Essay title: The Cultural Aspects of “the Bonesetter’s Daughter”
Chinese culture is a male dominated culture that leaves women little freedom.Their only job is to make their male spouses content. Living with their traditional culture in American society, Chinese-American women suffer a conflict of culture.
While their American husbands are active and assertive, they are passive and place their happiness entirely on the goodness of their spouses. In many cases, this passiveness can be seen as a weakness. Amy Tanâ€™s personal background involves a constant struggle between cultures. Her tumultuous life began in 1952 in the predominantly white neighborhood of Oakland, California.Her parents immigrated to America just before the communist revolution in China in the late 1940s.Her father, John Tan, worked as an electrical engineer and an assistant minister at various Baptist churches. Her mother was a homemaker, taking care of Amy and her two brothers.
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Both of Amy Tanâ€™s parents expected a lot out of their children, especially when it came to work and money. Amy was expected to become a neurosurgeon by trade and a concert pianist by hobby.3 When Amy Tan was fifteen years old, her father and brother Peter both died from brain tumors within six months of one another.1 After their deaths, Amyâ€™s life radically departed from the median. Amyâ€™s mother, Daisy, fell into a deep depression, even at one point trying to kill Amy.
Amy herself rebelled against anything that resembled her Chinese roots. Tan even went as far as to wear a clothespin on her nose at night, while sleeping, in an effort to â€œwesternizeâ€ her looks.These experiences made it difficult for Amy Tan to value American and Chinese cultures equally. This was especially apparent in Tanâ€™s schooling. Tan was the only Chinese student in her classes all through her grade school years. Because of her ethnicity, her teachers felt that her studies should be directed towards math and science as opposed to English.
1After much relocation, Tan graduated high school at the age of seventeen in Switzerland and came back to America to pursue higher education at a Baptist college in Oregon.2 There she began as a pre-med student but, eventually decided to major in English and linguistics. However, after only two semesters, Tan decided to transfer to San Jose City College where she eventually received her Masters degree. Upon graduation Amy Tan enrolled in a doctoral program in linguistics but, soon drop out to pursue various careers: bartending, pizza making, and working in a mental health facility. In these jobs, Tan was identified as a representative for ethnic minorities which raised the problem of tokenism.1 Amy left these jobs and became a freelance business writer for scientific, technological, and banking organizations, a job that finally offered her financial security. 2 Although Amy Tan seemed to have achieved a degree of normality in her life, she found herself becoming a workaholic.
This mental instability forced her to search for a form of therapy apart of that of psychotherapy. Tan found this new form of therapy in something that she fell in love with at a young age, fiction writing. During this time, she found herself drawn to novels.