“The elements were from my mother’s own vision of organic chemistry. Each person is made of five elements, she told me.
Too much fire and you had a bad temper. That was like my father, whom my mother always criticized for his cigarette habit and who always shouted back that she should keep her thoughts to herself. I think he now feels guilty that he didn’t let my mother speak her mind.
Too little wood and bent to quickly to listen to other people’s ideas, unable to stand on your own. This was like my Auntie An-Mei.
Too much water and you flowed in too many directions,, like myself, for having stared half a degree in biology, then half a degree in art, and then finishing neither when I went off to work for a small ad agency as a secretary, later becoming a copywriter.
I used to dismiss her criticisms as just more for her Chinese superstitions, beliefs that conveniently fit the circumstances, in my twenties, while taking Introduction to Psychology; I tried to tell her why she shouldn’t criticize so much, why it didn’t lead to a healthy learning environment.”
“The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan was four stories about four Asian-American women and their families. These women where all independent and adapting to their life in the United States of America. The excerpt was from the first section of the book, “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away,” where a daughter loses her mother and is mourning her loss. Tan has an interesting way of making the characters seem believable. Amy Tan uses different language to dynamically portray the background of the characters. In dialog, Tan ignores grammar and proper sentence structure keying in on her own writing style. For example, on page 19, “’It’s no showoff’ she said the two soups were almost the same.” Re-wording the grammar in the line highlights the mother’s heavy Chinese accent. Disregarding proper grammar is Tan’s way for giving the mother’s characters a sense of reality. June is the main...