Two Generations of Hardships

Sydney Scifres

Parable: The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

The parable "Twenty-Six Malignant Gates" is my favorite parable because the story shows the importance of obeying our guardians, even if we don't want to. The mother in the story told the daughter "[The book] is written in Chinese. You cannot understand it. That is why you must listen to me" (Tan 87). There are barriers between children and parents that the children don't quite understand yet. This is why us children must listen to our parents, and "Twenty-Six Malignant Gates" displays that by showing that the daughter should have listened to her mother and not ride her bike around the corner because she fell like the mother said.
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Mother-Daughter Pair to Read: Suyuan Woo and Jing-mei "June" Woo

If I were to read another mother-daughter pair, it would be the Woo pair. This is because the mother is deceased, so the daughter speaks for both herself and her mother. It would be interesting to see the mother's point of view from her daughter. I am aware that the daughter resents her mother in the start because of her mother's belief of Jing-mei becoming a prodigy, and I would like to see how she comes to see how her mother cares for her in her own way.
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Quote: Ying-ying St. Clair

My favorite quote from the St. Clair pair is "It is because I had so much joy the that I came to have so much hate" (Tan 247). This quote depicts in Ying-ying's reason to why she became who she is. She was so happy with her first husband that was blindsided when he left her. This grew her hatred for him out of nowhere. This quote also helps me understand to be ready for something negative in my life to happen when I am at my happiest.
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Theme: Identity

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that identity is important to help a person live how they want even though it can take time to find. Lena St. Clair is living with Harold, her husband, and she doesn't enjoy the circumstances in which they live. He doesn't promote her in her job, and with everything they buy, they add up the cost and split the cost half way between they both of them. Her mother, Ying-ying, tries to help her by sharing her past. Ying-ying says she is going to "gather together my past and look. I will see a thing that has already happened. The pain that cut my spirit loose. I will hold that pain in my hand until it becomes hard and shiny, more clear. And then my fierceness can come back, my golden side, my black side, I will use this sharp pain to penetrate my daughter's tough skin and cut her tiger spirit loose. She will fight me, because this is the nature of two tigers. But I will win and give her my spirit, because this is a way a mother loves her daughter" (Tan 252). Her mother wants to find her own identity and help Lena find her identity as well. Ying-ying wants to do this before Lena falls on the same path that Ying-ying did. The identity that Lena will find is important for her to live. The mother-daughter pairs in The Joy Luck Club follow a similar path; they all find their identity so they can live.