Professor Patanakul/Newman esl015-draft 2



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Yangxi Wang

Professor Patanakul/Newman

ESL015-draft 2

September 15, 2014

The two-sides of the contact zone

   In Mary Louise Pratt’s Arts of the Contact Zone, she illustrated some examples to define the advantages and the disadvantages of contact zone. She stated people used the contact zone to meeting cultures, clash, and grappling with each other to increase the peace of the world, but the opposite such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths are still existing in todays’ world.  From this article, there is no doubts the contact zone make the world changed. After read this article, Pratt want us to realize the importance of communication and contact nowadays. But in my opinion, the good communication and interpersonal skills are the best way to solve the problems.

    Although, the article is meaning for a lot of scholars, but there still has some fault in my thinking. As we know, Mary Louise Pratt is a famous professor in the University, but in the example which her son used the baseball card to open the knowledge window of adults, she said”schooling itself gave him nothing remotely as meaningful to do”. In my opinion, that means she thought the school education is not necessary, and she encouraged her son to accept the other way of study.

    In one hand, in Pratt’s article, she used her son as an example to show the contact zone benefits to people. When her son was a child, he used baseball card to learn the a lot of knowledge with his friend, it is a kind of contact zone. After I read this article, I realized the contact zone is too close in our life. For instance, our university is a contact zone, the students come from the different countries to gather together; they talk about their different cultures; they studied the different languages and  make friends with each other. Our dormitory’s RA is a pretty native American girl, with long brown hair and blue eyes. I like to chat with her, this is the first year I come to America, so I am unfamiliar with this school, but she always be patient to tell me the important rules and particulars. I still remember once I lost my student ID, and I did not know how can I apply a new one, I was so confused at that time, because I even cannot open Perry’s door. Then I came to get some help from my RA, then she taught me to go to a building to get a new card. Then I sent a hand-made traditional Chinese comb to her. In another side, nowadays the communicate of every country increased than many years before. For example, in China, I tasted the sushi and taco; I learned the Spanish from a  Mexican teacher and I played golf with my friends.



    In another hand, the contact zone also impair people’s benefits. Contact zone consists of global people, including the religion, the cultural difference and the different language they meet, clash and grapple with each other, it is difficult for them to stay in the same place with peace and happiness. Take my university life as an example, I meet a lot of international friends, they speak different languages and they have different habits and interests. So when we discussed some questions together, we always consider with our old thinking which comprising every individual nations’ culture,  at this time, some contradictions sparked of the heated debates. It is difficult to influenced someone’s thinking, much less the people who lived in the different culture background.

    The contact zone provide a chance for people to keep connect and share their lives to each other. After I read this article, I realized the good communication skills will take advantages to people, but the improper ways to communicate will harm people’s benefit.

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