Meeting with Hanna Alkaf

1. How did Hanna’s talk develop /deepen/complicate your understanding of the issues surrounding the representation of minority or marginalized groups in literature/fiction/ the media?

Hanna provided several normal features of characters who have mental illness in fiction or films. Some of them appear stereotypically. Through the way of knowing these behind stories, I got to know more about the concept which I did not encounter before. There is a “cure” somehow can cure the illness at the end; any treatments are bad, the protagonist insists treatments make things worse; pills fix everything, suddenly everything gets better, and lastly the inspiration porn, to make readers or other people feel lucky for not having such mental illness.

She also pointed out a phenomenon, that I did not think about it before. The STIGMA- stops you from receive information that you need for help. This phenomenon often occurs through the process of publication and take medical treatment. That’s why all the women struggling with their mental illness did not go to see a proper doctor, she told us. Moreover, her research process was tough since the number and date of surveys she can get are limited. People do not want to share their stories with others, therefore, lack of information.

The way Hanna presented her ideology and concern to us is above the ordinary. As the topic she wrote is sensitive, sensitive enough to let most of the people who have mental illness trapped themselves inside. She revealed facts, including her personal experiences, that I did not know for the topic, such as what do these people really concern about.

2. What connections do you see between Hanna Alkaf and Sandra Cisneros as authors, and between their novels? 

Hanna and Cisneros both “put” their fictional characters into their living experiences. With the addition of attractive plots and the experiences of functional characters, their novel- The weight of our sky and House on Mango street both revealed bigger ideas of society through the narrative of life. This is why the analysis becomes interesting when we read the lines, it may seem simple, but when we dig to the deeper value, all the complex circumstances and social background appears.

As for the authors, they both had encounter impressive life events or realized the formation of their specific values. We might see these experiences and their ideology in their books. We can found these connections by reading Eszperenza’s growth story or Melati’s experiences after she is forced to separate from her mother.

One thought on “Meeting with Hanna Alkaf

  1. a thoughtful outline of Hanna’s ideas and your appreciation of them.

    Note that it is the word ‘trope’ that you need to explain the stereotypical representations of things.

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