The short story, “Tags” by Walter Dean Myers presents the ghost of Big Eddie as a round and dynamic character. To start off, Big Eddie is shown to have emotions inside of himself, even though he is in the afterlife. The story is set in a place where the dead walk upon the living, with “Tags” being the way people could remember the deceased. Big Eddie confirms this by saying, ‘”When that old dude told me you could still be in the world as long as people kept you in their minds, I knew what I had to do. They see these tags and they remember”‘ (Pg.74). Eddie explains how he knows that if someone makes tags, people in the non-deceased world remember them. This reveals how Big Eddie is someone who has hidden emotions by hinting that he fears being forgotten in the world, further developing his character. Additionally, Big Eddie explains how he died, which is able to make the reader to figure out more clues about the character. Big Eddie claims, ‘”I told this dude to meet me in the park and he said okay. When he showed with the money, I tried to take him off, and he flashed a badge on me.’ ‘A cop.’ ‘Yeah. I had my piece out and was about to hit the dude, when his partner shot me”‘ (Pg.74-75). Big Eddie opens up that he was someone who was killed by a police officer for selling drugs and attempted assault. This unlocks the fact that Big Eddie was someone who was caught up in the criminal lifestyle and paid the heavy price. This is able to make Big Eddie much less admirable, but a much more depth character. To finish off, Big Eddie is able to show more feelings about himself, unlocking a new door in his mind. In the story, different characters are explaining to each other how they died, with a few of them freaking out about what happened. Big Eddie does not freak out but he does say this, “‘Being alive ain’t tagging. Being alive is walking the damned streets, and making love, and listening to some music. This is just hanging on to what you know already is gone. This ain’t nothing like no life”‘ (Pg.83). Eddie realizes that this life in the afterworld is much more than being alive. This predicts that Big Eddie regrets his actions that caused him his death. He realizes that the rest of his afterlife is in shame and pain. He can never go back, which makes the reader come back to respect him once again because he is ashamed of his actions. These pieces of evidence prove that Big Eddie from “Tags” is a round character in the story.
In the story “Kodama’s Ramen Shop,” by Ellen Oh, the grandmother is a dynamic character because by the end of the story she changes her attitude towards her non-Japanese family members and her attitude toward Korean food. Obaasan, as she is referred to in the story, realizes how much it hurts her granddaughter when she makes derogatory comments about aspects of Korean culture. There are many instances throughout the story where the main character, Jessie, talks about how her grandmother is racist, and has never treated people such as her mom or aunt well. “Auntie Mio was half-Japanese and half-Black, and although Mio spoke perfect Japanese, Obaasan never let her forget that she wasn’t 100 percent Japanese.” (160). Although Jessie’s Aunt was family, her grandmother never respected her because she was racist, and didn’t like anyone who wasn’t entirely Japanese. She wouldn’t let her help with certain things in her ramen shop because she did not trust that she would be able to do them well. Jessie resents her grandmother for always being rude to her late mother, who was Korean, and always hating her food. “Obaasan hated Korean food, but she seemed to hate kimchi the most. Jessie’s mom had to buy a small kimchi refrigerator and put it in the garage because Obaasan wouldn’t allow it in the kitchen.” (162). One day, a Korean customer came to their family’s ramen shop and asked for a spice or condiment like Kimchi to spice up the ramen which really infuriated Obaasan who insulted the customer under her breath. This was the final straw for Jessie who finally expressed her true feelings about how her Grandma mistreated Jessie’s mother simply because she was Korean. The explosive confrontation between Jessie and Obaasan led to Obaasan being hospitalized and then realizing that she has acted poorly toward people simply because they were of a different race. She realized her poor and unfair treatment of Jessie’s mother could ruin her ongoing relationship with the granddaughter she loves so dearly. “I was such a fool. I let my pride ruin everything, and I let my pride ruin everything… Will you teach me her kimchi recipe?” (177).
For many years, we used the Blogger platform for my classes. Since it is owned by Google, it integrates pretty seamlessly with your Google accounts — which made it easy to use, in some respects — but it is a very limited and bug-ridden platform. So we have decided to construct a new class blog from scratch using the most more powerful and stable WordPress platform.
If you are interested, though, in seeing what past American Studies students have been thinking and writing about, feel free to wander over to Take Control of Your Culture.
You can also check out my senior AP Lit students who are presently blogging over at Story Power.