While some would assume this meant she had equal exposure to both cultures, her Chinese heritage was suppressed as a result of racial bullying, leaving her identity elusive and uncertain. In an effort to discover her identity, she embarked on a spiritual journey, writing poetry along the way. Mother’s Jewellery Box writes of the beginning of her lifelong expedition. The poem is riddled with various stylistic features that play into the idea of the poem being in the bildungsroman genre. The first words of the poem are “the twin lids”, instantly addressing her
Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club explores the conflicts between two generations and two different cultures. Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club is a novel that touches upon the relationships and conflicts of Chinese mothers and their American raised daughters. As my essay will prove the split from one generation and the other relates to the process of Americanization that the daughters undergo, as well as the values and Chinese heritage that the mothers refuse to let go off. These factors will cause mutual suffering and in the end a generational gap between the two groups. The resulting generational gap animates the narrative, as mothers and daughters seek to appreciate each other, and their individual efforts diminish and contain the traumas depicted as precise of the maternal, Chinese culture.
The mothers wanted their daughters to keep their Chinese heritage and culture, but also take advantage of the opportunities they have in America. The daughters were often ashamed of their Chinese heritage, and the way that their mothers acted. Lindo Jong, the mother of Waverly, says, “But inside I am becoming ashamed. I am ashamed that she is ashamed. Because she is my daughter and I am proud of her, and I am her mother and she is not proud of me”(The Joy Luck Club 255).
As discussed in the previous chapter, cultural and language barrier have caused serious obstacles for the mothers and daughters. Not being able to see and think from each other’s perspective blocks the path to effective communication which result in silence between them. The focus of this chapter is to analysis in details of Jing-mei’s change after her mother’s death and her trip to China to meet her lost sisters, which symbolizes that her split identity is healed and her relationship with her mother is reconciled as well. The mother-daughter relationships between the other mothers and daughters in The Joy Luck Club will also be studied When Jing-mei is young, she is the same as the other three daughters - an outsider of their mothers’ world. She laughs at her mother’s “fractured English” and she “[grows] impatient” when her mother speaks Chinese (40).
Their internal conflicts with cultural hybridity and their shame at the secrecy of their family, prompts Kingston and Rodriguez to use writing as means of reaching a catharsis. The first lines of Maxine Hong Kingston’s story begin with "You must not tell anyone," my mother said, "what I am about to tell you. In China your father had a sister who killed herself. She jumped into the family well. We say that your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born."
Amy Tan is a Chinese American novelist, whose short stories portray the theme that it is not always easy to find the balance between culture, identity and heritage. This is seen through Amy Tan’s own life experiences and through The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Life and The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Many of the conflicts her characters experience transcend cultural differences and speak to the universal struggles of a wide and diverse audience (“Amy Tan”) The second of three children, Amy Ruth Tan, whose Chinese name is Anmei (Blessing from America), was born in Oakland, California, on February 19, 1952. Her father, John Yuehhan Tan, an electrical engineer and Baptist minister; her mother, Daisy Tu Ching Tan, a vocational nurse, immigrated to the United States . Although her parents were Chinese immigrants, Tan grew up as an assimilated Asian American.
Without a stable family, life for Jeannette Walls and Adeline Yen Mah was disastrous. Though they both come from different cultural backgrounds, they share similar experiences of a tragic childhood. In Yen Mah’s autobiography, Falling Leaves, she recaps her life in a disunited family under a strict step-mother, Niang. Yen Mah tries desperately to distance herself from Niang by traveling to America, only to realize she can never free herself from her childhood pain. While Adeline came from a wealthy family in China, Jeannette Walls experienced a life with a disunited, poor family.
Similarly, in “Saving Sourdi” by May-Lee Chai, Sourdi’s mother’s traditional ways of living has made Sourdi to suffer through an abusive marriage. In both the stories, in which both families include a mother who is the first generation immigrant and the daughter who is an American citizen, their relation is very complex because of their distinct thinking. Jing-Mei’s mother has always had a very high expectation for Jing-Mei. Her mother
As Kingston was able to realize what she wanted to do in her life she broke or tried to break from the Chinese norms. From the article, The Woman Warrior: Claiming Narrative Power, Recreating Female Selfhood by Joanne S. Frye, “Kingston attempts resistance by trying to deny her femaleness, especially by breaking the established codes for female behavior: achieving academic success, behaving clumsily, breaking dishes, refusing to cook.” Kingston understood from a very young age that she would not be silent, that she would find her voice and do something with her life to make it
Admittedly, I was a child from a normal Chinese family raised with traditional upbringing. Mandarin is my mother tongue, and it is still the language that I can best transmit my thoughts and feelings. My diary, a record of my emotional states, whether it is joyous or sentimental, are written in Chinese. My parents do not speak English; they only know a few basic vocabularies. Sometimes they make fun of themselves saying that the only English word they can speak is “bye”, but in fact, the word “bye” and the Mandarin slang “拜拜” (derived from the English word “bye” and pronounced as “bái-bái”) has almost the same pronunciation.