn't mean you can just ditch common courtesy!

Wolfgang: You're right. *reads* So Park starts hating himself for thinking like that, noting that, "if his dad knew he was thinking like this, he'd call Park a pussy. Out loud, for once. If his grandma knew, she'd smack him on the back of his head. 'Where are your manners?' she'd say. 'Is that any way to treat somebody who's down on her luck?'"

Mako: *irritated* Right. Because Asian people aren't as strong and powerful as white people, right?

MADAME BUTTERFLY MUCH?: 1

missabnormal: *sourly* I gave that one out of spite.

Wolfgang: *continues* However, Park doesn't have any kind of luck or status to "spare on that dumb redhead". *annoyed* I've done a lot of horrible things, but at least I never denigrated those around me. But it gets even worse. Apparently, Park is "kind of grateful that people like that girl exist". Why? "Because people like Steve and Mikey and Tina existed, too, and they needed to be fed. If it wasn't that redhead, it was going to be somebody else. And if it wasn't somebody else, it was going to be Park". And yet he knows that it's not right to think that way.

*a sudden crash startles him and everyone else; they turn to see missabnormal flipping over a table and glaring*

Kala: *surprised* Missy...?

missabnormal: *seething in rage*

'THEY NEEDED TO BE FED'?! 'THEY NEEDED TO BE FED'???!!!! WHY DON'T YOU ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND PUT A STOP TO THEIR BULLYING, DAMMIT?! YOU'RE GOING TO LET IT SLIDE BECAUSE, OH, YOUR 'FRIENDS' NEED TO BULLY AN OUTCAST?! YOUR PRIORITIES ARE MESSED UP, YOU JACKASS! WHY THE HELL ARE YOU EVEN FRIENDS WITH THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE IF YOU KNOW ABOUT THEIR BULLYING, HUH?! YOU JUST BLATANTLY ADMIT THAT YOUR FRIENDS ARE BULLIES AND YET YOU DO NOTHING TO STOP THEM?! THIS IS STUPID! JUST SHUT UP AND GO STEP ON A THOUSAND LEGOS YOU SLIMY JACKASS!!

*grabs an axe and starts cutting the table wildly while screaming incoherently*

Wolfgang: *concerned* Is she okay?

Yamini: *wearily* And that's how you know when someone has seen too many jackass love interests in YA. They do that.

Ruki: How are we going to calm her down?

Mako: *smiles* Don't worry. *presses a button* Missy!

missabnormal: *still raging* WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT-

















*immediately, missabnormal calms down and becomed enamoured*

missabnormal: *lovestruck* Ahhhh, Ruki... you make sporking so much better, keep on working those hips~

Kala: *raised eyebrow* Well, that was fast.

Yamini: Okay, looks like it's my turn. *reads* So Park feels bad for swearing at Eleanor and I'm not buying it, considering that him not stopping his bully friends sent Missy into a huge rage. He feels as if her arrival in English class was meant to haunt him, and we get a flashback to the English class!

'Eleanor,' Mr Stessman said. 'What a powerful name. It's a queen's name, you know.'

'It's the name of the fat Chipette,' somebody behind Park whispered. Somebody else laughed.


*angered* Okay, I see where Missy's coming from. In fact, I'm gonna start us up a new count: ZERO TOLERANCE, MY ASS. This is gonna be used for every character who acts like a jackass towards one another, or whenever Eleanor is being bullied. So, how many do we have now, both in this chapter and the previous ones?

ZERO TOLERANCE, MY ASS: 11

Yeah, I started it out of spite.

missabnormal: *significantly calmer* Thank you, Yamini. I believe that this is quite important. I should have started it in the first chapter.

Also, as for Eleanor's name, the teacher is right. However, it's not just a queen's name, a lot of women in high nobility in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages had that name. In fact, the name 'Eleanor' is an Anglicisation of the Old French form of 'Aliénor', an Occitan name, and the most famous person with that name is French Queen consort Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Louis VII of France and Henry II of England.

Ruki: So, the teacher tells Eleanor that they're reading poetry by Emily Dickinson, and invites her to read out loud.

'I had been hungry all the years,' she read. A few kids laughed. Jesus, Park thought, only Mr. Stessman would make a chubby girl read a poem about eating on her first day of class.

Yet despite that, she reads ahead and is praised by the teacher. We also find out that in history, the teacher references Eleanor of Aquitaine after she introduces herself.

Mako: *raises an eyebrow* Why is everyone making a big deal out of her name? No one even does that these days. *reads* We're almost done, fortunately. So Park can't think of a way to get rid of her or move away from her, so he just turns up his music and listens to it, and is grateful that Eleanor doesn't try to talk to him.

*sighs* And with that, we're done!

missabnormal: Well, this was another bizarre and infuriating chapter to read.

Wolfgang: Does Rowell think that bullying is some sort of rite of passage in high school? It's nothing lke that, it's a very unpleasant experience. I've been bullied before as a child, it's not fun at all.

Kala: *gently places her hand on his shoulder* It's okay, Wolfgang.

Yamini: This is why people who think bullying is no big deal always piss me off.

Ruki: This chapter was indeed very tedious.

Mako: I sincerely hope that Park gets his act together and ditches those so-called 'friends'.

missabnormal: We're done for the day now, and we'll see you all in chapter 4. Now then, let's go and take a break.

Counts

IT'S THE 80'S!: 3
PAN-ASIAN FUSION: 5
FETISHIZING BASTARD: 1
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!: 1
MADAME BUTTERFLY MUCH?: 1
HERE COMES MISS SAIGON: 1
ORIENTALIST BASTARD: 2
DRAMATIC ANGST: 2
I'M DOWN WITH DA HOOD, YO: 0
ZERO TOLERANCE, MY ASS: 11

Total= 27

Continue to:
 Chapter 4- Eleanor

Go back to: Chapter 2- Eleanor
missabnormal: (Default)
We now have an introduction to Eleanor Douglas!


Kala: So tell me, Yamini. What kinds of powers do you have?

Yamini: It's called Magia Umbra, which means I can control shadows. Ruki has the same kind of powers as me, and so did my mom.

Wolfgang: You know how to use them?

Yamini: Not really, they've been dormant most of my life and they've only been awakened on the first day of school after some guy bragged about vandalising my mom's grave. *winces* It was probably the worst thing I've ever done.

Ruki: It was quite violent, what happened.

Mako: How?

*door opens*

missabnormal: Alright guys, it's time to start chapter two of this dreck! I've stocked up the cabinets and fridge with food, in case any of you get hungry, so let's get started!

Yamini: *unenthusiastic* Yaaaay.

missabnormal: Chapter 2 is from Eleanor's point of view. We open up with Eleanor considering some options! And what are they?

1. She could walk home from school. Pros: Exercise, color in her cheeks, time to herself. Cons: She didn't know her new address yet, or even the general direction to start walking.

2. She could call her mom and ask for a ride. Pros: Lots. Cons: Her mom didn't have a phone. Or a car.

3. She could call her dad. Ha.

4. She could call her grandma. Just to say hi.


So basically, Eleanor is trying to decide how she could get home while staring at her school bus, especially after the disaster on the bus in the morning. She's poor and has an abusive stepfather, so her resources are very limited. I'd feel sorry for her if it were presented in a much more emotional way. This sounds more like a laundry list.

Then- *cracks up laughing* Oh boy, this is too funny.

Her bus was right there. No. 666.

Yamini: Pfftt- *cracks up with laughter* Just look at that symbology! It shows that high school is truly Hell, so that's why the buses have the Mark of the Beast on them! *continues laughing* I'm sorry, but this is just too hilarious!

Ruki: *dryly amused* Does the author expect us to take this seriously?

Mako: *chuckles* This is about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

Kala: *smiles in amusement* I think everyone knows that high school is a hard time, but this is just kind of ridiculous.

Wolfgang: *snorts* So what, is this school going to be named after Lucifer?

missabnormal: *coming down from laughter* Rowell, everyone already knows that high school is generally a rough place. This here? I really can't take this seriously. Look, we understand that high school is not a good place for Eleanor, but there's no need to smash us in the face with... whatever the hell this is!

Oh hey! Looks like we're getting another count!

DRAMATIC ANGST: 1

Yeah, this is for whenever the typical teenage angst comes up.

Kala: *reads ahead* Eleanor wishes to avoid taking the bus, but she knows that she'd still have to deal with these kids the next day, referring to them as "the devil-kids". Given the way they've treated her, I don't blame her for thinking that way.

Ruki: Even demons are more polite than those human kids. At least we see all humans as equal in strength and value, regardless of gender, age, race, or size. *frowns* Don't insult us demons by comparing us to those lowlife kids.

Kala: Eleanor then ponders about the girl named Tina, saying that "[you] could practically see the horns hidden in her bangs. And her boyfriend was possibly a member of the Nephilim".

Wolfgang: Nephilim is a Hebrew word that's often loosely translated to 'giants'. I'm not religious, but I do my research from time to time. I agree with Eleanor. Those two are very odious characters.

Yamini: Damn straight. *reads ahead* Eleanor states that all of those kids hate her as if they'd been hired to kill her in a previous life and- oh! Looks like we've got some stereotypes ahead!

Eleanor couldn't tell if the Asian kid who finally let her sit down was one of them, or whether he was really just stupid. (But not stupid stupid... He was in two of Eleanor's honors classes.)

ORIENTALIST BASTARD: 1

*surprised* Damn. We're only in the second chapter and the Orientalism is already starting to show.

Mako: *annoyed* Oh, of course Asians are in honour classes! It's because they're smart, and all Asians are smart, right? I don't care whether this is a positive stereotype or not, but it's just insulting to claim that Asians are good at school because they're Asian! Not all Asians are in honours classes or exceeding in school! Not all Asians are bookworms who are obsessed with their grades!

Yamini: It also erases Asian kids who have disabilities. And besides, I've heard of Asian people being told to their face, "Oh, you're not a real Asian" just because they don't exceed in school! It's degrading and offensive to be told that you're smart just because you're Asian!

Ruki: And I really don't like the way she called him 'stupid'. Doesn't that insinuate that Asian people aren't as smart socially?

*starts reading* Apparently, Eleanor's mother had wanted her daughter to be put in the honours classes after seeing how bad her grades were from the previous year. Eleanor seems very indifferent to this whole situation and decides that she may as well stare at clouds during her classes.

Eleanor also can't tell her mother about the situation on the bus because her mother had told her that she didn't have to ride the bus. We then get a flashback to a conversation between the two from the previous night.

'Richie said he'll take you,' her mom said. 'It's on his way to work.'

'Is he going to make me ride in the back of his truck?'

'He's trying to make peace, Eleanor. You promised that you'd try, too.'

'It's easier for me to make peace from a distance.'

'I told him you were ready to be part of his family.'

'I'm 
already part of this family. I'm like a charter member.'

'Eleanor,' her mom said. 'Please.'

'I'll just ride the bus,' Eleanor had said. 'It's not a big deal. I'll meet people.'


*blinks* As it turns out, this 'Richie' is Eleanor's stepfather who has abused her and her family many times. However, the mother is trying to force Eleanor to make peace with him? Make peace with someone who abused her many times? I... Okay, I see that she's also being abused herself, but that does not mean that she should force her daughter to try and make peace, especially if she's trying to make peace in her own way! And for that matter, why the hell is the mother prioritizing her husband over her daughter?! *starts to get upset and agitated*

That... That's like asking me to make peace with... with Empusa of all people! The one who helped Hell's Army brainwash me when I was eight, tortured me as punishment for whenever I did something wrong, and who has been raping me since I was thirteen! No one believed me when I told them, I was slapped and called a liar and put into isolation as punishment! *tears start to fill his eyes* Those who actually listened me just gave me some pathetic excuse to justify her actions and told me to obey and it wouldn't happen again... I can never forgive Empusa for what she did to me! I never will, and anyone who tells me to make peace with her can go straight to Hell! *on the verge of a tearful breakdown*

This is disgusting! I'm starting to get flashbacks all over again, especially after I tried to report her! They told me something similar to this, justified her actions, slapped me, and then put me into isolation as punishment for lying! *worn out and miserable, he buries his face in his hands and starts sobbing*

Yamini: *worried* Ruki! *she hurries over and wraps an arm around his shoulders, speaking to him in a soothing tone* Hey, it's okay. You're not there anymore. She isn't here to hurt you. You're safe now. *tentatively gives him a hug* It's okay, Ruki.

Ruki: *wipes away his tears* Th-Thanks... *accepts Yamini's hug*

Kala: *concerned* I... I'm so sorry, Ruki. Is he going to be okay?

Yamini: He will. Eventually, I hope.

Wolfgang: *also concerned* For his sake, how much more of this chapter is there?

missabnormal: *worried* We're almost done. After this, you're all free to take a break. Ruki especially. And as of now, we've got another point.

DRAMATIC ANGST: 2

Mako: I'll spork now. *glances in concern at Ruki*

Eleanor notices that her bus is leaving soon when someone passes by her and accidentally kicks her bag. But before she can apologize, she notices who it was.

--but it was that stupid Asian kid, and he frowned when he saw that it was her. She frowned right back at him, and he ran ahead.

ORIENTALIST BASTARD: 2

*sighs* You could have just said 'that Asian kid', Rowell. Was there really a need to call him stupid? Anyways, Eleanor decides that it's on, and we finally close this chapter.

missabnormal: *shakes her head* Even though this was short, this sure was quite disturbing. I do kind of feel sorry for Eleanor, but it's gonna disappear pretty fast. And great, Park just started to become Edward Cullen 2.0.

Ruki: I'm... sorry about my rant.

Yamini: Don't apologize. No one blames you for it.

Kala: It's going to get worse, isn't it?

Wolfgang: If one of us has already broken down in only the second chapter, then it's definitely going to get even worse.

Mako: And I have a really bad feeling about some of these counts. They're probably going to start increasing in the next chapters.

missabnormal: And on that somber note, we're done. We'll see you all in Chapter 3. Now then, let's take a break. We all need one, especially after... whatever we just read.

Counts

IT'S THE 80'S: 3
PAN-ASIAN FUSION: 2
FETISHIZING BASTARD: 1
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!: 1
MADAME BUTTERFLY MUCH?: 0
HERE COMES MISS SAIGON: 0
ORIENTALIST BASTARD: 2
DRAMATIC ANGST: 2
I'M DOWN WITH DA HOOD, YO: 0

Total= 11

Continue to: Chapter 3- Park

Go back to: Chapter 1- Park
missabnormal: (Default)
The official start of the sporking.


(The sporking theatre is empty, save for Yamini Subramaniam, Ruki, and Mako Mori, who are engaged in a conversation together. Right then, the doors open and missabnormal walks in with two newcomers: an Indian woman and a German man. They are Kala Dandekar and Wolfgang Bogdanow)





missabnormal: *claps hands to get everyone's attention* All right, everyone! I have two new sporkers who are going to join us in our sporking of Eleanor & Park. *gestures to the woman* This is Kala Dandekar. *gestures to the man* And this is Wolfgang Bogdanow.

Yamini: *perks up slightly* Kala Dandekar? Whoo, another fellow Desi girl! Yeah! *smiles at Kala* I'm Yamini Subramaniam, a half-demon Tamil Desi from Toronto! It's nice to meet you, Ms. Dandekar, Mr. Bogdanow.

Kala: *smiles* Nice to meet you, Yamini. Just call me Kala.

Wolfgang: And just call me Wolfgang. *smiles politely*

Ruki: *bows slightly with a polite smile* My name is Ruki, and I am a demon from Jigoku. A pleasure to meet you, Kala, Wolfgang.

Mako: *smiles politely* My name is Mako Mori, but you can call me Mako. I'm a Jaeger pilot, and it's a pleasure to meet you two.

Kala: *raises an eyebrow* Half-demon and demon?

Yamini: Don't worry, we're not going to hurt you!

Ruki: I know it may be a bit surprising, but it is true.

Wolfgang: *shakes his head* I don't know if I'm dreaming or...

missabnormal: It's true. Well! Now that everyone's gotten to know each other, let's get started!

Wolfgang: I'm just curious, what is sporking?

Ruki: It's where we analyze poorly written literature and point out all the flaws, the unfortunate implications, and the unlikeable nature of the characters.

missabnormal: And it's also where we sometimes get so angry at the text that we flip tables, throw things out of windows, and just rage on and on while metal music plays in the background. *shakes head* Yeah, a lot of us have some berserk buttons for some of the things we see.

Kala: *surprised* O...kay?

missabnormal: So! We start out the first chapter from the perspective of Park Sheridan! *unimpressed* Park. You named your half-Korean character Park. Rowell, are you serious?

Park is a Korean last name, you fool! What kind of a parent gives a friggin' last name to their child?!

*blinks* Wow. We've barely even started the chapter and I'm already raging over the main character's name. It took me to Chapter 3 of Halo to start raging, yet I'm already raging over the chapter title in this book! What, am I gonna start raging in the dedications when I spork For Such A Time?!

Moving on, the first sentence tells us what Park Sheridan is like!

XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.

*shocked, but quickly becomes disgusted* Are you serious? This is how you start the book? By becoming Edward Cullen 2.0? *throws her hands up* How many more times am I gonna have to see a reincarnation of that fairy asshole?!

Yamini: *equally disgusted* This is more like if Edward Cullen had good taste in music. But he's still an asshole.

Ruki: *confused* What's XTC?

Wolfgang: They're an English rock band from the late 70's, early 80's, part of the new wave movement.

missabnormal: And with that, we've already gotten ourselves a new count: IT'S THE 80'S!. This will show up whenever there's a reference to a band that was part of the many different movements in music during the 80's. So we have one point now.

IT'S THE 80'S!: 1

Now then, Kala, would you like a turn at sporking?

Kala: Sure. *opens up her book* So Park plans to bring some more music, mainly by "Skinny Puppy or the Misfits". He wishes to make a special bus tape of music. *confused* Who are those bands?

Wolfgang: Skinny Puppy is a Canadian band, and they're considered one of the founders of the electro-industrial genre. I remember hearing about them performing at the Doomsday Festival in Dresden in 2000. They were pretty big during the 80's. The Misfits are an American punk band, and they were a key part of the hardcore punk movement in the 80's. They're also considered the creators of the horror punk genre.

Kala: *impressed* You really know a lot about this, Wolfgang.

Wolfgang: *smiles slightly* Felix and I grew up listening to these bands.

So it seems like we have two more points.

IT'S THE 80'S!: 3

I guess I'll take over now. *opens up his book*. Park decides to go back to New Wave after getting his driver's license, as his parents told him that he could have his mother's Impala. He believes that "[once] he started driving to school, he could listen to whatever he wanted or nothing at all, and he'd get to sleep in an extra twenty minutes".

Yamini:
 To be honest, that does sound kinda relatable, I'll give Rowell that.

missabnormal: Mako, would you like to go?

Mako: Sure. *starts reading* Right then, an argument starts up behind Park.

"That doesn't exist!" somebody shouted behind him.

"It so [f***ing] does!" Steve shouted back. "Drunken Monkey style, man, it's a real [f***ing] thing. You can kill somebody with it..."

"You're full of shit."

"
You're full of shit." Steve said.

*surprised* This is... quite a bit of profanity.

missabnormal: I'll give her that, since that does kinda sound like how a lot of teenagers speak.

Also, about the Drunken Monkey, it's a real thing. It's a form of Kung Fu and a variation of the Monkey style. The whole drunken aspect comes in the middle when the practitioner plays the movements of a monkey drinking stolen wine. Visually, however, it's incredibly beautiful and agile. But being drunk doesn't improve this movement, 'cause it's about the concept of imitating being drunk, as actually being drunk will impair the ability to perform complex movements.

Mako: So then this 'Steve' character, who we don't know about, starts calling for Park's attention, but Park ignores him.

Sometimes, if you ignored Steve for a minute, he moved on to someone else. Knowing that was 80 percent of surviving with Steve as your neighbor. The other 20 percent was just keeping your head down....

Which Park had momentarily forgotten. A ball of paper hit him in the back of the head.


*annoyed* We're barely even into the chapter and we don't know who this Steve is, and I already don't like him. He just sounds so obnoxious. But Park is no better either. Is Steve considered to be his friend? Because that really does not sound like how one would treat their friends.

Yamini: You're right about that. *reads on* So then, some girl named Tina gets angry at Steve for throwing the ball of paper, which happened to be her Human Growth and Development notes. Okay, who the hell is Tina? Is she one of Park's friends? *shakes head* Steve then apologizes and promises to "teach [her] all about human growth and development", and I just threw up in my mouth. I'm out now. *disgusted*

Ruki: My turn. *reads* Someone tells him to teach her this Drunken Monkey style, and Steve calls out to Park again, which makes him take off his headphones and turn to face him. We get a description of how Steve looks like a grown man with a full beard, and that Tina is his girlfriend. Apparently, in middle school, Steve had punched a guy in the face for making fun of him. These paragraphs are quite lengthy so I'm doing my best to summarize them.

Steve finally asks Park about this Drunken Monkey style.

"Park," Steve said, "tell Mikey about Drunken Monkey karate."

"I don't know anything about it." Park shrugged.

"But it exists, right?"

"I guess I've heard of it."

Yamini: *stunned* Drunken Monkey's a form of Kung Fu, you idiot! It's part of a Chinese martial art, named after Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, in Journey to the West, which is a classical Chinese novel! Geez, we're barely into the story and we're already witnessing the blend of different Asian cultures!

Mako: *just as surprised* Exactly. Karate, on the other hand, is Okinawan. It was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom but became popular in mainland Japan thanks to Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan karate.

missabnormal: So now we've got ourselves a new count: PAN-ASIAN FUSION. This will come up everytime Asian cultures are blended together and mixed up.

PAN-ASIAN FUSION: 1

My turn now! *reads* So Steve goes 'I told you so' to this Mikey person and- Oh my God, we have ableism, fetishization, and racism straight ahead at twelve o'clock!

"What the [f***] does Sheridan know about kung fu?" Mikey said.

"Are you [r*tarded]?" Steve said. "His mom's Chinese."

Mikey looked at Park carefully. Park smiled and narrowed his eyes. "Yeah, I guess I see it," Mikey said. "I always thought you were Mexican."

"Shit, Mikey," Steve said. "You're such a [f***ing] racist."

"She's not Chinese," Tina said. "She's Korean."


And that is as much as I'm going to show you because I'm nice. So Park's mom is apparently Tina's hairdresser since grade school. Steve then comments about how hot Park's mom is. *annoyed* As such, we've already got us some more points!

PAN-ASIAN FUSION: 2

FETISHIZING BASTARD: 1

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!: 1


Mako: *angered* That comment just rubbed me the wrong way. No matter how old we are, East Asian women are fetishized and degraded in so many different ways. We're always hypersexualised into being submissive and delicate, and they never see us as people. They only see us as porn stars.

missabnormal: Also, this story's set in Omaha, right? During this period, there weren't that many Asian people in Nebraska. There was a small community of Chinese laborers in the early 20th century, and the first Japanese people in Omaha had arrived to work in the stockyards. There were hardly any Korean people in Omaha, and I honestly can't find anything about when Korean people first came to Omaha. And since this is 1986, I'm willing to bet that Park and his mom are the only Korean people living in Omaha.

Also, Omaha has had many periods of racial tension throughout its history, since this is Nebraska, one of the midwestern states. This resulted from the high numbers of southern and eastern European immigrants, and African-American migrants from the Deep South. There was a lot of competition for jobs in the early 20th century, and the instance of anti-Asian racism I found was in 1905, when 800 school students had protested the presence of the Japanese students in their school.

There was also a huge riot in Greek Town after a Greek man shot an Irish policeman who tried to arrest him for an apparent relationship with a "white" woman, when he was actually taking English lessons from her. Then there were several anti-German sentiments in the years after World War I, when many German immigrants were forced to learn English in schools. This was after a law was passed in 1919 that enforced the teaching of English in public schools.

Then there was Red Summer, when an African-American man was lynched after being accused of raping a white woman. That sparked up a huge riot where a lot of white men tried to attack the African-American neighbourhood. There was also severe anti-Black racism throughout history, especially during the Civil Rights-era.

The point is, I don't think that Park would have had many friends in the 80's, especially white friends. Interracial marriage was still a very touchy issue during that time, but we'll be focusing on that much later. Either way, Park is half-Korean, so he'd probably be facing a lot of discrimination and prejudice from his white classmates, and he'd probably have more friends who were Chinese-American or Japanese-American. But no! He's all fine and dandy with white people!

Kala: *surprised* Sun Bak would hate this novel. *reads ahead* So Steve and Mikey go back to talking about Drunken Monkey when Park notices a new girl on the bus. When the girl tries to sit down next to a freshman kid, he blocks the seat with his bag and looks the other way, and so does everyone else.

*disgusted* What is wrong with these kids?

Wolfgang: *scowls* Park's friend Tina also laughs because apparently "she lived for this stuff".

Why is he friends with this kind of a girl?

missabnormal: I wanna slap Tina already. I'm getting really unpleasant flashbacks to middle school when everyone was a whole bunch of jackasses.

Yamini: We then get a description of the new girl. She's a redhead, overweight, and dressed strangely. A few more kids get on and push past her, claiming their seats. The bus driver tells the girl to sit down, so she goes to the back of the bus. Park is rather alarmed and wants her to turn around because it's like walking into a lion's cave.

*frowns* So why is Park friends with a whole bunch of jackasses? Doesn't he have any sort of dignity to stay away from those kinds of people?

Ruki: The girl tries to sit down next to Tina, only to be rudely brushed off.

Yamini: *muttering* Jeez, what a bitch.

Ruki: Park finally decides to let the girl sit next to him. But he does it quite rudely, yet she decides to sit down next to him. *surprised* We're barely even into the story and I already don't like these characters two much.

Kala: I have a really bad feeling about this.

Yamini: I'm really close to saying the Eight Deadly Words.

Wolfgang: I can already see the raging that's gonna happen in later chapters. And it's not going to be pretty.

Mako: I hope that we can get through this.

missabnormal: If this is how the first chapter has gotten us, then I fear what the next chapters will have in store. We'll see you all in the next chapter.

Counts

IT'S THE 80'S: 3
PAN-ASIAN FUSION: 2
FETISHIZING BASTARD: 1
WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!: 1
MADAME BUTTERFLY MUCH?: 0
HERE COMES MISS SAIGON: 0
ORIENTALIST BASTARD: 0
DRAMATIC ANGST: 0
I'M DOWN WITH DA HOOD, YO: 0

Total= 7

Continue to: Chapter 2- Eleanor

Go back to: Prologue
Apr. 11th, 2017 12:53 pm

Prologue

missabnormal: (Default)
The start of the Eleanor & Park sporking.


Welcome everyone, to the sporking of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park! I'm just in the process of assembling my sporking team, so they will be coming in to spork after the prologue. It's going to be an ensemble cast of sporkers and it's gonna be absolutely awesome, so do look forward to it~!

For now, I'll be sporking the prologue on my own. So, without further ado, let's get started!

He'd stopped trying to bring her back.

Well, this is quite sudden. What's this about?

She only came back when she felt like it, in dreams and lies and broken-down déjà vu.

Um... okay, so is this about a man angsting over a Manic Pixie Dream Girl? 'Cause if it is, I'm quitting.

Like, he'd be driving to work,

Okay, but that was a bad way to start a sentence. My hopes aren't too high for this book already.

and he'd see a girl with red hair standing on the corner-- and he'd swear, for half a choking moment, that it was her.

And we're already beginning to see signs of your Manic Pixie Dream Girl from every clichéd movie with Jennifer Lawrence! *shakes head* We're barely even into the novel and I'm already starting to have regrets.

Then he'd see that the girl's hair was more blond than red.

Rowell? 'Blond' is a masculine noun. The feminine version has an 'e' at the end! Get it right, for crying out loud! How many authors make this mistake?!

And that she was holding a cigarette... And wearing a Sex Pistols T-shirt.

What's with the sudden sentence fragments? This is already badly written, my God!

Eleanor hated the Sex Pistols.

Eleanor...

Who's Eleanor? Well, this is a form of SUBTLE FORESHADOWING for the story!

Standing behind him until he turned his head. Lying next to him just before he woke up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough.

These are already the hallmarks of a Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl-falling-in-love-with-cynical-man story! In fact it's sounding almost exactly like friggin' Twilight!

If this story turns out to be exactly like Twilight, I'm quitting. And for the love of God, stop using fragments!

Eleanor ruining everything.

Eleanor, gone.


*seething* If I see anymore sentence fragments, I'm gonna lose it.

He'd stopped trying to bring her back.

Good God, no wonder John Green loves this book! It's almost like his writing style, it's implied that there's a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, it's just... I'm already beginning to have a bad feeling.

Well guys, that was the prologue. Believe me, you haven't seen anything yet. The racism will start only on the sixth or seventh PAGE of this book, and so will the ableism. Brace yourselves, everyone. I'll see you in Chapter 1.

Continue to: Chapter 1- Park

Go back to: Introduction
missabnormal: (Default)
Well everyone, I'm starting a new sporking. As I mentioned in my previous post, Halo will be on a hiatus so I can focus on this spork. More information is under the cut.

Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell 


Alright everyone, if you haven't heard of this book, the basic plot is about two teenage misfits in Omaha in 1986 who fall in love with each other after connecting through comic books and 80's music. And who are the lovers? Eleanor Douglas, a full-figured sixteen-year-old girl, and Park Sheridan, a half-Korean sixteen-year-old boy.

The basic premise doesn't sound too bad. In fact, it's nice to be able to read an interracial romance between a white woman and a man of colour, since those are pretty rare compared to white man-woman of colour romances (especially white man-Asian woman romances, there's hardly a white woman-Asian man romance out there). But there is so much wrong in this book that you won't believe it. There's orientalism, extremely casual racism, Asian fetishization, ableism, and a whole lot more. And while I am South Asian, I feel like this should be sporked to Hell and back, especially because of the praise it's gotten. Goes to show how the fetishization of Asian people is that commonly accepted in media.

So! I'm also going to be using counts for the first time, so here are the counts that will be present!

MADAME BUTTERFLY MUCH?: Named after the world-famous opera by Giacomo Puccini about a Japanese woman falling in love with an American lieutenant, this opera is the bane for all Asian women, as it started the stereotype of the submissive and gentle Asian woman who dies for the white man at the end. This count is especially in regards to Park's Korean mother, who is pretty much a Madame Butterfly-esque character. Basically, this is for everytime an Asian woman is shown to be submissive and meek.

HERE COMES MISS SAIGON: Now this comes from the Broadway musical Miss Saigon, which was adapted from Madame Butterfly, with the setting changed to 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War. And yes, it's about a Vietnamese bargirl falling in love with an American GI. And just like in Madame Butterfly, the bargirl dies at the end after being abandoned by the white man. This is for the story of the relationship between Park's parents. Park's mother is Korean, but his father is a white soldier who brought her to America during the Korean War. So it's got a whole Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow kind of feel to it.

ORIENTALIST BASTARD: This is because Eleanor herself is simply orientalist and racist. She makes some pretty offensive jokes with the word 'oriental' and brushes off Asian characters who try to call her out. This also goes for the ways in which she describes Park and his mother. The ways in which she describes them are kinda creepy, to be honest.

FETISHIZING BASTARD: Kinda obvious, isn't it? This is for any time an Asian character is fetishized as exotic and submissive, whether they're man or woman.

DRAMATIC ANGST: Because Eleanor and Park are misfits, they both face some sort of angst. Eleanor comes from an abusive family while Park hates his Korean side because he looks too feminine. This is for times whenever either of these issues show up.

I'M DOWN WITH DA HOOD, YO: Eleanor has two Black best friends who speak in very stereotypical AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), and the stereotypes are like what you'd probably see in a really bad sitcom from the 90's or 2000's. This is for everytime these Black girls act like the stereotypical Sassy Black Woman.

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!: This is for the various slurs throughout the book. There's both racist and ableist slurs, so the counts will go up everytime these sort of words appear in the text.

And these are the counts I have so far. However, I'm not going to be alone with the sporking, as I'm going to have a team of five people helping me out. So I hope to see you in the first chapter~!

Continue to: Prologue
missabnormal: (Default)
Okay, I'm planning to put the Halo sporking on a hiatus so I can focus my attention on sporking two novels:

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I want to focus on the racial issues in the latter and the anti-semitism in the former. Plus, Halo is getting a bit tedious with its excessive Mary Sue nature and all that. With that, I hope to see you in the next sporking~ :D
missabnormal: (Default)
Well, the title gives away everything, doesn't it?


Welcome back, everyone! Let's get started on the sporking of chapter 13!

We open up with Bethany talking about how she likes to be able to reconnect with Heaven at Sunday Mass. According to her, "kneeling in the pews and listening to the chords of 'Agnus Dei' brought me back to my former self. There was an airy tranquility inside the church that couldn't be found anywhere else. It was cool and calm, like being at the bottom of the ocean, and I always felt that as soon as I stepped through its doors, I was in a safe place."

First of all, it feels like you're at the bottom of the ocean? Sorry, but the bottom of the ocean is anything but peaceful. Have you seen the kinds of fish that live at the bottom? They're not pretty or cute; they're like mutants! So that metaphor's a total fail!

But okay. You say that you feel at peace when you go to church. I can buy that. My mom feels at peace whenever she says Hindu prayers or goes to the Hindu temple. Everyone has a place where they feel safer and at peace. For me, that place is my room, of course. But please try and use a better metaphor next time? Reading your 'bottom of the ocean' one made me cringe.

We also learn that both Bethany and Ivy are altar servers on Sunday while Gabriel helps Father Mel in giving out Holy Communion. A.K.A., the ritual in which churchgoers are given bread and wine (or grape juice), as it was Jesus' last meal. And after service, the three of them like to stay back and chat with Father Mel.

So one day, Father Mel observes how the congregation is growing, so Ivy suggests that people are starting to realize what's important in life. However, Father Mel suggests that they're following Ivy's example.

Oh, so you're getting more churchgoers who simply want to bone either Ivy or Gabriel?! Nice. It's not because they want to get closer to God, it's because they want to have sex with them. We're barely starting and I already wanna quit. Great. *deep breath* I need to keep going.

Gabriel says that the church needs no advocates, and it should speak for itself. *skeptical* Oh, really? Then how do you explain Jehovah's Witnesses? Or the people who try to give you Bibles while telling you that Jesus loves you?

The conversation gradually comes to an end when Father Mel says that he believes that God will listen to them. Gabriel tries to brush it off, not wanting to give away too much. *laughs in disbelief* And you say this after using your powers to control the weather, heal a bug bite, make an angry teacher complacent, and heal a girl in a car accident? SHOWING VS. TELLING, ADORNETTO!! You can't say one thing but then show something else! Where did you learn your writing from, Stephenie Meyer?!

Oh, wait...

Take notes: Twilight is NOT a good guide on how to write supernatural creatures or paranormal romances.

We move to the next day. Bethany states that Xavier has a sports meeting during the morning break, so she listens to Molly and Taylah talking about clothes! Oh, do keep talking about how I'm supposed to love shopping and clothes as a girl, Adornetto. I'm so interested.

I'll let Skwisgaar Skwigelf speak for me again.





Maybe I should make him a sporker as well? *gets an idea* After all, we all need hot Swedish sex gods to help us get through this sort of nonsense.

Moving on, Bethany unintentionally agrees to come with them for shopping and beach bonfires because she was so preoccupied. And then, we move to the fifth period!

I was glad when fifth period finally came around and Xavier and I had French together. I felt a rush of relief to be in the same room as him even though I knew I could barely focus. I desperately needed to talk to him now, even if I hadn't decided what I was going to say. I just knew it couldn't wait.

Anyways, Bethany struggles not to reach out and touch him, and that just sounds rather creepy, Adornetto. Bethany feels as if they're both magnets drawn to each other, and that resisting was more painful than succumbing. Yeah, you tell all that stuff, but you haven't shown me any evidence, Adornetto!

This is the most boring romance ever, it's like Edward and Bella's 'romance'! There's no realistic chemistry, no sweet moments of awkward flirting, nothing! There's more to this, though. Just be patient.

Xavier has sensed Bethany's strange mood, so he stays behind after class as everyone else leaves. And of course, "[a] few curious onlookers cast glances in [their] direction, probably hoping to pick up some threads of the conversation that they might report back to their friends as juicy gossip".

Or they're probably curious as to why there are two students remaining in the classroom when the teacher hasn't told them that he wanted to speak to them! Jeez, was your life a high school movie, Adornetto? No one does anything like this!

Once everyone leaves, Xavier tells Bethany that he tried to call her last night but got no answer. Why? He was worried about her!

Bethany's response is to fiddle with her pencil case, and Xavier suddenly puts his hands on her shoulders. Oh, great. Go ahead, never mind that she probably doesn't want to be touched right now!

He asks her what's wrong, so Bethany tells him that yesterday's accident drained her, but is feeling better now. But Xavier presses, telling her that he thinks there's more. And according to Bethany, "even in the short time [she'd] known him, Xavier was always able to read her moods, yet his own eyes betrayed nothing of what he was feeling."

Right, because women aren't allowed to hide their emotions in front of Their Man, but a man can be as stoic all he wants! Only men can have a Resting Bitchface, apparently! Yeah, tell that to Yamini, Adornetto. Her default expression is Resting Bitchface.

Bethany starts out with saying that her life is very complicated. Xavier continues to press her and- Look if she doesn't want to talk, leave her alone, dammit! God! What is it with men trying to force women to tell them their feelings?! Give her some space and she'll eventually talk!

Xavier tells her that he knows she has a secret, and then we get this!

I felt a sudden icy fear take hold of me, but at the same time a flooding relief. If Xavier already knew I was a fraud and a liar, it meant I'd failed completely in all aspects of our mission. Rule number one for all Agents of Light was to keep our identity a secret as we worked to piece the world back together-- exposure could result in all kinds of chaos. But then again, it could also mean that Xavier had chosen to accept me anyway and the truth might not drive him away.

*stunned* Okay...

First of all, why would you be relieved if Xavier found out?! You just said yourself that angels cannot be discovered by humans! I can't! I just... I'm appalled at how stupid Bethany is! Why is she such an idiot?!

*deep breath* Calm down. Keep going.

Xavier continues to say that it's obvious she's hiding something, and that it's upsetting her. He tells her that he'll respect her privacy, and Bethany tells him that it's not fair to him. She also feels that the thought of walking away from Xavier left a physical pain in her chest. She says she's trying to protect him, he says he can handle it, and- Dear God, is this supposed to be emotional?! Am I supposed to find this sad?! Is she supposed to Break His Heart to Save Him? All I'm hearing is whining! And it just goes on back and forth, back and forth!

This scene is trying to go for what Giuseppe Verdi captured in his opera La traviata, specifically, during the aria "Amami Alfredo!". In this part, the courtesan Violetta Valéry is supposed to break up with her lover Alfredo Germont, requested to do so by Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father. And yes, she has to go through the Break His Heart to Save Him route, so she has to write a farewell letter to Alfredo. However, Violetta can't tell him about how his father told her to break up with him, neither can she tell him about her tuberculosis. And of course, when Alfredo asks her what's wrong, Violetta is struggling to hold her tears back and asks Alfredo to love her as much as she loves him.

However, the opera makes this work because Violetta genuinely loves Alfredo. Sure, there's a huge timeskip between Acts I and II, and we don't see her falling in love with Alfredo enough to live with him outside of Paris, but Violetta expresses her emotions through singing. And it comes across as truly heartbreaking and sad because of that! Here, I don't get the same sort of vibe from either Bethany or Xavier! It's just coming across as annoying, clichéd, and repetitive!

(BTW: For those who are interested, here's a few videos of the aria. In order, the sopranos are Angela Gheorghiu, Maria Callas, and Renée Fleming. The tenors, in order, are Frank Lopardo, Giuseppe Di Stefano, and Ramon Vargas.)





As much as I'd like to discuss opera and GazettE, since I'm a cultured metalhead, I gotta get back to this! So, Bethany tells Xavier that he deserves someone who he can have an honest relationship with, and that is a good point. Bethany knows that because she is an angel, she'll constantly have to keep it a secret from him, and she doesn't want that. However, I'm not giving her credit for it because she's constantly pined after him and disregarded rules just to try and be with him.

Xavier asks her if she'd feel better if he kept his distance for a while, and we get this!

How fickle and contradictory human emotions were! I'd spent the last few minutes trying to suggest this very idea but now I found myself devastated by his readiness to walk away, even if his motivation was my well-being. I wasn't sure what reaction I'd expected, but this wasn't it. Did I want to see him drop to his knees and declare his undying love? Of course he wasn't going to do that, but I couldn't let him walk away. I didn't think I'd be able to stand it.

*explodes in rage*

Bethany, for the love of all that is holy, STOP WHINING!!!!





*pants, exhausted* Well, now that I've finished acting like Toki, I'm getting back to sporking.

Bethany says that she doesn't want to complicate Xavier's life, but he doesn't mind. Why? "Straightforward relationships are overrated".

So, you'd rather have a relationship built on lies and lack of trust?! Like Bella and Edward?! What is it with YA authors and their obsession with unhealthy relationships?!

Xavier decides to give Bethany something to help her make up her mind. And what is it? It's a kiss!

Before I knew what was happening, Xavier had brought his hands up to touch my face and was tilting my chin toward him. His lips brushed over mine with a feather touch, but it was enough to make me shiver. I like the way he held me; as if I were fragile and likely to break if he held too tight. He rested his forehead against mine as though we had all the time in the world. A delicious heat started to spread through my body, and I strained toward him, reaching for his lips again. I returned his kiss with passionate urgency and clung to him. I allowed myself to melt into his embrace and pressed our bodies together. His warmth was seeping through my flimsy shirt, and I could feel his heart beating fast.

I'm sorry, but I've read hotter kisses in fanfiction, both het and slash, than this. And what is this, is Bethany starting to feel horny? Again, this is not cute, or sweet, or even romantic! And in terms of passion, this is far from passionate or hot! And guess what? It helped Bethany make up her mind! Yeah, into breaking DIVINE LAW.

But Bethany doesn't care. She now tells us that even if it was seen as a serious transgression that was punishable by who knows what, it's less scary than being away from him!

Guys.

Bethany is willing to be cast out of Heaven by her Father all for the sake of a cute guy.

*shakes head* Just... keep going. You're almost done.

Bethany decides to tell Xavier the truth, because he deserves to know. After all, "Xavier had to see the uncensored version of [Bethany]; not the idealized version in his head". And yes, while it is important to let your significant other know all parts of you, the problem is that by doing this, you're going against divine law, you twit! Why?! Why is Bethany so stupid?!

Xavier asks her to show him, but she tells him not in the classroom. So she asks if he's going to the beach bonfire, to which he says that he was going to ask if she wanted to go with him, and she agrees to show him then! And with that, we're done!

Good God, this chapter was draining. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to reading slash porn between Skwisgaar and Toki (which is miles healthier and hotter than this 'romance') and watching GazettE music videos (which are hotter than Xavier ever hopes to be). I'll see you all in the next chapter!

Continue to: Chapter 14- Defying Gravity

Go back to: Chapter 12- Saving Grace
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