Amy Tan's Essay 'Fish Cheeks'

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As many Chinese-Americans grew up in the 1960’s, one women described it best in her multiple literary works. Bestselling, Chinse-American writer, Amy Tan in her autobiographic essay, “Fish Cheeks”, illustrates her humiliating experience at a Christmas Eve dinner at the age of fourteen. Tan’s purpose is to interpret the idea of how her mother cared for Tan deeply and wanted her to be proud of her Chinese heritage and family. She adopts a nostalgic tone in order to engage relatable thoughts and feelings in her adult readers. Even decades after the essay had been written, readers can still relate to the embarrassing situation that Tan had to face.

Tan begins her narrative essay by retelling her teenage crush on the local minister’s son, a blond boy named Robert. She expresses how much she wanted to be with him, as well as implying that she insecure of her Chinese features, more specially her wide nose. She appeals to the sentimental feelings of the audience of how much distress she felt once her parents announced that they had invited the minister’s family over for Christmas Eve dinner. Tan describes her fear of how Robert, may think of her and her family once she sees the traditional Chinese meal set out, since the …show more content…

In the beginning, the story shows an innocent crush between two young teenagers, and turns the main lesson into being proud of your family and your heritage. In Tan’s case, being Chinese helped her realize that her family is not something to be shameful of, although she was wanting to look and act more like a white American. Years after she got over her crush on Robert, she had realized that it was not worth to change herself for a boy, because she was embarrassed of her family. Many readers have taken the lesson as; Some things you would not understand when you are younger, make much more sense when you are

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