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Key Motives of Amy Tan's Novels

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In Tan’s novels, her Chinese and Western culture and the ultimate attempt at balancing the two is the foundation in which her stories lie upon: the trivial matters such as the manner in which one sits at a table, of the way one speaks and behaves, as well as the rough yet cherished moments of life. These details are perfectly described due to Tan’s expert use of verisimilitude and are showcased in each and every one of her characters. A key component of Amy Tan that exists in the plane where this struggle is housed is that of her relationship with her Chinese immigrant mother. Chinese maternal love is a focus in many of her works and for good reason. Maternal love is described as the unstoppable driving force that carries stories and customs from generation to generation, keeping the family’s values alive and protected from time. Being one of her last ties to her Chinese culture, Amy Tan’s mother signifies the bridge between Tan’s Chinese and American customs, therefore for Tan to incorporate an overarching theme of the importance of mother and daughter relationships throughout ‘The Bonesetter’s Daughter’ comes to no surprise. Tan succeeds in portraying her mother through the character Luling Young in a filtered manner so that her American readers can understand and relate to her. Luling Young, like Tan’s mother, is seen as a vessel, carrying with her the ideals of her home country in a foreign place so that her daughter can have access to the present as well as the past. In this sense, Tan puts an artistic spin to her history in her work.

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Being pressured to maintain this very connection while pursuing one’s own goals and interests is another thread that is seen in Amy Tan’s life, Chinese culture, and in ‘The Bonesetter’s Daughter’. In ‘The Bonesetter’s Daughter’, Tan successfully brings her historical background and context and instills them in a fictional work of art. Living in San Francisco, California, the character Rose lives an unsatisfied life, trying to balance her own interests and lifestyle while simultaneously being held down with the responsibility of taking care of her mother suffering from Alzheimer’s. Their unique experience and their own opinion of how a mother should be caused a rift between Rose and LuLing even more substantial than the one already existing, which was due to their lack of communication, something inevitable between a loved one and an Alzheimer’s patient. Tan is seen, once again, using subtle underlying messages to convey emotional stresses between mothers and daughters in the novel, mirroring how she felt in her own relationship with her mother. The emotion described mimics water: susceptible to its surroundings and constantly in a state of flux, but, eventually softening the rigid dirt full of tension and allowing for a substance that is malleable, allowing for the shaping of something new. The dynamic relationship moves the readers and pulls them in due to the aforementioned mystery and mysticism of oriental culture that Amy Tan incorporates in her works. Three generations of experience, including her own, give Tan the ability to feel the bumps and curves of her life through her characters, along with the recurring motif of Yin and Yang.

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Key Motives of Amy Tan’s Novels. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-motives-of-amy-tans-novels/
“Key Motives of Amy Tan’s Novels.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/key-motives-of-amy-tans-novels/
Key Motives of Amy Tan’s Novels. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-motives-of-amy-tans-novels/> [Accessed 27 Nov. 2022].
Key Motives of Amy Tan’s Novels [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2022 Nov 27]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/key-motives-of-amy-tans-novels/
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