My trip so far…

Dear Stacey,

You would not believe the culture shock I’m currently having! My trip to Cancun has been a nonstop party and I have gotten to meet new people! The city itself is around the beach, which makes it convenient to go to and you can’t walk around without running into locals selling their homemade products. I actually bought you a Virgin Mary rosary; I’ll post it on Instagram later, so you can have a souvenir. I think you would really like it here and it’s not too late to jump on the next flight out!
I know you said you have a history report due soon but did you ever think you could finish it here? Basically all I know is that Cancun was a name derived from the Mayan population before they died off; It was on a brochure. You’re report will also look better if you were to come and talk to the locals; I’m sure they would admire us with their hospitality. It’s truly a blessing for the citizens of Cancun that we even come to their city! Honestly, they need all the help they can get. Being here for only two weeks I can already tell how corrupt the city is hence why I only party in the resort; you should do your report on this issue. But then again, maybe it’s not all bad? The beaches are beautiful that it makes me want to live here despite everything else. I would tell you about other things I’ve done in the city but it would be rude to remind you of all the fun I’m having.

It’s interesting, I spontaneously decided to go snorkeling for the first time and it was life- changing! I’ve been feeling rejuvenated and can somewhat see the potential this city may have if we decided to stay here. My husband would probably agree seeing as it’s a business opportunity to expand his company. Oh my, I can’t believe I let that slip out! I actually got married to Robert before arriving in Cancun; he’s just so tall, muscular, rich, obviously white, kind, and so many things I can’t think of right now. Anyways, I haven’t even told you the reason why I’m writing this letter but trust me you’ll want to hear this.

Apparently, I was told that Cancun is like a gold mine for eternal- happiness and I need a lot of it. It’s been a stressful year not only with my job promotion at Apple but also all the first world problems I use to victimize myself. That’s truly why I want to move to Cancun, it would give me a chance to pursue my passion in helping others and simultaneously look better in comparison to my work colleagues. You should let them know I’m extending my vacation time the next time you clock in for work. I also think the locals can learn from our American customs like our language, unseasoned food, and maybe privilege? Anyways, i’ll talk to you soon and tell everyone at the office not to miss me too much!

Much Love,

Stephanie

 

Review

This letter was written as a parody of Phebe Gibbes’ Hartly House with the intention of pointing out Sophia Goldborne’s ignorance when visiting Calcutta, India. The story is sectioned into letters addressing her friend Arabella, who resides in England, and would ultimately be basing her views of Calcutta through Sophia’s impressions. While some statements are direct criticisms of Sophia’s character, “first world problems” and “privilege”, I also indicated some phrases where it requires further analysis. As I wrote, “Being here for only two weeks I can already tell how corrupt the city is hence why I only party in the resort”. It’s contradicting how the sentence indicates a negative view on the foreign land and at the same time not learning about it prior to the critique. Phebe Gibbes does something similar in her story because Hartly House is praising a foreign land, which should be praiseworthy, but the effects lead to false attraction. The attraction Sophia feels for Calcutta can, and does, manifest into feeling insecure about her own English customs and trying to reclaim those. My parody has been modernized by replacing Calcutta with Cancun and also the two women for the sake of keeping some of the original elements of Hartly House. There are instances in Hartly House where Sophia discusses her “new world” experiences with Arabella but does it as a way to brag and prove her worth. My parody switches off from praising Cancun and the locals to concluding that the city is corrupt and needs “saving”. The overall mix of emotions towards Cancun, in Stephanie’s letter, suggests that without trying to educate one another or being open-minded we will never get past our ignorance; same concept can be applied to Sophia’s letter. If characters like Stephanie and Sophia were to learn more about the foreign lands they visited would they still have the same ideas they chose to speak? Literature of Power is an aspect that writers such as Phebe Gibbes gear towards; the purpose of writing a story intended to move readers emotionally. That emotional movement cannot exist if we’re not being honest with one and if we’re lacking empathy towards a group or setting different to eurocentric standards.

-Kristy Frausto

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