Fish Cheeks Critique Amy Tan, a Chinese-American writer, was born in Oakland, California in 1952. In 1989 she wrote The Joy Luck Club, her first novel which tells of the relationships and struggles between full Chinese mothers and their Americanized Chinese daughters. Although the story was fiction, most of the experiences came from Tan’s real life. Besides The Joy Luck Club, Tan has written three more successful novels. Amy Tan’s “Fish Cheeks” is a short narrative about when she was a little girl and her crush came over for dinner.
But it was much more than that. “Fish Cheeks” is a reflection of differences in culture, pride, shame, and realization. One Christmas Eve, Amy’s parents invite her crush Robert, and his family over for dinner. Amy isnt particulary happy about this because Robert and his family are white while she is Chinese.
Obviously the Tan’s Christmas dinner would be much different than what Robert’s family was used to. During the meal, Amy was embarrassed about how her relatives displayed their Chinese customs in front of their guests. After dinner her mother told her that she should never be ashamed of her culture and her only shame was to have shame. “Fish Cheeks” relates to todays society in many ways.
With the growing population of multi-cultural children, there are bound to be some who are confused about where they fit in, in society. Since Robert is white, Amy wants to be as similar to him as possible so she is ashamed of her Chinese heritage. This is not the way to be. You should always have pride in your culture no matter what anybody else thinks.
Amy Tan and Maya Angelou come from extremely different cultures, and trying to feel accepted in American Culture. Both authors discuss a feeling of being an outcast and how their cultural differences set them apart. However, Amy Tan effectively uses narration and description to depict her sense of isolation from the dominant American culture. Angelou’s story is set in the South during the 1930’s ...
“Fish Cheeks” was a good story overall. Although the characters were not developed well, they didnt have to be. The story was short, simple, and to the point, with a direct moral at the end. Any child who may think being different is wrong, should read “Fish Cheeks” for a change of perspective.
When reading “Fish Cheeks” one should look up the meanings of certain terminology to more fully understand the concepts. Some of these words are: race, shame, pride, differences, and culture.