The Bridge Between Two Generations

Amy Acker

"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

I would like to read the St. Clair family because Ying-Ying and Lena possess communication barriers similar to the Jong family, but in a different way. Ying-ying is told by a nursemaid that girls are supposed to be passive and meek and that causes her to loose her own voice. She believes she is destined to marry a vulgar family friend and because of her meek personality and behavior, she does nothing to prevent it. Ying-ying tells her daughter for the first time about her story of her failed marriage, hoping that she might learn from her mothers failure to express her thoughts and feelings. Ying-ying begins to rarely speak her mind and eventually realizes that she has passed on her passivity and fatalism to her daughter, Lena. This story is interesting to me because having a voice and taking control of your own life in a relationship is very important and is a problem even in today's society. More often than not the role of a woman is subordinate to one of a man. This topic causes controversy everyday and it's interesting to read a story that indirectly applies to present day.
Big image


This quote which comes from the chapter of The Red Candle is an important link between Waverly and Lindo."I made a promise to myself: I would always remember my parents' wishes, but i would never forget myself" (Tan 58). She stands in front of the mirror preparing for her arranged marriage to a man she does not love. She realizes that if she leaves the marriage, this will go back on her promise to her family and her parent's promise to her husband's family. Lindo learns to maintain her strength and listen to her heart even as she hides behind the scarf that she wears as she walks down the isle. Waverly decides she will treat her promise to herself with honor and equal devotion. Lindo escapes passivity. Lindo is finally recognizing her invisible strength which will eventually be inherited by Waverly and applied in her chess matches.
Big image

Thematic Paragraph

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that communication barriers cause conflict between generations, making it difficult to find one's own voice.

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.

Big image