As of the 10th week of the school year, I admit that I am struggling to continue to continue making consistent progress in reading the books required for this half of the 1st 18 weeks. Despite being able to continue to have been able to read a total of over 200 pages from the last time I reported my reading rate to Mrs. Rooks and reading outside of class every few days, I feel as if I am faltering due to my increasing reluctance to read the required materials (including the history-related nonfiction and an AP recommended classic) needed of me for later activities in class. The pressure to finish the two specific books required of me in place of fictional books I enjoy has made me weary to try and read more in my downtime, unfortunately. Nonetheless, I look forward to actively confronting these challenges in the future to better prepare myself for college in the future. I am determined to continue to challenge myself and will try harder to read more of my American Classic, His Excellency to ensure that I will be prepared for the book project that AP Humanity has planned later in the school year, as I have already read at least 80 minutes out of class, so I look forward to reading more out of class as the 2nd half of this semester continues. I've managed to finish one of the books that were required of me as AP-Recommended Classic, named The JoyLuck Club (with quite an ironic name considering that I feel like I can leap for joy after luckily finishing it). Because of this recent development, I feel rather enthusiastic about my ability to achieve my reading goals. I know have noted that even if AP recommended fictional literature did not feel too appealing to explore beforehand, the genre is actually quite more interesting and diverse than I thought beforehand, so I look forward to doing the best I can to read more later on in the future if I find time to.
Right now, I have managed to finish The JoyLuck Club, a book that, instead of focuses on one singular protagonist, explores eight protagonists on a journey of love, self-discovery, and growth. All eight characters,(Suyuan Woo, Jing-mei Woo, Lindo Jong, Waverly Jong, An-mei Hsu, Ying-ying St. Clair, and Lena St. Clair) focus on the deep and complicated nature of family relationships and history of four immigrated Chinese-American women and their daughters, tackling the difficulties of establishing healthy communication, differing cultural values, and hardships of trying meeting dreams and expectations between two very different generations. This book was extremely interesting to me, as it really feels like the characters, through their unusually difficult pasts and challenges did mirror actual adversities most Chinese/Chinese-Americans experience in a generalized sense, and an Asian American myself, I personally was intrigued by how realistic, dark, and the complicated pasts of a majority of the older mother characters were, as they seem to be heavily inspired by the harsh reality concerning the mindsets and cultural values of modern China. This book, though sometimes hard to follow through its constantly changing narratives each chapter, provides an in-depth study of the valiant strength and character found between friends and families during times of need and growth, which has enabled me to have a broader understanding of the importance of human relationships and cultural identities substantially.
Through the entirety of the novel, all the daughters (Jing-mei, Rose Hsu Jordan, Waverly Jong, and Lena St. Clair) of the novel struggle to embrace the cultural and social values of being Chinese. Being born in America has alienated them from the traditions and aspects of being Chinese, and this, in the eyes of their mothers, has contributed prominent ignorance of their true cultural identity. When Jing-Mei Woo shockingly proclaims that even aftr her mother has died, that she does not even know her mother that well after being offered a trip to see her long-lost half sisters (conceding that she will be unable to describe nor talk about her to them accurately nor honorably) by her mother’s friends, the friends start to mildly panic about her ignorance, as Jing-Mei observes that “In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant (of their culture), just as unmindful of the truth and hopes they have brought to America. They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers who speak in Chinese who think they are stupid when they explain things in fractured English...They see daughters who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from generation to generation”(40-41). This establishes that there is a growing reluctance of the younger generation to pass on their pre-established culture. As the older generation notices, they feel helpless as they feel unable to communicate the value of their generation’s previous hopes, lessons, and values. Unfortunately, this encourages for the older generation to further cling unto their stringent memories of China stubbornly as they are convinced that the younger generation is too flighty and difficult to cooperate with to understand, discouraging them to try to empathize with their younger kin’s perspective. This is strongly noted in the passage in the middle of the book, when the older mother, Lindo Jong, proclaims after learning of her daughter’s failing marriage,”I was raised the Chinese way; I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people’s misery, to eat my own bitterness. And even though I taught my daughter the opposite, she still came out the same way!...All of us (female Chinese family members) are like stairs, one step after another, going up and down, but all going the same way”(215).Through this perspective, she further reinforces a greater rift of understanding the developing social identities of not only her children, but of all the American-Chinese youths she sees as determined to meet the same fate as their parents, enforcing a more strict and inflexible view of Chinese culture with herself and her friends. As a result of having such a rigid mindset, she indirectly refuels resentment by the younger generation, perceiving that they had to continually to be forcibly identified and/or be scrutinized with the Chinese cultural aspects they had not wholly embraced nor associated with, resulting in the daughters of the Joyluck Club to start to either deny, ignore, or distance their relations to their ethnic, cultural, and familial roots of being Chinese, continuing the cycle of miscommunication between the two distinctive generations of Chinese-Americans.
While America, a melting pot of different races and cultures, sees its diversity as an advantageous strength in the creation of a collective cultural identity, it is evidently clear that the very diversity of various people with the subsequent unification of such diverse people under a singular culture has the capability to engender different and more complicated issues, such as of massive ethnical identity crisises. How should one’s American born children culturally identify themselves? Should first-generation Americans fully embrace the cultural and social values of their previous homeland's? Or should first-generation Americans just associate with America's culture exclusively? These questions are but a few of the many self-identity issues that are prevalent through the complicated (and often uncomfortable) nature of intergenerational cross-cultural dissonance, a term (according to this website) used to describe “an uncomfortable sense of discord, disharmony, confusion or conflict experienced by people in their cultural environment...” (and in this case,) spanning across multiple generations. Because the adolescence period of a person’s life is considered a person’s most socially influential period of their life, having a strong dissonance from having a clear cultural identity can contribute to behavioral problems in youths, as young people who have immigrated to America (and possibly even first generation Americans) are more likely to divulge in risky activities such as “substance abuse, unprotected sex, and delinquency…” as a result of their cultural dissonance, further exacerbating the sense of alienation in a growing children, discouraging communication with a child and its parents, and contributing to difficult familial relationships . As the parents struggle to adjust to differing cultural, social, and ideological ideals with their children, they ultimately continue to harbor conflicting interests of social values (such as respect, obedience to traditional ideas) that contributes to a dissociation that empathizes a growing rift of mutual understanding between the two distinctive generations.
This video further elaborates how the dysfunctional cultural acculturation between generations can foster uncomfortable distance between familial relations. Deciding to either accept the responsibility of being loyal to their traditional cultures or ultimately disregarding aspects of the idealistic cultural values placed upon them to maintain an autonomous sense of "American-ized" identity, even to this day, still produces vivid personal ramifications to the intermediate interpersonal communities around themselves.Societal values, cultural dissonance, and a lack of proper individual autonomy in the face of an alternating personal cultural identity can all ultimately contribute to challenging emotional developments for both parents and children during times of cultural identities
Carola and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco. “Children of Immigration” Harvard Educational Review, 2001
http://hepg.org/her-home/issues/harvard-educational-review-volume-71-issue- 3/herbooknote/children-of-immigration_112 . Accessed 13 November 2017.
“Intergenerational Cultural Dissonance” Youtube uploaded by Judy Lee 8 May. 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgN2WrLOgmY Accessed 13 November 2017
Schell, Orville. “Your Mother Is in Your Bones” New York Times, 19 March. 1989,
http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/02/18/specials/tan-joy.html Accessed 13 November 2017