November 2012 Analytical Essay
Jean Kwok: Where The Gods Fly
Imagine permanently moving to a country where the language, the culture... everything is foreign to you. This is the reality of most immigrant parents, who try to raise their children safely in a foreign country, where strong influences can strip a person of their cultural identity. This is the exact situation we are dragged into, in the short story 'Where The Gods Fly' written by Jean Kwok. Here we meet a Chinese mother's unwelcoming approach, towards her daughter's passion for the arts of ballet.
The story is told by a first person narrator, from a mothers perspective. Her, her husband and her daughter migrated from China when her daughter, Pearl, was still a child. We notice - while reading the story - that the narrator shifts in the grammatical tense, which is what structures the plot of the story. In the present narrative tense, we find the mother in some sort of religious state of mind where she prays to certain gods and spirits, for example: “Ah, Amitabha, Buddha of great compassion, I whisper...” (P. 1, L. 24). While she finds herself in this state, she is reminded of their, her family's, life since they moved from China to America, these parts of the story are, obviously, told in the past tense. The story begins in the present tense, as a sort of exposition. We are introduced to the narrator's situation, the main conflict of the story: she wants to take her daughter out of ballet school, as she predicts: “I can already hear the protest from Pearl's ballet teachers - "you can't do this, she is an extraordinary talent."”(P.1, L.3-4). To find arguments as to why she should undertake this task, she looks back at her life since they first arrived in America. First she explains why they let Pearl take ballet classes in the first place, also described in past tense. She now sees this move as a spoiled one, since ballet...
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