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Fish Cheeks

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  • November 2010
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Questions: “Fish Cheeks”
1. Why does Tan cry when she finds out that the boy she is in love with is coming to dinner?

-Amy cried, because she thought Robert would be disappointed about her and her family.

2. Why does Tan’s mother go out of her way to prepare a traditional Chinese dinner for her daughter and her guests? What one sentence best sums up the lesson Tan was not able to understand until years later?

-I think Amy’s mother did a traditional Chinese dinner because since it was an invitation, maybe she wanted her guest to know that the food was part of their culture and a tradition in the family. I think that the sentence that best describes the lesson Amy learned is, “You must be proud you are different”.

3. How does the fourteen-year-old Tan feel about her Chinese background? About her mother?

-She felt ashamed of her “culture”, and also by her mom, I think she wanted to be American just to prove others something she wasn’t. She didn’t understand that her mom just wanted her to be happy.

4. What is her purpose in writing this essay?
Does she simply want to entertain the reader or might she have a weightier goal?

-I think she want people to remember that it doesn’t matter where are you from or what others think about you or your culture, you must be proud of it and to never feel ashamed to be themselves.

5. How does Tan draw the reader into her story from the beginning?

-She described well her feelings, and gave a good description of the “environment” and the people around her.

6. What is the irony of the last sentence of the essay?

-I think the irony of it is, that if you are ashamed of yourself is your own fault, because you should never be embarrassed to be yourself unless you’re really doing something wrong.