To bee or not to bee? – A question of identity

15 Jan

I did not want to make my previous post too long, so I decided to create another post on identiy.

While I was researching a little about Little Bee online, I came across Chris Cleave’s website, where he answers questions on his novel.

One of the questions was: Is Charlie/Batman based on your own children?

To this question, Cleave states that Charlie is included in the book for two reasons. One, he is funny and lovable, he is the reason why Sarah does not just abandon Andrew to go live with Lawrence. The second reason however, he states is because “Charlie is a study in the early formation of identity. Little Bee is a novel about where our individuality lies – which layers of identity are us, and which are mere camouflage. So it’s a deliberate choice to use the metaphor of a child who is engaging in his first experiments with identity – in Charlie’s case by taking on the persona of a superhero”.

I think this shows the imporance of identity in the novel.  I just thought I’d share this with you guys, I thought it was really neat. If you would like to know more about the background of Little Bee, visit his website.


Tell me your real name

15 Jan

Earlier this week, I made a post on the notion of identity and names in The Namesake, Hamlet, and in Little Bee. In this post, I wanted to address a little more about the significance of the names in the novel.

For example, the name Little Bee (the name she gives herself), symbolises several ideas, it symbolises the newly acquired freedom she gets when she ends up in England. There is a section of the novel where Little Bee mentions she feels like a bee with her wings cut off. I believe this part highlights the lack of freedom she possesses at times such as in the detention center and in Nigeria.

However I also noticed that wherever she goes, she ends up bringing her problems along with her. In the same way, a bee will go to one flower and get pollen, and it brings it to another flower, and so forth. From the very beginning of the novel, Little Bee carries forward all her problems.

Also, Little Bee Is not her real name, and as I’ve mentioned it before, it is her way of hiding from the past and moving on. She also does not reveal her true name until the very end of the novel. Part of the reason, is because she is afraid, she is afraid that the officers and Nigerian people will find her if she keeps her real name.

At the end of the novel, she reveals to Charlie and the audience that her true name is Udo. She explains that the meaning of her name is “peace” and she says “peace is a time when people can tell each other their real names” (265). I think the reason why she only reveals her name at the end is to show that she is no longer afraid of anything.

Names Names Names!

13 Jan

In the past weeks, I’ve read the Namesake and Hamlet. In both of these novels, there is a reoccurring theme of identity. The characters are ultimately trying to figure out who they truly are.

For example, in the Namesake, during Gogol’s search of identity, he changes his name, and realises that the change in this name affected who he was, however, the past could never be erased.  In Hamlet, Hamlet is debating the revenge of his father which is ultimately his quest for identity.

Similar ideologies can also be seen in Little Bee, where the protagonist changes her name to run away from her past. In one section of the book, Sarah – the second main character- states “Taking Andrew O’Rourke’s name was the second real decision of my life, and it was wrong. I suppose Little Bee would understand me. As soon as we let go of our real names, she and I, we were lost” (124)

I believe this section really highlights the importance of one’s name. While I was reading it, I immediately made the connection with The Namesake.

When Little Bee is running away from home, she feels as she has to change her name to make her forget about her past. However,  once she does change her name, she no longer belongs in Nigeria, but neither does she belong in England, she is truly lost. She feels as a completely different person. This shows the importance of her name. Furthermore, Sarah also feels lost when she takes on her husband’s name, she feels as though she has lost her past, she was no longer the women she was before her marriage.

I guess this is how Moushumi would have felt when she married Gogol. She did not want to change her last name to Ganguli because once she did, she would lose her true self, the identity she had created for herself.
When I was reading that part, I didn’t quite understand her motive, but now it makes more sense.


Little Bee

10 Jan


We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.
                                                                                     – Little Bee

A new way to Perceive

9 Jan

So, recently we have started reading the book for our summative and my book is called Little Bee. The goal of this project is to read the novel through a lens, and comment on it.

I find it so ironic, but here is a picture of one of the few cover versions for the book:

When I looked at it, I immediately recognised the white face inside the black face. The white face acts as the eyes of the black face. That is when I thought that in the cover, it seems as if the African girl is trying to look at the world through a British girl’s point of view.

This idea is similar to our summative task. Although each of us read a novel through our personal lens, for this task we have to take a step back and perceive ideologies, themes and the meaning of the book through another perspective.

Well, this is what I wil be doing for the next two weeks, reading Little Bee through a lens: My Personal Lens.

Well that’s awkward…

19 Dec

I thought this was funny

A little about Ophelia

19 Dec

Ophelia can be considered a tragic character. She is almost seen as a convenient  tool to be exploited and manipulated by her father. In the kingdom, everyone uses her to get information out of Hamlet. Poor Ophelia…

During the third act, Ophelia becomes mad, however, is it because of her father’s death or the loss of her love Hamlet?

It can be argued both ways, but I believe it is because of Hamlet. Ophelia TRULY loved Hamlet, even though her brother Laertes warns her against him. She becomes distraught and heartbroken when Hamlet informs her that he doesn’t love her.  Furthermore, there is an indication that she might have been pregnant during that time, which is why she goes mad. While Hamlet talks with Polonius, he tells him that ‘Conception is a blessing, but as your daughter may conceive – friend look to’t’.  After the incident with Hamlet, Ophelia is constantly mourning.

Despite the fact that Hamlet is the main reason for Ophelia’s madness, the death of her father also influences her, since it is after the death of her father that she fully goes mad.

Although Ophelia is mad, she also shows a lot of insight. In the play she is associated with flowers. In the third act, she goes around giving each character a flower. Each flower is different and possesses a different meaning. The thing that is interesting is that the flower she gives each of the characters represents them very well… Has her madness given her knowledge about each character?? I don’t know, but it’s for sure very bizarre. In connection with the previous comment about how she could possibly be pregnant, Ophelia keeps rue for herself. The flower rue is linked with abortion. Also, even when she dies, she dies surrounded by flowers and weeds.

The use of Ophelia in the play, truly portrays the use of women during that era. Women are seen as the weaker sex. They are often manipulated by men and are forced to obey them at all occasions.


12 Dec

Don’t worry this post it not about math for all you English lovers. 

I was just doing my math homework on identities… and guess what? I don’t know if this is a coincidence or the unconscious collected mind, but the idea of identity is also present in my English class.

I know I know, no one likes doing math but there’s something interesting…

In class today, I was trying to prove one identity and I did, then my friend asked me to help her and when I looked at her work, she did it a completely different way, however she still got the right answer!

I realized then that identities can be proven in various different ways, it all depends on how the person looks at it and thinks about it. Similarly to Hamlet who states that “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”

Just like the saying “All roads lead to Rome” , I believe there are several ways one can go through to find their

Throughout this English course, we’ve been discussing the notion of identity and how it is developed, well, it can be thought of as the development of a trigonometric identity: it all depends on the person.

In Great Gatsby and the Namesake, the protagonist create themselves an identity by changing their names. In Hamlet, Hamlet is trying to figure out his identity in the development of his revenge plot. As we discussed in class, seeking revenge is ultimately Hamlet’s quest for identity. It is his way of living up to his father’s wishes and it will show what he is determined to accomplish in life.

Facebook and Hamlet

11 Dec

I found this online and I thought it was quite hilarious:

There is also one that is better, but I couldn’t post the picture so I put the link below, please check it out !!

Who’s in Control?

4 Dec

As a class, we have recently started to read Hamlet.

Hamlet explores the idea of several human experiences, one of which is the notion of Fate and Free Will.

Do you believe in Fate? Do you believe that the developments of events in your life are predetermined by a super natural force, or do you think that YOU are in control of your life?

These are the same questions Hamlet poses to himself. When he learns of his father’s death, and is told to seek revenge, he is conflicted. He doesn’t know whether to leave the situation in the hand of fate or to take control of his life and seek revenge.

I realise that several of Shakespeare’s other plays also talk about the idea of human choice versus fate.For instance, there is Romeo and Juliet, where the death of the two star-crossed lovers can be argued to be determined by fate or because of their own impulsive behaviour.

I had a hard time deciding what to beleive in, so I did a little bit of research. Here are a few videos on the notion of free will from a scientific lens

I realise that there are so many different ways one can look at free will.

I still can’t decide whether the events in my life happen because of fate or my own decision. However, I do know for a fact that my parents have a small belief in fate. I’ve noticed that when something bad happens in life, they always think in a positive way. They always tell me that things sometimes don’t happen the way we want them to, because there are better things to come .

What do you guys think?

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