Themes In Chinese Cinderella

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Chinese Cinderella Themes
“I read because I have to. It drives everything else from my mind. It lets me escape to find other worlds. The people in my books become more real than anyone else. They make me forget.” (180). The novel Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah tells about true experience of an unwanted daughter living in China. Yen Mah’s kind mother had passed away when giving birth to her, so her siblings deem her as bad luck and harshly unwanted. Soon her father remarrieds to a young and cruel “french women”, Niang, who then produces two more siblings with her father and clearly favors her own children with special privileges. Throughout the novel Yen Mah illustrates her day to day encounters of being the youngest, most undesired,
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Most of Yen Mah’s family members could care less about her and often forget that she exists. For example when her family moves to Shanghai, on the first day of school, everyone forgot about her and no ne arranged a ride for her to get to school. Another example of this was when her father forgot both Yen Mah’s original chinese name and birth date when filling out her landing cards. She describes this pain by saying, “A pang went through me. I meant so little to him, I was such a nobody, he didn’t even remember my name!” (125). Likewise could’t have strong friendships either because her step mother would not allow the step children to have and friends at their house and they also could not go over to other children 's houses either. Such as when Yen Mah’s good school friend, Wu Chun-mei, invited her over multiple times for her birthday. Yen Mah wanted to go over to her house to celebrate more than anything in the world, but she could not bring herself to break Niang’s rules at first. She explains this process by saying, “For a whole week I kept making all sorts of excuses, but she was persistent. It became increasingly difficult because, inside, I was simply dying to go.” (98). Scenarios like this made it hard for Yen Mah to make any close friends because it was forbidden to hang out with them after school hours. Overall the themes and struggles of Yen Mah’s…show more content…
Thirdly, another theme that Yen Mah exhibits is that true value of encouragement. Yen Mah does not think that she is good enough and often thinks of herself as unimportant, so the little love and encouragement that she receives is very valuable and one of the only things keeping her away from a self harm mindset. One example of a small piece of encouragement that boosted Yen Mah’s self esteem dramatically was acquired when playing a game with her friends at the Sacred Heart school. The game required the group to write down the best physical, intellectual or social feature about a person and compare the groups answers to the own person 's opinion of their best feature. When it was Yen Mah’s turn she wrote down “nothing” for her own best feature, while her friends exclaimed, “Well we beg to differ. In fact, we have you voted most likely to succeed.” (188). In comparison Ye Ye, her grandfather, was another good example of positive encouragement toward Yen Mah. When she came home to visit for the last time before his death she was explaining her loathing towards herself and self disappointment when Ye Ye insisted, “Don’t talk like that!... you are precious and special. Being top of your class merely confirms this. But you can vanquish the demons only when you are convinced of your own worth.” (181). After this encouragement, Yen Mah vows even more than before to keep up her prestige grades to give honor to her grandfather. All in all, value of encouragement is a common theme
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