The Bridge Between Two Generations
"The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates"
The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates is my favorite parable because it exhibits the theme of communication between mother and daughters which is present throughout the rest of the novel. The mother explains that a book symbolizes an unwritten knowledge and that The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates details the dangers that can happen to her child when she is away from the protection of the home. In denying her mothers wisdom of not riding her bike around the corner '"You can't tell me because you don't know! You don't know anything," the daughter shrieks", the young girl shows us the tension between the mothers and daughters (Tan 87). Mothers and daughters are often unable to communicate because of personality and language barriers.
Another Mother Daughter Pair
Lindo and Waverly both grew up in different worlds. While Lindo is brought up in a traditional Chinese culture, Waverly grows up in a western culture. Waverly is embarrassed of her mother's "old-fashioned" traditions and this causes tension between the mother and daughter. When Lindo trys to teach Waverly Chinese customs such as finishing her coffee to not throw blessings away, Waverly responds with "Don't be so old fashioned, mom... I'm my own person" (Tan 290). Lindo cannot communicate what she's wanted in her daughter all along: both a Chinese and American life, while Waverly fails to communicate her embarrassment of her mother's desperate attempt to pass down Chinese traditions to her. These issues are due to the conflicting upbringings. Lindo wants Wavely to bring the Chinese culture to her children but what is misunderstood is the fact that understanding culture is one thing, but understanding the meaning is another.