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Cass, Under the Spotlight

R_Massey's picture

General Idea:

I plan to explore the different dimensions of the identity of Cass. I feel that she is a very underappreciated character. She is a woman that grew up under the thumb of her father and in the shadow of her friend but still finds the courage to stay true to herself. I think that it would have been easy to run away when things got hard, but Cass chose not to. I think that Cass exist as a point of comparison for Yumi's character but not simply for that purpose. Cass is a strong woman and should she was even a strong girl. In this essay I will delve into the novel and illustrate Cass's immense value as a character and the depth of thought that went into creating her character. Ozeki would not start a book with a non-essential character and I intend to illustrate her value through text evidence and personal analysis. Cass, having stayed in the envrionment that created her sense of being, is a great example of environment and identity because her environment is so much a part of her. Idaho is where she was born, grew and lives. I think it is safe to say that she has the strongest sense of connection to her identity through her environment.


Quotes of interest:

" the time she got to fourth, she had gained so much weight they made her the potato..You'd think in Idahoplaying the potato wouldn't be so bad -- in fact, might even be an honor, but it wasn't. Everyone knew that the side dishes were typecast...What is a potato? A potato is a fat, round, dumpy white thing, wrapped in burlap, rolling around on a dirty stage," (Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation, 7)

"Cass was in two other photos as well. The first had been taken at a birthday party, Yummy's, of course. Yummy was perched on a footstool in the center of the picture, surrounded by balloons and offerings. Cass sat on the horsehair love seat at the edge of the frame, so far over, it seemed like an accident that she'd gotten into the picture at all" (Ozeki, 35)

"She took a deep breath, stroking the long, faded strands of his hair and tucking them behind his ears. 'You really want to go through it all again?' 'There's always a chance. We gotta operate on that assumption, right?' 'Right.' She released him. 'Until we don't.' She started to walk away, but he reached out and grabbed her. 'But safer is better, right?' he insisted. 'No matter what.' 'Safer is better,' she agreed," (Ozeki, 98-99).


Ultimate Point:

To appreciate one of the many dynamic characters in Ruth Ozeki's novel and examine the significane of her role in the overarching message of the novel. I plan to investigate her identity in terms of her relationships (friendship with Yumi, caretaker role of Poo, wife of Will) and her personal identity (wanting to be a mother as a woman)


weilla yuan's picture

Rachel's idea about Cass is interesting that she is the character whhose identity is the most influenced by the environment. Cass has a hard life that nobody treat her importantly. Her parents abuse her, the classmates make fun of her, but she grew out to be such a strong woman. Her claims of the essay might be to argue that Cass is actually an important character in the passage that got influenced by the environment the most, but not the side dish.