“Ink”

“Fine. How do you know she’s not with you only for the advantage you provide? You know, like getting around the restrictions?”

“Jesus, Cassie. I can’t do anything like that for her. I had to move to a different part of town just so we can live in the same apartment.”

“Well, then, what happens if you get married, have kids? Have you thought what it’d be like to see your children tattooed and monitored like all the other inks? Because at a quarter ink, they’d still be subject to it, Finn.” (Vourvoulias 23)

This passage comes from Finn’s chapter when he is talking to his mom and sister about his new relationship with Mari. Mari is forced to live by all of the restrictions put on inks, even though her father is an American citizen. Cassie asserts that if Mari married Finn, a citizen, she could possibly get out of some of these restrictions. Even though this story is fictional, it is very similar to America today and all of the immigrants that come here. The inks in this story are treated worse than the immigrants in America, but they live similar lives. Both inks and immigrants are treated differently than citizens. Inks are forced to abide by curfews, ride different buses and walk around with tattoos that remind everyone that they are not from America. Cassie and her attitude towards inks is a perfect representation of how inks are treated when they come to America. She doesn’t want Finn to marry Mari or have kids with her because then that means that his kids would be part ink. Cassie’s reaction to inks show that she would be embarrassed to have nieces and nephews who were “tattooed and monitored like all the other inks” (23). Cassie doesn’t seem to understand why Finn would take risks like that just to be with an ink. To Cassie, and other non-inks, it’s as if status is more important than love and doing what makes people happy. One interesting part of this passage is when Cassie says that quarter inks are still subject to ink restrictions. This is surprising because technically being quarter ink means that this person is more of an American than they are an ink. This goes to show any trace of ink in a person is enough for them to be considered an outsider and treated as such. In conclusion, Cassie’s reaction to Finn’s relationship with an ink is a perfect representation of how the citizens view inks and their place in a society where they do not belong.

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14 thoughts on ““Ink”

  1. I really like how you bring up that there are parallels between how people would view immigrants in our world and in the story. I totally agree with you in the way that people would rather judge someone in our world for loving an “outsider” due to status than just being happy for them and their relationship.

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  2. The way the inks are treated very much remind me of how the Jewish people were treated in Europe during the World War 2 period, and how they were forced to wear the yellow star. Just like the Inks, they had time restrictions and were only allowed in certain shops and certain places of the cities. The way Cassie refers to the ” ink blood” also reminds me of how a person with an infectious disease would be treated. Whether or not the person is early on in the disease or in the last stages, he/she is still contagious and infected and people will always avoid them or view them with disgust.

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  3. I agree that the restrictions placed on the inks are a somewhat exaggerated version of how immigrants are treated in America today, though the current course of American politics could mean that his world could become a reality. However the tattoos reminded me more of how Jews living in Nazi Germany were made to wear stars to identify themselves and perhaps the book is meant as a warning/wake up call about the possible future of American immigration policy.

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  4. I agree with your analysis and I can see how this passage relates to segregation between African Americans and white Americans, especially in the case of being partially ink. In school, we learned that many times people, who were a quarter or an eighth African American, were treated as if the majority of their ethnicity didn’t matter. They had to sit on the black side of the bus even though technically they could’ve sat on the white side. Same goes for treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. The Nazis would look at the lineage of people to determine if they had Jewish ancestry, no matter how little or long ago. Just a hint of Jewish ancestry would make you a target. I seems so strange that one race could possibly “taint” another even though we are basically all human beings with the same bodies and emotions.

    -Serina Thomas

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  5. This review reminds me of a 60 Minutes episode involving immigration and marriage. It also reminds me of the Plessy v. Ferguson case, specifically the fact that Plessy was 7/8 white and 1/8 black and yet was forced to sit in the colored car, just as quarter inks are still subject to ink restrictions. Sadly, I have not yet read the book, so I don’t know what an “ink” is. However, your comparison of inks to immigrants make this story relevant to today’s issues, especially with Trump and the current election. Good job analyzing the text and giving me a peek at what’s inside.

    Jiapeng Zhao

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  6. I agree with the parallels between the way immigrants are seen today and the way they are treated in the story. In particular this passage was interesting to me in how suspicious of Mari Finn’s mother and sister were. There did not seem to be a single bit of understanding or compassion in their opinions. Their only reaction was to question Mari’s motives, thinking that she was trying to take advantage of Finn’s citizen status. I thought this was rather similar to how some people in the US tend to view foreigners.

    -Justin Wright

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  7. I think I liked this blog the most because of how well you incorporate not only the emotions of Mari and Finn, but also the emotions of Cassie. Cassie does not, as you mentioned, seem to understand why Finn would choose love over being practical. She thinks it would just be easier if he would marry someone who was not inked at all, but sometimes its not about what is easy. I also liked the parallel you draw with our world today and the restrictions our society has placed on things such as interracial relationships. I read a story last year called “passing”, which followed the story of a woman of mixed race (african american and caucasian) who was very light skinned and could “pass” with her caucasian background because she was 1/4 african american. The main point of the story was to prove that some find it easier to be able to identify one way or another and I think this point is made as well in Finns chapter, with the practicality of marrying someone who was 1/4th inked, making their children also part inked and would not have a choice but to identify with the inked. Just as in “Passing”, there were many challenges in having to choose a side and I believe that is why Finn’s family believes he should choose someone who would make his life “easier”.
    ~Ashley Berry

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  8. There are a lot of elements of this story that remind me of various aspects of the present and the past. While it is quite clearly an exaggeration of today’s sentiments toward immigration, I also found it very reminiscent Nazi Germany’s handling of the “Jewish Problem”. While inks aren’t being shipped off to concentration camps, the barcode like tattoos that represent numbers speak strongly to the tattoos of concentration camp prisoners. I also found this similarity in the quote mentioned here, the idea that even just partial ink, is still considered ink. As I was reading the book, I felt that while it was certainly addressing social issues in regard to immigration today, it was all trying to draw parallels to events that have happened in the past. Going a long with the cliché that history repeats itself.

    -Siri N

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  9. I thought this was a great passage to pick because it shows the Americans’ true views of Inks. They are horrified and weirded out that Finn could love an Ink and they stress over the strain this relationship could have on Finn’s reputation. They automatically assume that Mari is using Finn. They point out having to watch Finn’s children suffer from being a tattooed Ink. The Inks’ tattooes exemplify this ideal that they are tainted by their origins. Even the slightest bit of immigrant history is used to isolate Inks from the rest of the Americans. It’s ironic because all Americans (besides Native Americans) are actually descendants of immigrants.

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  10. I found this passage was very interesting. It demonstrated the sensitivity and in my opinion in subtle hints of racism that take place every day in American society. While reading, I found it upsetting that Finn’s family couldn’t see past the fact that Mari was an ink, so she could only be using Finn to get lighter restrictions. I also couldn’t help but to think about the how some “leaders” in today’s society view immigrants, for example Donald Trump’s plan for immigration reform, and just how sad it can be that immigrants are seen under such a negative light just because they may not be the same as you.

    Caitlyn Moss

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  11. I agree with your blog post, I found it very interesting to see that we both had similar thoughts pertaining to this reading. I like how you compared the inks in the story to immigrants in our country today. Although Inks are treated a lot worse, like you stated, I think it is important to notice the similarities, especially with the new voice in politics, Donald Trump. Segregation and racism play a big role in this story and unfortunately still plays a role in our society as well, its just hidden by whispers and looks and “laws”.

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  12. I agree with this analysis! Much like Jewish people in early world war II, inks to are mistreated. While Finns mother and sister are questioning mari’s motives, it is apparent there is confusion for loving an ink in the first place. I also found it interesting that inks are one quarter American, which makes them more of an American than ink. Clearly this exemplifies the struggle for immigrants in the both current and past society!

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  13. It’s interesting how the treatment of the inks reflects certain topics in our society today. It parallels to the treatment of certain minorities currently. In the same way that the ‘black lives matter’ movement is taking place, the inks are getting treated differently as well by being monitored.

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  14. I like how you brought up Cassie’s indifference concerning Finn and Maci’s eventual marriage. Her condemnation of the two getting married due to race is a prevalent issue still plaguing our present society. Many people today are still racist and do not approve of interracial marriages because, as Cassie said, they do not want their grandchildren to be half and half racially.

    Nicole Schmalz

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