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Comparitive Esay On The Joy Luck Club & Fried Green Tomatoes Essay, Research Paper
The Joy Luck Club is a saga about Chinese mothers and their American – born daughters. Four main sections divide the novel. Each section represents a stage in either the experience of immigration or in the mother/daughter relationships of the families. Perhaps the main success of this novel lies in the intricate and moving stories that are intertwined within the main plot. The story is told in a sophisticated manner, with emphasis on the historical references in the novel and the struggle of women. All mothers who act in this book were born in the period between the mid 1920’s and the late 1940’s. The social and political history of the country was very important for their development. Between 1931 and 1945 China was occupied by the Japanese. This war was one reason for their emigration to America. Amy Tan is the author of this novel. Amy Tan’s ties to china have so much to do with her mother. Her father was a deeply religious Christian; her mother always kept her Chinese traditions on reserve. When Tan’s brother and father became terminally ill with brain tumors, her mother called on as many of the Chinese religious traditions that she could. Tan says she is still haunted by these spirits that her mother so faithfully believed in, her works are especially reflective of those childhood experiences. The joy luck club is a book that anyone can identify with. It has all the qualities that make it universal: identity, culture, relationships, and family. However, Tan touches on an obscure, little discussed issue: the divergence of Chinese culture through American born of Chinese immigrant parents.
The second novel of study is entitled Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Caf?. This is a classic novel of two women in the 1980’s; of Grey headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is of two women who lived half a century ago – of irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her good – hearted friend Ruth – who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle stop Alabama, a southern kind of caf?, offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, and even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present for Evelyn and for us – will never quite be the same again. The tale of their adventures inspires Evelyn to make change to her dowdy life – the results are often hilarious, in the endearing tale of friendship and courage.
While reading both of these books you may feel that you are being pulled into a different world. Although these stories are very unique in their own ways the also share numerous similarities. These two tales; one of Chinese women and their daughters and the other a story of friendship are your stories, they are our stories. Both novels focus partly on the age-old clash between generations. In both novels we the readers are witnesses to turbulent relationships, similar to the ones we may have in our own lives. As well as cultural traditions.
This weekend my family not unlike many North American families decided to do the whole Christmas thing. This got me thinking about my novels. I thought about tradition, the role or part traditions played in each novel. A tradition is defined in the Collins compact concise dictionary as being the handing down of tales, beliefs, and customs from generation to generation. Think about the average day for you. For me let’s take the average Sunday. On Sunday morning we as a family get up early and have breakfast, a fry up as part of a cultural tradition. Later in the day we attend mass, which is a religious tradition. We have diner in the evening as a family, always. You can not miss Sunday diner at the O’Neill house. Later on in the evening we go our separate ways, doing activities that unknowingly have been installed in us as traditions.
In Fried green tomatoes at the whistle-stop caf? we learn to value tradition through the art of storytelling. The strength of fried green tomatoes at the whistle stop caf? is that its core is the art of story telling. Fannie Flagg who wrote this tale was born in Alabama. Being from their she had a reverence for the storytelling traditions of the South. We are affected by our surroundings. Food in this story is an end in itself. It plays a major role. The family mealtime, which used to be nurturing as well as nourishing, is vanishing in America. Fried Green Tomatoes at the whistle stop caf? recalls the era when life revolved around the evening meal, where people sought comfort from their hardships. “Now I look back, it seems to me that after the caf? closed the heart of the town just stopped beating. Funny how a little knockout place like that can bring so many people together.”
Frying green tomatoes is an old Southern custom, perhaps started by a landowner that could not wait until the spring tomatoes ripened before picking them. I have a recipe that was taken from the reader’s digest cookbook for fried green Tomatoes, or you could use rip red ones as well.
“I was raised the Chinese way!” This quote is very reflective of the more than obvious theme of tradition throughout the pages of the novel the joy luck club. To truly understand the immigrant experience, the ups and downs of life as a human being, read this book. This novel has a unique looking through the keyhole quality, unbeknownst to the families, we are watching their most intimate moments, yet feel welcome our entire visit. Just as a personal side bar I enjoyed the joy luck club more than fried green tomatoes due strictly on the fact that I felt that after reading the novel I had a better understanding and appreciation for my parents who are immigrants from Scotland. This book explores a variety of aspects of the Chinese culture and tradition that I could previously appreciate at full value. The theme of tradition passed on mother to daughter is clearly portrayed. Although very little of the mother daughter tradition in the text is told explicitly from mother to daughter: ritual actions are supposed to be observed, absorbed, read, and understood in order to be transformed, preserved and handed down. A great deal of importance is placed on a variety of traditions found in the joy luck club “Even though I was young I could see the pain of the flesh and the worth of the pain. This is how a daughter honors her mother.” This obviously is a radical example of tradition in the novel, but one that exemplifies the entire sense of tradition, and woman tradition. Arranged marriages, a variety of superstitions, religion in Taoism and Confucianism and the idea of the Joy luck club itself are all examples of tradition throughout the novel. These examples and others show that immigration is futile because the tradition can not be truly communicated in the new land.
Approximately 25 years ago my parent left everything and everyone the ever loved behind in Scotland in hopes of providing a better life for their children in Canada. Although my parents do speak with accents, quite obvious ones at that, they do not represent the traditional Scottish citizen profile. But in saying that, they are far from fitting in to the whole North American or more specifically Canadian profile. In my house we pull traditions from both cultures, kind of like a compromise except most of the time the compromises are unknowing. For example Thanksgiving.
Both fried green tomatoes at the whistle stop caf? as well as the joy luck club deal with relevant issues that relate to anyone and everyone. Generation Gap, communication, culture clashes, male influence, friendship and tradition, they are all applicable to all of us at some period of time in our lives. Both novels create rare pictures designed to teach and impress ideas upon the public. They both have the ability to evoke thought.
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