Fan Shen in the article “ The Classroom and the Wider Culture”, goes over his experience in learning English composition and how he needed to reconcile his Chinese identity with an English one dictated by the rules of English composition. He found that what these rules really are is the values of the Anglo-American people, and by adopting these values, it will conflict with what he call it his “Chinese identity”. With this process of learning English composition he has got reshape his cultural background and to redefine his values and that was his main point.
One of the conflicts he has had is how his self is defined and the different in seeing the individuals between Chinese composition and English composition. In the Chinese composition “ 'I' is always subordinated to 'we', “ while in English you need to be your self, not somebody else. Another conflict he got was the use topic sentence. He had this conflict because of the different of the writing style and the audience of this piece of writing. In English, the people tend to do every thing fast since they are busy people; moreover, they want to know the main point quickly with some sentences to catch the reader's attention. In contrast, “the Chinese composition seems to embody the values of leisurely paced rural society whose inhabitants have the time to chew and taste a topic slowly.” For this reason, the Chinese composition is more of getting the topic slowly starting with explaining how and why the writer have chosen his topic, and going deeper and deeper in the topic until reaching the core. Finally, he mentioned a writing style called the creation of “yijing” that he found himself using in his early papers. This writing style, which is completely non-Western, works by sending pictures to the reader to imagine a certain situation. In conclusion, Shen started to learn the rules of the English composition by learning the values of American writing.
Shen's first... [continues]
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