White Rice to Wonderbread

Stefan Bardwell

Feathers From A Thousand Li Away

The parable that spoke to me the most is Feathers From A Thousand Li Away because it shows how such a small thing can have such a powerful meaning to it. In this parable, a mother buys a swan for her daughter, only to have it taken away. She is left with one single feather that "may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all of [her] good intentions" (Tan 17). She then waited for years to tell her daughter what it signifies and how powerful it is.

The Jong Family

I would like to read the mother daughter pairing of Lindo and Waverly Jong. I read the Hsu pairing and was interested in the conflict between An-Mei and Rose. I think it would be interesting to see the story of another conflicted family. Waverly's ability to play chess at a high level also catches my interest as I would like to see how that plays a part in the story.


In Without Wood, Rose and her mother, An-Mei, talk about Rose's visits to the psychiatrist. An-Mei is hurt how Rose would rather go to a psychiatrist to talk about her disintegrating marriage, than to go to An-Mei.

"'A mother is best. A mother knows what is inside you,' [An-Mei] said above the singing voices. 'A psyche-tricks will only make you hulihuda, make you see heimongmong'" (Tan 188).

I really liked this quote because Rose refuses to talk to her mother about her marriage, so she goes off and talks to a total stranger about her problems. She will then complain about how mothers and daughter cannot talk these days about such things, and will talk to other people instead. All they would really need to do is to talk to one another.

Thematic Paragraph

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that people have the ability to control their own future instead of having their own fate. In every mother-daughter pair, controlling one's future is a constant theme with all of the daughters changing the life their mothers had planned for them. This is shown many times throughout the book, but is mainly seen when Rose comes to realize that fate and will are different in ways that only one can discover for themselves. Rose realizes this when "she discovered that maybe it was fate all along, that faith was just an illusion that somehow you're in control" of the present that will later affect the future (Tan 121). She knows this when she realized she could stop her corrupt marriage, or continue her fate to go along with her unhappy life married to Ted. She continues to divorce Ted and live without a weight on her chest.