Questions on Meaning
1. Taw’s birthday ritual is so important to him because a blind Buddhist monk predicted that his birth would bring prosperity to his family. He has “faith in [his] family and believes in honoring that faith in anyway [he] can” (Taw). 2. The dictionary defines “karma” as the belief that each person is rewarded or punished for the deeds committed during that their life. In saying so, Taw means that in staying true to the ritual, he gives up his own personal needs in order to help out and nourish another creature. 3. Taw’s thesis is in the fourth paragraph, when Taw states that “on a day normally given over to narcissism, I must consider my family and give nourishment to another living creature. The monk never meant for the ritual to be a burden. In the Burmese jungle, monkeys are as common as pigeons. It was only in America that feeding monkeys meant violating the rules” (Taw). 4. His purpose for writing the essay is to show that despite questioning whether he believes in ensuring his family’s prosperity by feeding monkeys, he believes in honoring the ritual and that faith, even if it means feeding monkeys on his birthday every year.
Questions on Writing Strategy
1. The effect of the first paragraph is that it introduces the short essay as something unique; it shows Taw’s dedication and makes the reader want to keep going. By saying “I could say,” he makes the essay more personal and much more subjective. 2. The anecdotes describing the problems Taw faced trying to feed the monkeys contribute to the essay because it shows that despite struggling to hold true to his ritual, especially in America, he manages to persevere and feed the monkeys every year, even if he has to go out of his way to do so. 3. Taw’s use of detail is definitely balanced in the essay. He elaborates on certain instances when he in describing the problems that he faced when trying to feed the monkeys in America; however, he doesn’t include as much detail when he is...
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