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  • Topic: Amy Tan, Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ
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  • Published : March 18, 2013
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Exemplar A: Excellence

Research topic:
What’s on Amy Tan’s Mind?

Research questions:
▪ What issues stand out in Amy Tan's writing?
▪ How do the narrative techniques used highlight these issues? ▪ Why does Amy Tan highlight these issues?

Research Notes:

The Kitchen God’s Wife Author: Amy Tan.

ISSUES
Sense of self identity:
▪ Revelation of her mother's secret past brings the identity of who Pearl's biological father really is. ▪ To Pearl this news is horrific especially when she was conceived from rape and violence from a man who had tormented her mother for many years as her arranged husband. She passionately hated him. ▪ “And I thought, then it's true. Wen Fu was my father, That awful man, the one she hated. His blood is running through mine. I shivered at the thought.” Page 707

Family secrets:
▪ Pearl’s mother kept her unhappy former marriage secret. She did not want the family to know how of things past, the rape and violence. ▪ “So I never told him. I never told anyone. And nine months later, maybe a little less, I had a baby. I had you.” Page 705

The Bonesetter’s Daughter Author: Amy Tan.

ISSUES
Sense of self identity:
▪ Luling is upset when she cannot remember her family name. She feels a loss of identity and connection with her ancestors. ▪ “She nodded towards me and said with her hands: My family name, the name of all the bonesetters. She put the paper name in front of my face again and said, Never forget this name . ... And the name was - Why can't I see it now? I've pushed a hundred family names through my mouth and none comes back with the belch of memory.” Page 6

Family Secrets:
▪ Luling has kept many secrets from even those she loved the most to protect them and herself. Her hidden past of marriage, unfair treatment and her mother’s true identity are all hidden for decades until the truth must be told to set the record straight. ▪ “Luling answered: `this because my mother just die'... Lining and GaoLing's mother had died in 1972. Ruth pointed to the photo. `See? Your mother is right there. And that's you.' Luling shook her head. `That not my real mother.' `Well, if that's your sister's mother, she must be yours as well.' Luling snorted. `Gaoling not my sister!' Her mother went on: `She is my sister-in-law.' Page 81 `Here' she said in Chinese, `this one right here, she's my mother `... It was a photograph of her mother's nurse maid, BaoBomu, Precious Aunty.” Page 82

The Joy Luck Club [Short stories] Author: Amy Tan.

ISSUES
Sense of self identity:
▪ Mothers believe their daughters have no sense of their heritage and Chinese background. The daughters don’t listen to their mothers and believe they all live in the past – old China.. ▪ “When I was a young girl in China, my grandmother told me my mother was a ghost. This did not mean my mother was dead .... So I knew Popo wanted me to forget my another on purpose, and this is how I came to remember nothing of her.” Page 42 ▪ “And I want to tell her this: We are lost, she and I unseen;,and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others.” Page 67

Family Secrets:
▪ Secrets mainly of life from China, previous marriages, unhappy tales of ancestors and family. ▪ “She has thrown her face into the eastward flowing stream. Her ancestral spirit is lost forever.” ▪ “In truth, this was a bad thing that Yan Chang had done, telling me my mother’s story. Secrets are kept from children, a lid on top of the soup kettle, so they do not boil over with too much truth.” Page 237

Research Report:

Introduction

My research into the literature of Amy Tan clearly showed common themes in her writings. The works I used were two novels The Kitchen God’s Wife and The Bonesetter’s Daughter and short stories from The Joy Luck Club.

What issues stand out in Amy Tan’s writing?

Amy Tan clearly deals with two main issues in all of the...
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