One in a Million

For my found poem I decided to choose the widely controversial song, “One in a Million” by Guns N’ Roses. This song has provoked a large negative audience and caused the band to omit the song from many sets due to racist, homophobic, and anti-immigrant sentiments. The band said they will not change the lyrics because they want to maintain free speech and they believe people are just perceiving their feelings wrong. However, the words from the song, “immigrants and fagots they make no sense to me,” and, “that’s right get outta my way,” strongly suggest a hatred towards immigrants and homosexuals – adding to the controversy surrounding the song.

In my poem I decided to take parts of the lyrics and create a different meaning by turning the words of hatred into an immigrant’s dream of peace. I used the words to tell the story of how many immigrants came in chains (figuratively and literally) and tried to contribute to our country. The words, “we tried / to reach/ you,” are supposed to be the immigrant’s efforts to contribute to a new culture, although they are often underappreciated. To me, the words, “just / one in a million,” can mean an immigrant’s thoughts of surviving and being accepted in the United States. Finally, the end is about the immigrants’ dream of a more peaceful future.


The connection between the themes of ghosts and food, and how Kingston uses this to characterize Chinese culture

In The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, and the memoir “No Name Woman,” the theme of ghosts in Chinese culture portray a complicated history of the narrator’s family. Shaman includes the story of her Mother experiencing smoke spindles appear, acting as the ghosts her Mother talks about. She goes on to assign the word “Ghost” as a title to describe people. For example, Kingston writes, “America has been full of machines and ghosts- Taxi Ghosts, Bus Ghosts, Police Ghosts… There were Black Ghosts too, but they were open eyed and full of laughter, more distinct than White Ghosts” (97). This shows how the narrator’s perception of people in America are inherently negative as she compares them to ghosts. She has been told so many stories about ghosts from her ancestors that she does not know what is real or not anymore.

Kingston is shows how difficult it can be for the children of immigrants to balance the lifestyle of America with her Mother’s stricter Chinese traditions. The narrator wants to please her Mother, but struggles to make her happy while falling short of actually feeling like a part of her families’ culture. Tying into the theme of food, Kingston writes, “Oh, the shame of it- a whole family of skinny children” (102). Her Mother uses this as a reason to not leave leftovers on the plate, as a way of bringing her Chinese heritage into light. These traditions are fundamental in Chinese culture. The Chinese believe in pride of providing for the family, as in the necessity to put food on the table. This also contributes to China’s values of harmony and keeping the traditional family mindset.

What was alarming about this passage was not the startling of her Mother with the smoke spindles, but the connection Kingston makes between ghosts and food. Kingston states, “now I see that my Mother won in ghost battle because she can eat anything” (88). It was interesting to me how the narrator believes hunting for food and battling ghosts go hand in hand. She follows this up with stories from the Chinese Academy of Science of old servants and hunters that are heroes because they are eaters. Kingston writes, “All heroes are bold toward food… The most fantastic eater of them all was Wei Pang, a scholar-hunter of the Ta Li era of the T’ang dynasty” (88-89).  I thought of this as another meaning to the word “warrior” which is also a reoccurring theme in the text because the narrator is exposed to the importance of pride, hunting, providing, and tradition.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think the title “Ghost” means in the context of society? Is this label about occupation, race, or specifically Americans? What was strange about this section?
  2. The phrase, “All heroes are bold toward food” (88), stuck out to me because of the power behind the word “heroes.” This section caught my attention because it allowed me to think deeper about the seriousness of Chinese perception. What phrase or section stood out to you and why?

Hey I’m Mikayla!

Hey everyone! My name is Mikayla Cooper and I’m a Sport Management major, but I’m also interested in minoring in Outdoor Recreation. I’m from Oyster Bay, Long Island and went to Oyster Bay High School. I really enjoy sports, traveling, and being outdoors. Some of my interests include the TV show Friends, watching football, and listening to chill music.

I’d love to get to know all of you and I’m looking forward to this semester!