Wisdom Triumphs All

Chandler Stark

Writing Prompt #1

My favorite parable is "Feathers from a Thousand Li Away" because through symbolism, it demonstrates assimilation into a whole new world, but still shows the importance of remaining true to one's own culture. Traveling to America gives the daughter new opportunities, and her mother believes that she will be given the chance to excel and live a better life. The mother gives her daughter a swan, but once arrived in America, "the immigration officials pulled her swan away from her leaving [her] fluttering her arms and with only one swan feather for a memory" (Tan 17).

Writing Prompt #2

If I were to read another mother-daughter pair in the novel, I would choose Suyuan and Jing-mei Woo. These characters interest me because of the way that Tan presents the idea of a strong mother-daughter bond and the culture between generations. It would be interesting to see the reconnection of Jing-mei with her sisters and the connection that she feels with her mother when she travels back to China. This mother-daughter story ends positively showing the connection of heritage and culture between generations continuing on a family's legacy.

Writing Prompt #3

"In two years' time, my scar became pale and shiny and I had no memory of my mother. That is the way it is with a wound. The wound begins to close in on itself, to protect what is hurting so much. And once it is closed, you no longer see what is underneath, what started the pain" (Tan 47).

This quote is significant to me because it represents a deeper meaning and shows how An-Mei really feels about her mother. The "scar" that she has is not only physical, but also represents her realtionship with her mother. The real pain she feels is coming from deep within her emotions, and she buries this memory deep within her heart to avoid feeling lost and to forget why her mother left her in the first place.

Thematic Paragraph

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that the lack of standing up for oneself can negatively affect a relationship, but is necessary to prevent a life of terrible suffering. When Rose is faced with a decision regarding her divorce, she knows she must stand up for herself, but feels like she is unable to do so. Her mother continuously tries to guide her and pass down her wisdom by comparing "A girl [to] a young tree. You must stand tall and listen to your mother standing next to you. That is the only way to grow strong and straight. But if you bend to listen to other people, you will grow crooked and weak" (Tan 191). With the help of her mother' advice, Rose finally learns to speak her mind and use her words with power, ultimately making the decision to stand up for what she believes is right. Her decision to listen to her mother's wisdom and her choice to get the divorce results in a better life with less suffering.
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The broken heart represents An-mei's feelings about her mother, and the deeper, emotional "scar" that was left behind and the wound that was created.
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The feather pen represents the memory of one's original heritage, and also portrays the idea of a new chapter in one's book of life, with the writings of living in a new land of opportunity.
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This shadow represents Rose's inner struggle to stand tall and speak her mind. The water shows her emotions drowning, causing her to be trapped within herself, knowing she must make a decision.