Or Else

Topics: Short story, Fiction, Culture of China Pages: 3 (1016 words) Published: February 12, 2011
I.INTRODUCTION/ BACKGROUND (writer, work’s place of origin) Catherine Lim (simplified Chinese: 林宝音; pinyin: Lín Bǎoyīn) is a best-selling Singaporean fiction author known for writing about Singapore society and of themes of traditional Chinese culture. Hailed as the "doyenne of Singapore writers", Lim has published nine collections of short stories, five novels, two poetry collections and numerous political commentaries to date. Lim published her first short story collection called Little Ironies: Stories of Singapore (1978), which showed the wit with which Lim is able to portray Singaporean society. A succeeding collection, Or Else, the Lightning God and other Stories, was published in 1980. Another story collection that followed in this tradition was O Singapore: Stories in Celebration from 1988. Her first novel was published in 1982 and it was entitled The Serpent's Tooth. Other popular books that have been published since then were The Bondmaid (1995) and Following the Wrong God Home (2001). Her major theme in her stories is the role of women in traditional Chinese society and culture. II.SUMMARY (story)

Margaret was a modernized woman married to Eng Kiat. The story started with Margaret back biting her mother-in-law and her brother-in-laws. She was talking with Suan Choo who also had problems with her mother-in-law. Margaret had told Suan Choo all the things the old one had done that had angered her. Like the time her mother-in-law brought home a temple medium to conjure up her dead father-in-law; the foul smell from the Dowager’s herbal medicine brew, which had boiled over her cooker; and the mess that had strewn all over her clean marble floor because the old lady was making a blanket. One day, she heard from her office colleague the complaints of Margaret’s mother-in-law. Margaret’s mother-in-law had complained to the washerwoman of being ill-treated by Margaret. She was left alone in the house most of the time, she said, and she didn’t have proper...

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