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Culture Maintenance

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Keeping Up With Culture in America

When immigrants arrive in America for a better future with more opportunities, they struggle with maintaining their culture. The definition of culture is describes as “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.” While the immigrant generation is resistant to change, their children are adapting to the new American values, which causes disagreements within the family. In their stories, authors Monfong Leung and Frank Chin writes about different aspect of the Chinese culture that immigrant families face. In his stories, Monfong Leung writes about internal or spiritual connection within family generations. Considering that the author has never been to China, his knowledge is general perceptions about Chinese Americans is based on the Chinatown immigrants that he interacts with. It is similar to how students nowadays learn about their own ethnic culture. Only American history and culture is taught in school; if we want to learn about other cultures we have to learn it from family and friends. In “New Year for Fong Wing,” Leung discusses spiritual connection and lineage continuity. Fong Wing, the family man, has three sons who died from war and one daughter. Since all his sons are dead, the family linage has ended. Acknowledging this problem, Fong Wing is sad during New Year. “The coming of the New Year had brought sharply to his mind and to his heart the realization that he could hope for no new beginning, for no grandchildren of his own name.” On the other hand, Fong Wing’s friend Lee Mun is a bachelor with no family to worry about. He is self-less and enjoys life. In the story, Lee Mun takes Fong Wing to a gambling house for Fong Wing to stop his everyday worries and stress over lineage continuity. At first impression, Fong Wing hates the young operator for wasting his life at the gambling house. Fong Wing says, “My boy died so he can waste life running...