Get help from the best in academic writing.

Search for Identity in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club

Search for Identity in The Joy Luck Club

“Imagine, a daughter not knowing her own mother!” And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant, just as unmindful of all truths and hopes they have brought to America. They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese, who think they are stupid when they explain things in fractured English. (Tan 40-41)

Amy Tan frames The Joy Luck Club with Jing-mei Woo’s search for identity. When Jing-mei’s mother’s friends tell Jing-mei that her sisters have at long last been found and insist that she tell her sisters about their mother’s life, Jing-mei emotionally replies that she does not know her mother. However, her mother’s friends’ generosity helps Jing-mei to realize how much she wishes that she had understood her mother, how desperately she would like to question her if only she could. It is in this moment that Jing-mei recognizes the necessity of understanding her mother’s life in order both to figure out who her mother was and to understand herself.

Jing-mei’s placement at the mah jong table already suggests a link between Jing-mei and her mother that parallels Jing-mei’s position in the rest of the novel, for wherever Suyuan should be telling her story, it is told through the voice of Jing-mei instead. While Suyuan should be the one to reconcile with her lost daughters, Jing-mei will go in her place. This planned act of reconciliation where Jing-mei will fulfill her mother’s dream foreshadows the other mother-daughter stories in the novel where An-mei, Lindo, and Ying-ying are just as eager to reclaim their daughters as Suyuan, in order to help in their daughters’ struggles …

… middle of paper …

…perately to connect with her mother. In her quest to close the cultural gap between her Chinese heritage and her American upbringing, she questions what it means to be Chinese. Suffering from a disadvantage compared to the other daughters in the story, since her mother is dead, Jing-mei struggles to remember the foods her mother cooked, her relatives’ names, and the stories her mother told. However, it is when Jing-mei finally embraces her sisters, and they observe in the polaroid shot how they all look like their mother, that it occurs to Jing-mei that her family is the part of her that is Chinese. Therefore, in order to understand that part of her identity, she must embrace the memory of her dead mother. With the sisters linked by their mother in their family likeness, the photograph symbolically reconciles the two generations, as well as the two cultures.

Essay on the Language of A Clockwork Orange

The Language of A Clockwork Orange

“Gooly into a world where by nochy prestoopniks rule and oobivat and by day all is well.” This is the nature of A Clockwork Orange, a novel by Anthony Burgess, where one enters the world of a fifteen-year-old named Alex who speaks a vernacular language and does what he likes. This molody nadsat, or young teen, leads a life where crime is real horrorshow as he dodges millicents, or policemen, in order to live a life he wants in the merzky, grazzy city where he resides. Alex and his shaika oobivat too many lewdies, though, and the millicents loveted him. He then becomes a plenny in the StaJa, away from his moloko, snoutie or beloved classical music. As a plenny, he undergoes tests by viddying sinnies, making him horn in pain at the messel of krovvy or guttiwuts. After the tests, Alex returns to the streets as a real horrorshow new malchick, unable to pony or prod crime. Eventually, he meets a ded whose zheena he oobivated before, and is tricked into almost ending his jeezny by thinking of the sinnies and being forced to gooly out of an okno and falling many raskazzes. Alex lives, though, and returns to a jeezny of crime and keeps the city spoogy of him.

The previous paragraph gives an example what much of A Clockwork Orange’s language is like throughout the progression of the novel and is partially the reason why it has developed such a cult following since its release in 1963. What Burgess has done is taken English as a base language, and through the use of slang from English, Russian, Arabic and Gypsy, formed a language all its own which actually manages to accurately depict both the mindset of Alex but also the brutality of the world in which he lives. Some of his wo…

… middle of paper …

…restrictions in the forms of laws or minor regulations. So too does Alex express this interest. Although among today’s youth it is not common to be rioting or embarking on a homicide spree, Alex feels this is his way of living a carefree life. However, as a result of his liberty being “denied,” he attempts to vent his anger by committing suicide. Again, today’s teens do not generally veer towards those extremes. The parallel reaction in today’s youth to Alex’s reaction would be the excessive usage of innuendo, free use of the vernacular, indulgence in pleasure of any and all kinds, and the exhibition of mock violence to alleviate angst. It is interesting that there is such a shocking similarity between our world and that of the novel because the novel was written in 1963, at which time there were certainly many differences between teens’ views then and those of today.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.