The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose”, said Kahil Gibran, a Lebanese artist, poet, and writer. In other words, optimists see the more favorable side of the flower, the beauty of the rose, while pessimists focus on the negative parts, blinding their view of the beauty. Ha Jin’s poem relates to this because he illustrates the change from a pessimist to an optimist. In his poem “Ways of Talking”, Jin explicates the beauty that arises once we rid of our negative minds.
Jin uses the word “grief” to explain that we used to choose to lament, then we couldn’t help to, and finally we stopped doing so. Why did he incorporate “grief”? Why not “mourning” or “bereavement”? Grief is a response to loss, as is mourning; although, mourning results in a loss that produces a strong emotional response, one much stronger than grief . Grief is used because Jin is getting across that whatever causes it can be overlooked; we need only to find the positive in losses. He includes repetition of “talking about/expressing grief” to elucidate the stages of choosing to focus on negatives, being able to only see the negatives, and deciding to stop focusing on negatives.