Summary Of Amy Tan's Fish Cheeks

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South Korea is the world’s plastic surgery capital with advertisements littering the walls of subways and increasing similarities in outward appearance among the workforce. Pressures are on for South Koreans and other Asians as family members nag and job applications routinely require an attached picture (Marx). Because of increasing interconnectedness and plastic surgery, cultural views in Asia have evolved into a unique blend of personal and societal preference that may be partially associated with Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks”. Contradicting popular belief, the culture of Asian plastic surgery is not intended to ‘Westernize’ the outward appearance; the general aim of face-altering-life-changing procedures is unique in its style and connection…show more content…
The first few sentences of the story outline an awkward connection between Amy and her self confidence. The line, “...I prayed for this blond-haired boy, Robert, and a slim new American nose” displays a superficial idea that requires a second thought (Tan 184). Why does Amy want a new American nose? Evidently, it implies that she has been exposed to pop culture and plastic surgery; enough to slightly brush upon the concept. The connection to ‘Westernization’ is too strong to ignore. Perhaps “Fish Cheeks” was written before the trend of ‘Westernization’ died or maybe this is a thought unique to minorities living in America. Whatever the case, it is clear that Tan felt an inclination to merge with common societal culture, which is comparable to youth in Asian society. Popular trends or social media influences most of the youth in any society. In Amy’s case, this urge was probably stronger on account of being a minority in a culture that did not appreciate differences. Amy’s mother is also a prime component to the story, ultimately stating the moral of the story: “You must be proud you are different. Your only shame is to have shame.” (Tan 186). This encompasses most of the views in modern Asian society. Granted that adolescents growing up in America may feel differently, most East Asians are proud of their ethnicity. They look up to celebrities of the same background and entertain different beauty ideals. Obviously Tan’s mother was encouraging her to be true to identity — whether it is Asian, American, or both. Further speculation into Amy’s mother might reveal a background that understands Asian culture and popular American culture. Amy’s mother accepts that her daughter wants to fit into the American society; however, embracing cultural differences can be a huge benefit in finding one’s
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