I have read Amy Tan's essay, "Fish Cheeks," where she talks about her cultural



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Carolyn Chan

10/11/2005

ENG099.0744

Assign. 2 & 3



I have read Amy Tan's essay, "Fish Cheeks," where she talks about her cultural
background, how they used to celebrate Christmas Eve and what kind of food they
usually have on the dinning table, compared to Americans that have some breads, pasta,
roasted turkey, and wine; how her family and relatives behave every time they celebrate
holydays, when her parents invite her American boyfriend, Robert, and his family to have
a dinner at house on Christmas Eve; and how Robert reacted, and what he would think
after that dinner in their house.

I can say, Amy expect the worst that night, where she was not sure what her


mother was trying to prove, why her mother preferred to have a Chinese dinner with
Amy's favorite foods on the table, rather than an American dinner would suit Robert
and his family's appetite, and also why her mother invited Robert and his family to a
holiday dinner where all her relatives were there and behave badly even when they
were in front of other guests.

Amy's mother understood her feelings, and knows that Amy is ashamed of what


happen during the dinner with Robert and his family, so after the dinner, her mother
handed her a beige tweed mini-skirt, which every “American” girls wore, so she didn’t
have to be ashamed because she didn’t wear what other American girls wore. Amy and
her mother knew that whatever she wore or ate, she couldn't change her reality. She was
still a Chinese girl, with Chinese culture.

Base on my own experience, when I first came to United States, I encountered a


roller-coaster-like emotion, where I felt afraid and left out, because I was not born and
raised here; I was not confident talking with other people even though we came from
different cultures, because I couldn't speak English fluently; and I sometimes felt rejected
when I was alone, because I was not confident walking alone around other people.

Sometimes, being left out is not really a big deal for other people because there


are so many people around that they can hang out with, but for some people, it makes
them feel bad and they will think people don't care whether they are there or not. Like in
my own experience, I feet left out on some of my classes, because I don't talk to other
people, especially when I don't know them even though we are in the same class and I
don't have much to tell.

Moreover, many people here in this country know how to speak English, but


English is their second or third language; so many of them spoke in broken English, like
for example, I sometime spoke in broken English, whenever I forget that I'm n United
States and not in our country. In Chinese, we don't have many rules to follow and almost
every subject is either singular or plural; also, when we use Filipino, there are many rules,
but it's not confusing because you can easily identify if the sentence is past, present or
future.

Finally, I define rejection as the worst feeling that an individual could encounter,


but people are people, reject whatever or whomever they want, including people and
sometime, rejection is cause by jealousy, because an individual can't be satisfied with
what they have, and still desire more. For example, when I was still in high school, I
always felt rejected by my classmates, like they didn't want to talk to me, when they
didn't need help. One time, one of my friends saw my name written in the back of our
classmate's notebook. It said, "I hate long haired CAROLYN CHAN," but I never had a
chance to confront her, so I don't really know why she hated and rejected me.

Being a Chinese girl who was born in another country is not easy. Some people


tease you or make fun of you, but you have to face it. People are born perfect; however,
as people grow older, they becomes less and less perfect because of the exposes to the
world. On the other hand, there are some features that people don't really like about
themselves, and they feel angry, why they are Chinese or why they have different culture
then others. No matter what happened, you don't need to be ashamed of what you are,
because this is you, you're the only one who knows who you really are.


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