Members | Sign In
ESL 5 Talk > ESL 5 Talk
avatar

Share Your Writing about "Barriers" and "Waiting in Line at the Drugstore"

posted Jan 23, 2012 19:10:24 by MaryAnne
I have been reading some great responses to these two readings. After I return your papers, do a few more revisions and share your writing here by replying to this topic. We can all learn a lot from each other for sure!

Thanks for the good class today. Most groups have posted their work, so take a look at the postings about
The Namesake!

MaryAnne
[Last edited Jan 23, 2012 19:13:28]
page   1 2 next last
22 replies
avatar
xiangtaoluo said Jan 24, 2012 03:10:13
Quote from "Barriers"--by Rolando Niella
" After asking them to repeat their serves many times,..., I dont give up, they will find an excuse to leave the court immediately, or they will simply tell me to forget it."

I had exactly the same experiences which the author hd. As an ESL student, when my English listening and speaking both were very bad, it was a really painful period. I had learned English for many years in China but didn't really know how to speak. The most important things for us were grammar, vocabulary and writing. So when I first got here, I had been depressed for a long time and had lost confidence to communicate with other people. The feeling was so strong, even if someone talked to me slowly, I would feel like they treated me as I was am retarded person and that was some kind of humiliation. Things has been changed little by little after my boyfriend insisted me to repeat our conversation everyday and to correct my pronunciation. And he made me understand that sometimes people didn't understand me because I used some written words instead of verbal words. Some of the written words were too formal for daily life. To understand me, people had to take a while to think about them. It brought back my confidence a little bit. After a while, when I broke the psychological obstacles, I was less nervous to speak. Now my next goal of improving English is to think the major subject in fluent English, not to translate.
avatar
MiwaNakamura said Jan 24, 2012 19:09:55
-Quote from "Barriers"
"This is a problem from which the only way to escape is by fully experiencing it. As in any sports, if you want to enjoy it, you have to practice until you master it."

Though I don't enjoy any particular sports, I can say this is the same in music. I took piano lessons from the age of 3 to 18. Sometimes, I felt bored to practice; however, after I mastered some favorite pieces, I really enjoyed playing the piano. Likewise, I hope I can enjoy English conversation someday even though I can't imagine how long I have to keep practicing.

-Quote from "Waiting in Line at the Drugstore"
"I did what I was expected to do: I waited, all the while hating it."

Though it was obvious that black persons were treated unfairly to wait until white persons were all served, the author could do nothing other than waiting since it was justified by law at that time. I experienced similar discrimination against women when I started my career. In my office, only women had to wear office uniform while men could wear any business suits. I really hated wearing it because I felt to be treated unfairly only because I was a woman. In my case, fortunately, since the law prohibited to treat women unequally, I refused to wear it, and finally, the manager decided to abolish such a bad custom.
[Last edited Jan 24, 2012 19:13:07]
avatar
MandyHo said Jan 26, 2012 18:11:17

-Quote from "Waiting in Line at the Drugstore"
P.17
"If any black wanted service whether for himself or, like me, for those he worked for-he simply had to stand and wait until all the white folks were served."

That is racial discrimination. African American Civil Right Movement is in 1955-1968,and it increases the right of black people. Two weeks ago, Hong Kong has rich and poor discrimination issue, D&G shop which is an international band shop did not allow Hong Kong people taking photos outside the shop because they did not buy anything. A person post the news on the Internet, so over hundred people went to D&G shop to have protest and protect their rights which is having freedom to take photos in public area. After two protect activities, D&G post apology enlightenment to calm down Hong Kong people emotion. Therefore, people have to speak out when they are in unfair situation.

P.18
"I picked up the food and wheeled back to the studio slowly. My mind was a fog- I had never begun a real book before. All the way back, I felt different from before."

I am happy that the author can have a chance to read books in the drugstore. Reading books can increase people knowledge and inspire their thinking. In the United States, many parents read the story book to their children before they go to sleep. Also, they go to the library with them to read the story or join the reading program in summer. They try to foster their children having reading habit when they are in childhood. I think that it is a good idea because children get used to read books, they will spent more time to study in the future.

avatar
MaiLuu said Jan 29, 2012 22:58:52
Quote from "Barriers"
“ I usually don’t react to a joke until it is too late.” It is really embarrassing me. In a daily conversation with my friend, sometime they laugh because a joke or something else, but I just don’t know why they are laughing, and I wondering that are they laughing me? Another embarrassing situation is watching some show on TV with native friends. I just don’t understand why they are laughing. What are they laughing? Are they laughing me? Am I funny?
“As in many sport, if you want to enjoy it, you have to practice until you master it.” It is absolutely right. Learning languages or sports, you have to practice very hard. It is not several days, but it could be many years. For example, I learn English more than 10 years in Vietnam, but when I went to America I felt like I didn’t know English. After studied almost two years in the US I feel a little bit better, but I have to practice a lot because I still can’t understand everyday conversation and my lesson in class. I don’t know when I can enjoy my English? When can I speak English fluently? And when can I understand every word people say? Everyone said that I just need time, I just keep practice, and I will see my reward.
avatar
BiruktawitBrookKe'rat said Jan 31, 2012 05:49:39
Brook
In the essay, “Barriers”, Rolando Niella talks about his difficulties and problems on communication with people in English. He tried to compare his English learning process with his ability of playing tennis. He found playing tennis was not easy and painful if he does not play well. However, he faced another bad situation that was more difficult than playing tennis. He had a big difficulty on communication with people in English. He mentioned his unpleasant experiences on speed and accent as an example. While people talk to him, he could not understand what they said because they speak too fast. Finally, he found both situations annoying and uncomfortable and he contributed a lot of energy and effort to make a change in his skill. In my opinion, when we see the situation as a foreigner and speak English as a second language, it is so hard to be familiar with the language including the accent, speaking speed, and being fluent quickly and able to communicate with different people. In order to create good communication skills in English language, it needs our daily effort. The more we practice and have confidence, the better we increase our ability. Just do not give up and not to feel depressed by our experiences as the writer suggests. I also agree with Niella’s conclusion, which is about keep doing more practices until we feel comfortable with that in order to be master on the skill and we will be happy in our effort and enjoy it at the end.
avatar
BiruktawitBrookKe'rat said Jan 31, 2012 23:59:36
Brook
Waiting in Line at the Drugstore
From this essay, I learned two important things. The first one is not to feel ashamed with ones identity and able to accept who you are. As we see from the story, James Thomas Jackson was working for the photography studio as a messenger to bring breakfast, coffee, and other things for the studio crews. However, Jackson found the drug store the main challenge for his young life. The drug store was located around the residential area where most white people lived. As a result, many white people shop in that drug store. Therefore, the black people do not have an equal service in the store. Even though Jackson and other black people were separated in the store because of their color, he accepted the situation as it was and obeys the store rules. For example, on page 17, the second paragraph shows how the store treats the white and black customers differently. However, his response was respecting the rule and waiting patiently until the whites were served. It shows the ability to accept things as they are that you cannot change and to be able to deal with it as one part of life. Secondly, I learned how to use difficult situations as an opportunity for a life change. This was the reason for Jackson that turns his life change for a good future. While waiting his turn until his order was ready, he starts reading the books from the bookshelves. After he started reading, he becomes more interested and curious to read the next pages on each morning. He realized his change in life after reading those books every day and he joined the library to read more books. Finally, he found himself in world of literature. Therefore, I learned that instead of focusing on bad situations, it is good to take an advantage of them and trying to accomplish something good in life.
avatar
Michelle said Feb 01, 2012 05:15:45
As a foreign student, language is the biggest problem in my life. As a result, I try to speak English with native speakers to gradually improve my English. In the article ‘Barriers’ the author Rolando Niella tells us his experience in the first year in college. I think we have almost the same situation with regard to language. Am willing to talk to native speakers because that is the best way to learn English but in the classes I took some students didn’t really want to be my partner. Most of the time they can’t understand what I say and I cannot follow them because they speak so fast. This makes conversation difficult. I remember I Yoga class I took last quarter the teacher told us to practice in pairs, my partner who was an American asked me to do some pose which we learned in class but I didn’t understand her. After that I asked her to repeat again and again, she just found an excuse to leave immediately. Because of incidences like this I feel frustrated sometimes but I am still in the learning process. Anyway no matter how bad they think my English is, I will try my best to lean and improve it in my daily life. However, there are still some people always like to judge the people who cannot speak English very well. For example, one day I was in the supermarket buying some stuff, when I paid for my purchases the cashier asked me ‘ Do you need a plastic bag?’ with incredible speed. At that time I didn’t understand what she said, while I was asking her repeated second time she acted unfriendly. It happened few times in my life, I can’t believe why they act that way to make the people who are not English speakers especially Asians feel frustrated. I think the only reason is racialism. In the article ‘Waiting in Line at the Drugstore’ the author James Thomas Jackson who is a black person tells us a story about his life in the United States when he was a child. I think racism is the problem in his life and it is also the same as me. Even thought they come from a developed country such as the U.S.A, France, and Germany and so on, they don’t have any rights to look down the people who comes from underdeveloped or developing countries. I am a teacher assistant in an after school program. The parents of the students come from many different nationalities; we communicate everyday so I think in the long run we will get along well each other and there will be no more racism in the world.
Happy everyday~
avatar
MandyHo said Feb 29, 2012 06:04:51
Waiting in Line at the Drugstore
P.17
“If any black wanted service whether for himself or, like me, for those he worked for-he simply had to stand and wait until all the white folks were served.”
That is racial discrimination. African American Civil Right Movement is in 1955-1968,and it increases the right of black people. Two weeks ago, Hong Kong has rich and poor discrimination issue, D&G shop which is an international band shop did not allow Hong Kong people taking photos outside the shop because they did not buy anything. A person post the news on the Internet, so over hundred people went to D&G shop to have protest and protect their rights which is having freedom to take photos in public area. After two protect activities, D&G post apology enlightenment to calm down Hong Kong people emotion. Therefore, people have to speak out when they are in unfair situation.
P.18
“I picked up the food and wheeled back to the studio slowly. My mind was a fog- I had never begun a real book before. All the way back, I felt different from before.”
I am happy that the author can have a chance to read books in the drugstore. Reading books can increase people knowledge and inspire their thinking. In the United States, many parents read the story book to their children before they go to sleep. Also, they go to the library with them to read the story or join the reading program in summer. They try to foster their children having reading habit when they are in childhood. I think that it is a good idea because children get used to read books, they will spent more time to study in the future.
avatar
Kathy said Mar 04, 2012 03:59:15
Barriers
Rolando Niella did a really good job on his Compare and Contrast essay Barriers. Before I read this essay, I never thought that tennis playing and English learning share so many commons. As a second language learner, I totally agree with Niella about the situations he mentions, such as people talk very fast when they first meet you, they don't understand what you are talking about, and it is really hurt when you try so hard but get no reward. Language is an art. Sometimes, we learn it but we just can not use it. Moreover, there are so many changes in it, and you can never stop learning. When I first talked to a native speaker, I encouraged myself. However, I could not under stand him, and he could not understand me netiher. Even I tried so hard to enplane myself, after so many times, people just did not talk with me anymore. As Niella said, they used "forget it" or other phrases which always hurt my feeling. I can not complain them with their reaction because I know if I decide to live in America, it is my own responsibility to learn its language. Last month, I went to San Fransico to attend the National Profolio Day which you can show your own art works to many famous private schools and you would get suggestions from them. Many high school's students went there to get help for their college applications. Rhode Island School is one of the best art school that so many people dream for. I spent three hours to wait in a line and the only suggestion I got was to take TOELF and get at lest 95 points to apply this school in a very main tone. They said if I could not pass English, they would not admit me, no matter how amazing my art works were. For other native speakers, they would tell them what they want to see in students' profolio; for me, even my works were better, they gave me no credit. It hurt me a lot. I tell myself thatt don't be frustrated. I still have time and I believe myself. That is why I love Niella's words: "I believe that in the long run there will be a reward, a better understanding of ourselves and the vital phenomenon of communication."
Waiting in Line at the Drugstore
Page 16
"I am black." Every time when I see this statement in an essay, somehow, it is always about racialism. This artcle also contains racialism. James Thomas Jacksone puts "I am black" before "I am a writer." Does it mean something?
Page 17
"Clean and sanitary as the drugstore was, I preferred the ghetto." I think it is ironic. People like clean and sanitary, but a clean drugstore could not give James the feeling of kindness or happiness. Ghetto is kind of mess, but it proved a "shelter" for these black people. The place had no problem; the problem in here was the attitude of people. When I came to America, I was shocked by the theory of freedom and equality. However, after I studied the American history and acknowledged the hard process of freedom's fighting, I started to understand how valuable this thing is. History can not be erased by time; the harm is always remained. Every time when I read something about racialism, I feel sorry, and I appreciated the live I have now.
Page 18
But during this period, something strange happened: my waiting time got shorter and shorter each morning. I could hardly get five pages read before my order was handed to me with - of all things - a sense of graciousness from the waitresses. I think James got the respect from people. Reading help people change, and I believe that reading also help people to get a peaceful heart. Before James read, he felt uncomfortable. He even used the word "hell" to describe his situation. However, at that time, he wanted to read more. Waiting in the line was not a torture for him any more; he enjoyed it after all. It also makes me to think. somehow, we have to do something we don't like to, but we need to make ourselves enjoy it. We need to be positive. If e are happy, we can see a different world.
avatar
Sammie Mao said Mar 10, 2012 07:39:44
Barriers

After I read "Barriers", I have realized that when you meet something that make you have hard time, please do not give up about it. The author, Rolando Niella, talks about having a difficulty of playing tennis and communicating with people. In the first place, learning tennis makes the author hurt his pride because he sees his friend who plays tennis gracefully and he tries to work hard of it. However, he cannot master it. In the second place, he finds out that he has a problem for communicating with people. That problem makes him isolate from people. If he talks to a person who has different level, that is a problem. Therefore, tennis and conversation both give him a hard time. He still does not know what to do, but he belives that one day, he will get success with both.

Besides, I had hard time for learning English when I came to the United States because English was not my first language. I remember that when I came to high school, I did not understand what classmates say. Similarly, even while I came to the classes, I did not understand what teachers talk about. Fortunately,I met one friend who speaks the same language as me. She taught me how to speak English. Also, she taught me how to write and read English, which took me more time to learn. Even though I could speak English, some words were hard to pronoun, which makes people are hard to understand what I say. So I needed to work hard to improve my pronunciation. Now, this problem still makes me have hard time. I work hard to enhance it, but I cannot get success. I hope one day,I can get success to improve my pronunciation. Pronunciation is a part of speaking skill. If your pronunciation is not good, you will have a problem for communicating with people. I will do my best to enhance my English even if it is very difficult for me to learn.
avatar
Jenny said Mar 11, 2012 01:26:39
Quan Luu
Journal #2
3/10/2012

Waiting in Line at the Drugstore


"Waiting in Line at the drugstore" delivers a meaningful message as a lesson to me. The story is not totally about wait in line to get things we want but it taught me how black and white were being treated differently at that time. However, I learn from Jackson about the value of time in his waiting in line. He learns new things and has a deep thinking about the world of literature in his life.
Jackson is black boy, he receives unequal treated from others specially white people. He has to wait in line at the drugstore until white people were all served. He cannot do anything because it was justified by law at that time. However, one day, he started to change his thinking about waiting in line because of all the worthwhile books on the shelves such as Out of the Night by Jan Valtin and The Grapes of Warth by John Steinbeck. All the books he read and all the time he spent with them helped him to become educated person at his young age.
I learn from him that waiting is not always bad things to do. We may feel irritated but if we find some useful thing to do like he was in the line, that can enhance ourselves. As I try to get in nursing program, it has 1-2 years waiting list. I can stop going to school for few years and find part time job to work but I do not want to waste my time. So I plan to be CNA and work in hospital to earn more experiences so I can enhance my studying as well as my career.
avatar
anazari28 said Mar 13, 2012 03:14:02
Ali Nazari
Response to Barriers
I agree with Niella in his essay about Barriers for learning. I believe the similarities and comparisons between speaking a foreign language and playing tennis as an amateur or a beginner was a great choice. In my own experience, there were situations that made me feel the same way in learning and overcoming the barriers associated with it that the writer mentioned such as late and improper reactions and the feeling of guiltiness when annoying and bothering other people with that. But, the point is that in speaking the foreign languages, social communications and cultural aspects make it more complex, particularly in the native communities because it includes the basic daily activities such as shopping and talking to colleagues and classmates as well as professional activities. However, in my opinion, these barriers are becoming less and less due to globalization and more communication between people from different nationalities.

Response to Waiting in line at the Drugstore
He lived during segregation that caused Americans of color to second-class citizenship. Color people had to tolerate a lot of presser at that time. They faced a lot of challenges .But Jackson never lost his hope, he fight for better life and never gave up. In the beginning of story Jackson says “The drugstore was the biggest challenge of my young life” and in the end of story he says, he was successful because of waiting in line at the drugstore. I love this story because he turned his challenge into opportunity that made him successful. Now , I am thinking and asking some questions at myself! How many challenges I have had so far, how many times I have just nagged and complained about them without spending some time about my challenges, They are really challenge , they are really big issues that make me unsuccessful person or just they could be opportunities for me that I can use them for better life. Inset of nagging and complaining I must spend my energy to reach my goals.
avatar
tommypngo said Mar 13, 2012 22:50:05
Barriers

ESL 05
1/17/12
Response journal #2
“This is a problem from which only way to escape is by fully experience it. As in any sport, if you want to enjoy it, you have to practice until you master it.”
I think “Barriers” written by Rolando Niella is one of the best textbook essays I have ever read so far. I really like how Niella expresses the difficulties of learning and practicing a new language, just like mastering a new sport. I also like how he gives very creative parallel examples such as predicting the opponent move, and then do a counter attack as in laughing to a joke in a conversation. Moreover, I totally agree with the writer that speaking a new language such as English is very frustrating. For instance, I have been in America for more than four years and I still have trouble responding to people when they ask me questions or when they tell me a joke; they sometimes don’t even understand what I am trying to say, and for most of the time I just say “never mind” or “nothing” because I feel embarrassed when repeating a sentence for so many times. After I read this essay, I feel lucky that people around me are actually trying to understand what I want to say to them, and they don’t usually say “forget it” like they don’t care. I learned that if I want to get out of the embarrassment I have to face it, I should not give up because like he said in his article “I believe that in the long run there will be a reward, a better understanding of ourselves and the vital phenomenon of communication.”
avatar
jingfuyan said Mar 14, 2012 05:44:58
Will
Barriers
As an international student, "barrier" is one of the few words I am very familiar with. For instance, language barrier is a big problem for me, just same as the author. Sometimes, when I have a short communication with someone, I can not get main point immediately. Also, some of those people are not patient with me because my slow speech. These things make me frustrated sometimes.
Second, when I read the situation the author had on tennis court, I recalled that I had similar experience with the author. The sport I always chose is basketball, so I go to valley church to play it every week. The problem is that I can not speak English and play basketball at the same time because I have to process these two things in my mind. Even though I have been studying English several years, I can not say whatever I want to say spontaneously. When I focus on defense, and then my teammate says something in English to me, I have to take few seconds to figure out what he says. The result is that after I know what my teammate says about, I have already lost my defensive position. After this kind thing happened several times, other teammates want someone else to switch with me. To be honest, it really hurts my feeling.

In short, "As in any sport, if you want to enjoy it, you have to practice until you master it." I strongly agree with the meaning of this sentence. For me, as an second language learner, if I want to speak English like a native speaker, I have to speak and use English all the time.
avatar
xuecheng said Mar 14, 2012 11:09:42
Barriers
Xuecheng Zhang

Daily conversation is a common problem for every international student. English is the second language for us, but nobody cares about that when they are talking to you. People would like to start a conversation with you, but few of them would like to continue the conversation when they find you couldn’t understand them. They will find an excuse to stop the conversation just because you did not react their joke in time. This really hurt sometimes. I love to talk when I play basketball. Once I talked with a young black man in the beginning of the game. He was a friendly man who loves to talk, and I tried my best to understand what he said, but I failed. He could only stop the conversation and smile to me because he found that I had no response. I love to talk, and I am not shy. I just cannot understand him. My parents are wondering that I don't have any native English speaker friends after stay in America for almost two years. The fact is it is easy to talk with a guy in the class, but you cannot find even a good topic with him after class. This is not just about language, but the culture. I find you can live very well in Cupertino if you do not know English at all, the only language you need is Chinese. There are a lot of Chinese, and it is hard to improve English conversation. Fortunately, I have some Indian and Korean friends, and this is actually really important for improve the ability of English conversation. The writer had a hard time like me, but he overcomes it. He wrote such a good article for us. I believe I will cross these barriers after practices.
Login below to reply: