Two Sides To Every Story

Elizabeth Massa

"The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates"

The parable, "The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates," was my favorite parable because it teaches readers how you need to listen to their parents and elders in order to succeed in life. The Mother in this parable tells her daughter to be careful about riding her bike because she knows she will fall, yet her daughter does not listen. She exclaims, "'You can't tell me because you don't know! You don't know anything!' And the girl ran outside, jumped on her bicycle, and in her hurry to get away, she fell before she even reached the corner" (Tan 87). Her mother knew this would happen, but her daughter continued to do it anyway. This parable teaches to listen to older people because they have experienced more, and have more knowledge.


If I could read any other story besides St. Clair, I would choose to read Jong. Marriage was a very important factor for Jong, but she was forced to marry someone she did not love. However, she did not want to disappoint her family so she moved in with her new family and dreaded it everyday. In the story, the red candle symbolizes the bond between the husband and wife. When Lindo blows out her end of the candle, she is risking a lot for her and her family. This story relates to our world today and how people don't want to disappoint their families but sometimes they have to choose what they want to do because it is the best for themselves.
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"I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water" (Tan 67). This quote explains how one moment someone could be put together but then the next, after all the experiences they have gone through, they are changed because the change is not apparent, but hiding underneath. This quote can relate to many people because they are being hurt and washed away from dealing with difficult problems, although no one can see that they are hurting because some people block others out and do not want to show their pain.


In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that identity is shaped by family values and cultural assimilation, though balancing the two is difficult. Many of the characters in the book change over time because of their mother's influence. Lindo Jong asks herself, "What is true about a person? Would I change in the same way the river changes color but still be the same person?" (Tan 58). Many of the characters in the book change book because of their family and their Chinese culture, but they still have the same central, unchanging core. Lindo Jong was forced to marry a man of whom she did not love because of her culture. She believed she had changed from this man, but she looks at herself and says, "I wiped my eyes and looked in the mirror. I was surprised at what I saw. I had on a beautiful red dress, but what I saw was even more valuable. I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind" (Tan 58). Family and culture have a strong influence on one's identity, although staying true to oneself throughout difficult times creates a strong identity and someone who knows who they are.