Chang- Rae Lee's Magical Dinners includes many personal stories regarding his everyday life, but especially capitalizes on the many struggles with food his mother faces on a daily basis. Lee expresses his family’s drastic lifestyle change as foreigners moving to a new country by using preparation and consumption of food to symbolize those challenges and changes.
Lee’s mother is the most affected by the move to New York, and that can be shown through her cooking. The only thing that Lee's mother has power over is cooking for her family, but she is unable to take control over that task due to her difficulties reading the instructions for recipes or cannot find the right ingredients. Without her planning and preparing for meals, his mother's personality and emotions vanishes. Back in Korea, "she's a forthright, talented, beautiful woman" (pg 4), but because of her lack of knowledge regarding the English language, she loses her once thriving self as she lacks confidence in this new country. In reality, his parents "don’t want to eat non-Korean food; they want to hold onto what they know" (pg 2), thus emphasizing how …show more content…
Because Lee is also trying to adapt to the new culture and fit in among his peers, he naturally gravitates towards food that his peers often eat. For example, Lee mentions that he would ask his mother to prepare American foods such as "Southern fried chicken and mashed potatoes, beef Stroganoff over egg noodles, lasagna." Since his mother has little to no experience recreating these dishes to Lee’s perfection, she is heavily critiqued by her son as well as herself. Because Lee uses words such as "tyrannical" and "awful" to describe himself after causing his mother to lose the bright light in her eyes, it is clear that he has an understanding of his lack of gratefulness and is able to "squash her whole day’s work with a grimace" (pg
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
To start off, a key point that ended up in a shift of the author’s beliefs upon her culture was demonstrated in the quote, “On Christmas Eve I saw that my mother had outdone herself in creating a strange menu. She was pulling black veins out of the backs of fleshy prawns.The kitchen was littered with appalling mounds of raw food.” This quote is essential to the disrespectful tone of of the story. Amy is extremely condescending of her culture and seems embarrassed of her culture and its food.
The Essay written by Amy Tan titled 'Mother Tongue' concludes with her saying, 'I knew I had succeeded where I counted when my mother finished my book and gave her understandable verdict' (39). The essay focuses on the prejudices of Amy and her mother. All her life, Amy's mother has been looked down upon due to the fact that she did not speak proper English. Amy defends her mother's 'Broken' English by the fact that she is Chinese and that the 'Simple' English spoken in her family 'Has become a language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk' (36). Little did she know that she was actually speaking more than one type of English. Amy Tan was successful in providing resourceful information in every aspect. This gave the reader a full understanding of the disadvantages Amy and her mother had with reading and writing. The Essay 'Mother Tongue' truly represents Amy Tan's love and passion for her mother as well as her writing. Finally getting the respect of her critics and lucratively connecting with the reaction her mother had to her book, 'So easy to read' (39). Was writing a book the best way to bond with your own mother? Is it a struggle to always have the urge to fit in? Was it healthy for her to take care of family situations all her life because her mother is unable to speak clear English?
Tan makes an appeal to emotion with the connections she describes. A connection between a mother and daughter that is wrought with emotion is as relatable as humaneness is to a human. There is a soft declaration to be found in Tan’s statement, “I knew I had succeeded where it counted when my mother finished reading my book and gave me her verdict: “So easy to read.” Tan gains trust by appealing to emotion with something as understandable as the loving and more often than not tension riddled connection between a mother and her daughter. Tan incorporates the intimacy of the “broken” language in correlation to her husband with these words, “It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk, the language I grew up with” (Tan 1). Under the assumption that Louis DeMattei (Tan’s husband) has no prior history with the Chinese Language Tan makes an important point of the use of the “broken” language she learned from her mother. Demattei doesn’t inquire or correct Tan when she switches between the English she acquired from the vast expanses of English literature and the English she acquired from her mother. Tan says, “he even uses it with me,” there is an implied level of comfort within the relationship she has with her husband. Tan shares what is viewed as “broken” and in need of fixing with Demattei and he reciprocates, leaving them
This quote shows how Americans were cruel and discriminatory towards Chinese Americans. This quote shows how her favorite food, may seem disgusting to people who never grew up Chinese or around Chinese culture, and she is embarrassed by this. She is especially embarrassed by the way her dad says this nasty looking fish is her favorite food, even though she actually thoroughly enjoys eating it. Amy very much struggles with trying to please both the American, and Chinese side of herself because she wants to please everyone when in reality she just needs to accept herself for who she is.
Similarly, Wong also grew up in America with a traditional Chinese mother. In contrast, Wong’s upbringing involves her mother forcing her into attending two different schools. After her American school day, Wong continues on with Chinese school to learn both cultures. Her mother felt it was her duty to “[. . .] learn the language of [her] heritage” (Wong 144). This puts a burden on Wong as she starts to despise the Chinese culture.
The Chinese mothers, so concentrated on the cultures of their own, don't want to realize what is going on around them. They don't want to accept the fact that their daughters are growing up in a culture so different from their own. Lindo Jong, says to her daughter, Waverly- "I once sacrificed my life to keep my parents' promise. This means nothing to you because to you, promises mean nothing. A daughter can promise to come to dinner, but if she has a headache, a traffic jam, if she wants to watch a favorite movie on T.V., she no longer has a promise."(Tan 42) Ying Ying St.Clair remarks- "...because I remained quiet for so long, now my daughter does not hear me. She sits by her fancy swimming pool and hears only her Sony Walkman, her cordless phone, her big, important husband asking her why they have charcoal and no lighter fluid."(Tan 64)
Using the detail,“Dinner threw me deeper into despair,” conveys the painful feelings caused by her family at dinner (Paragraph 5). This detail indicates that Tan was continuingly losing hope that the night would get better. Tan reveals these agonizing feelings to make the reader feel compunctious. In making the reader feel sorry for her, Tan knows she can continue to misreport details in the passage without being questioned. The detail,“What would he think of our noisy Chinese relatives who lacked proper American manners,” emblematizes the dishonor Tan feels towards her relatives and cultural background (Paragraph 2). This detail implies that due to Tan’s attraction to Robert, she will detract her feelings of others to better her relationship with Robert. Tan used this detail to reveal that if Tan cannot better her relationship with Robert, she will become despondent. As a result of distorting details, the passage illustrates Tan’s dishonorable feelings towards her cultural
In the story, "Fish Cheeks" it talks about how Amy Tan's Chinese family invites an American boy's family over for dinner. Amy Tan wants to impress him and thinks that he wont like the food her mother made even though it is her favorite food. She can tell that he doesn't like the food and she is embarased. So, Amy wants to fit in.
Originally the narrator admired her father greatly, mirroring his every move: “I walked proudly, stretching my legs to match his steps. I was overjoyed when my feet kept time with his, right, then left, then right, and we walked like a single unit”(329). The narrator’s love for her father and admiration for him was described mainly through their experiences together in the kitchen. Food was a way that the father was able to maintain Malaysian culture that he loved so dearly, while also passing some of those traits on to his daughter. It is a major theme of the story. The afternoon cooking show, “Wok with Yan” (329) provided a showed the close relationship father and daughter had because of food. Her father doing tricks with orange peels was yet another example of the power that food had in keeping them so close, in a foreign country. Rice was the feature food that was given the most attention by the narrator. The narrator’s father washed and rinsed the rice thoroughly, dealing with any imperfection to create a pure authentic dish. He used time in the kitchen as a way to teach his daughter about the culture. Although the narrator paid close attention to her father’s tendencies, she was never able to prepare the rice with the patience and care that her father
In the essay, Tan demonstrates: “Lately, I’ve been giving more thought to the kind of English my mother speaks.” “When I was growing up, my mother’s limited English limited my perception of her. I was ashamed of her English.” “Fortunately, I later decided I should envision a reader for the stories I would write. And the reader I decided upon was my mother, because these were stories about mothers. So with this reader in mind, I began to write stories using all the Englishes I grew up with: the English I spoke to my mother, the English she used with me, my translation of her Chinese, and what I imagined to be her translation of her Chinese. I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal: her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech, and the nature of her thoughts.” So in this quote, it explains how she learned to accept her mother’s broken English and how they have benefited her. In this paragraph, we learned how Amy Tan conveys acceptance in her mother’s broken
Ji-Suk grew up as both an American and a Korean. I was very important for Ji-Suk’s mom to teach her daughter her Korean heritage but also wanted her to live up to American standards. This helps develop the theme of striking a balance. This is recognized in the text when the narrator states “Even though she'd made Ji-Suk take Korean lessons every Saturday morning followed by violin lessons in the afternoon—and cooked kimchi and other Korean delicacies with her at least once a week—Ji-Suk's mother had wanted her to succeed by American standards.”
She only knows three phrases in English one of them been “no speak English”. As time flies the women wants to go home because she was happier back home. The father knows English but not too well. For instance, he would have “hamandegg” for breakfast, dinner, and lunch. Their kid starts to speak the English language by listening to Pepsi commercials and the women doesn;t like that he is learning that the English language.
Tan was born to a pair of Chinese immigrants. Her mother understood English extremely well, but the English she spoke was “broken.”(36) Many people not familiar with her way of speaking found it very difficult to understand her. As a result of this, Tan would have to pretend to be her mother, and she called people up to yell at them while her mother stood behind her and prompted her. This caused Tan to be ashamed of her mother throughout her youth, but as she grew, she realized that the language she shares with her mother is a “language of intimacy” (36) that she even uses when speaking with her husband.
“Girl” makes the impression that the mother wants the daughter to take over the “women’s” work around the house as well as she tells her which day to wash the white clothes Monday, wash the colored clothes on Tuesday, and she is teaching her how to iron her father’s clothes the way he likes them done and how to sew on a button; “This is how to make a button-hole for the button you have just sewed on.” (380) The mother also is teaching her daughter how to cook for the family. “Cook pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil,” (380) so that everyone will eat them. The mother also discusses table manners, “always eat your food in such a way that it won’t turn some-one else’s stomach.”
The problem started with her mother because she spoke broken English. She had a hard time during her life when she moved to the US because she couldn’t speak English well. The first reason was mixed the English with Chinese, and they used code. The family didn’t practice the language. On one day Amy Tan 's mother exposed to a lot of attitude and that’s bothering her because when she spoke to the native speaker some people understood 50% and the other did not understand her. Since she wants to order something they didn’t give her a nice service, or tried to ignore her, but Amy Tan always tried to fix the problem for her mother because she can speak the English clearly. Amy Tan 's mother felt depressing and Her daughter decided to make her mother glad, so she made a huge deal for her mother because she made her mother tried to speak English by explaining the English words to Chinese, and that’s made the English for her mother more easily just to be in touched with the American people. Even Amy Tan 's mother was struggling with English, but she plain in her life goal that’s mean nothing impossible to do it, and everything from learning could be possible. If anyone would something they