Dictee means “dictation” or “to write down what is dictated” in French. The overall book is divided in nine sections referencing the nine muses of classical Greece, each one about a different woman in history. We are reading the section she writes about her own mother. Brief historical context: In 1905, Japan signed over Manchuria to China, taking it from Korea. In 1931, Japan then invaded Manchuria, China. Cha’s mom experienced this invasion and these differing national boundaries and we see this reflected in the section we are reading. Then Cha has her own experience with this as well see in 56-58.
45-53: Cha’s mother’s story.
56-58: Cha’s personal story.
Choose one question to respond to and be sure to ask your two debatable questions:
- What kind of personal experiences/personal struggles are both sections concerned with? How are the two sections of this chapter related? What is the significance of the photographs that start and end this text? Please use evidence in your discussion.
- Cha’s Dictee has many similarities to lyric poetry. Discuss some of the similarities [consider form and subject matter] and whether you think this is poetry or not. Please use evidence in your discussion.
- What is confusing or ambiguous about Cha’s text? Point to particular moments in your discussion using evidence. Why do you think she chooses to write like this? How might the form of her text be related to the subject matter?