Culture's Bridges and Barriers

Reilly McWilliams

The Twenty Six Malignant Gates

My favorite parable was The Twenty Six Malignant Gates because it represents rebellion and the separation a daughter must make from her mother before reaching adulthood. "You can't tell me because you don't know! You don't know anything!" says the daughter to her mother (Tan 87). The daughter refuses to acknowledge her mothers wisdom and rides her bike anyway. The daughters stubbornness backfires when she gets hurt as anticipated.

Writing Prompt #2

If I were to read another mother-daughter pair, I would read Woo. In this section, Jing-mei is reunited with her long-lost twin siblings and this is something that I would be interested to read about. The relationship between siblings that grew up in different parts of the world would give a reader an excellent understanding of the barriers that culture by location creates.

Writing Prompt #3

"I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside of me that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind" (Jong 45). This quote represents the moment Lindo realizes she does not need to give up her inner identity, despite what he is forced to become on the outside. This quote really moved me because it gave me a sense of perspective, Lindo is able to find strength and hope in an environment where she bounded by oppression and forced to wear a veil of obedience and passivity. This quote helped me to realize how thankful I am for the gifts I have been given.

Thematic Paragraph

One theme that I found very prevalent in this book was culture and how despite its power to form unbreakable bonds with others, it can also have a tendency to draw divides among people, whether it be generationally, regionally, or racially. A great example of this theme would be when Rich, Waverley's husband comes to dinner to meet her parents. Rich is unfamiliar with Chinese customs and offends Lindo. "I knew he had failed miserably in her eyes" says Waverly after Rich gives Lindo cooking suggestions (Jong 179). Another example of the theme of culture would be when Lindo tells Waverly all about her journey from China to America and how she had to assimilate in order to survive in America. "You must understand all the circumstances, how I arrived, how I married, how I lost my Chinese face, why you are the way you are" said Lindo to Waverly (Jong 259). Linda was forced to act, speak, and dress a certain way in order to survive amongst American culture. She names her daughter Waverly, the name of the street they live on, in hopes of providing her with a brighter American future.