Love, loss, and tragedy are the three main aspects of any excellent novel. Pearl Buck has written a novel that has all of these aspects, which is The Three Daughters of Madame Liang (1969). This story is about a family in a Chinese town called Shangai. The novel revolves around the mother of the family, Madame Liang, who is an elderly woman with three very skilled daughters. The story is about the challenges of Eastern China versus the thriving American culture. Madame Liang sends her three daughters to America to be free of the society in China. Although she is wealthy and has power in her society, she fears for her children’s lack of opportunities in the small town. When the Chinese ministers summon one daughter home because she is a doctor, everything changes for the mother and the fear she once had slowly becomes a reality. The novel was intriguing to the reader because of the mother’s character is the most important aspect of the story. Madame Liang is a strong woman whose beauty and elegance is described perfectly, she holds the other characters together, and is a silent leader for the country.
Madame Liang is a character with many different complicated aspects. All of the other characters in the story revolve the mother. As the novel begins and ends, the mother is described as strong and beautiful. The description of the mother created a symbol of the power and ability for women, which is shown through her daughters. In the beginning the author says, “There were too many men and women who were jealous of the famous Madame Liang, who managed, no one knew how, to keep open a restaurant whose daily menu carried the finest gourmet foods” (1). This shows …
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…his shows the value she holds for her country, even though she expresses fear for the country, as well. This is an ironic perk that many may not have grasped about the novel’s plot.
Overall I found this character to make up the novel using her strength, wisdom, and intelligence was very important. The novel manly told the tale of the daughters, but I found the mother’s character to be the true story told by the novel. I felt like it was a symbol for women power and over the changing times this was really a new concept for women for the time period to still have money and be in such a political standing for women. This was a very inspiring story especially for women and I felt like the mother’s character was a true activist for new countries changing times.
Buck, Pearl S. “The Three Daughters of Madame Liang.” 1969. New York,
NY. April 25, 2004.
A Family in Turmoil in Today Will Be A Quiet Day
A Family in Turmoil in Today Will Be A Quiet Day
In Amy Hempel’s story, “Today Will Be A Quiet Day,” a father takes the day off to spend time with his two children at a place called “Petaluma.” The title suggests that this day was one of calmness and relaxation, but in reality the title should be ” A Family in Turmoil.” Throughout the trip, the children argue, complain, and bicker which seems to suggest that the day is rather depressing and quite humbling for the father (Baker 170). The father’s good intentions for quality family time failed. When I first read the story, I felt that their relationships were a little detached and never quite came together.
Suffering from the death of a close friend, the boy tries to ignore his feelings and jokes on his sister. His friend was a mental patient who threw himself off a building. Being really young and unable to cope with this tragedy, the boy jokes to his sister about the bridge collapsing. “The mention of the suicide and of the bridge collapsing set a depressing tone for the rest of the story” (Baker 170). Arguments about Raisinettes force the father to settle it by saying, “you will both spoil your lunch.” As their day continues, their arguments become more serious and present concern for the father who is trying to understand his children better. In complete agreement with Justin Oeltzes’ paper, “A Sad Story,” I also feel that this dark foreshadowing of time to come is an indication of the author’s direct intention to write a sad story.
At lunch the children are rowdy and need to be calmed down. The father says, “Maybe we could try a little quiet today.” The girl replies, “You sound like your tombstone. Remember what you wanted it to say?” Her brother joins in by saying, “Today will be a quiet day. Because it never is around us.” (Hempel 1204). Shortly after completing their meal, the girl asks about her dog. “Did anyone remember to feed him?” she asks (Hempel 1205). The boy again brings death into the picture by saying that he forgot to feed the dog and then proceeds to remind her about her previous dog. She was told the dog was taken to a sheep farm where, in reality, the dog was put to sleep. Naturally, the girl began to cry.