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Culture, Social Status and Identity in Viramontes' The Months and Tan's Rules of the Game - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 20 June 2012 Culture, Social Status, and Identity in Viramontes’ “The Moths” and Tan’s “Rules of the Game” People are social beings, who crave to belong to their society, but not all people think this way. In Viramontes’ “The Moths” and Tan’s “Rules of the Game,” two girls defy pre-existing social and cultural beliefs about womanhood and self-identity…
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Culture, Social Status and Identity in Viramontes The Months and Tans Rules of the Game
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"Culture, Social Status and Identity in Viramontes' The Months and Tan's Rules of the Game"

Download file to see previous pages These stories are the same because they depict the cultural and social status of their characters, and the main protagonists want to mold identities that conflict with their society’s beliefs about womanhood, but they are different, because they discover dissimilar sanctuaries, where they can be, who they are, without being judged. These short stories are the same, because they portray the cultural and social status of the characters. The beliefs and practices of the protagonist in “The Moths” demonstrate that she comes from a conservative and patriarchal society. This society demands their women to be submissive and skilled in feminine tasks and values, such as crocheting. Her father, who she calls Apa, often gets angry with her, because she dislikes going to church. As part of their conservative and religious culture, they are expected to go to mass every Sundays, especially decent girls and women. But she does not does not like the church, because its “vastness” makes her feel alone (Viramontes). Likewise, in “Rules of the Game,” Waverly’s Chinese is culture is very conservative, where hierarchies exist. On top of the family hierarchy are parents, who children will and should never disobey. When Waverly’s mother says this, she embodies the “strong wind” in her daughter’s life: “Strongest wind cannot be seen” (Tan). She cannot see her mother, who is always at her back, watching and commenting on her every move, not only in chess, but in real life. The social status of the characters is also evident in the settings of the story. The protagonist in “The Moths” lives in a place where superstitions are respected. Her grandmother mixes dried moth wings with Vicks to soothe her “bull hands” and shrink them back to normal size (Viramontes). Her grandmother also has stomach cancer, but they do not have money to pay for expensive therapies. Similarly, Waverly lives in a poor community, although she is not aware that she is poor. They live on a “…two-bedroom flat that sat above a small Chinese bakery” (Tan). It signifies living in a cramped and controlled space, where Waverly cannot expect to express her freedoms. These stories are also the same, because the female protagonists challenge their cultures, in order to form their identities. The protagonist in “The Moths” does not believe in following cultural norms about womanhood. Instead of learning how to crochet, she learns how to plant with her grandmother. Her “bull hand” signifies that she does not fit with her society, because her personality, preferences, and beliefs oppose female stereotypes and Christian norms. When she smells the chile, she cries not only because of the chile’s spice on her eyes, but also because of herself. She is like a chile that hurts the feelings of her family, who wants her to be someone she is not. She is also compared to the “defiant” sun, because they both resist changing for others (Tan). When the sun meets the land during sunset, the union depicts that “endings” are windows to “rebirths” (Tan). But if she will be reborn, she will be the same pertinent and critical daughter that makes Apa angry and disappointed. Also, Waverly defies her culture, by becoming a great chess player and toppling every other man or boy she plays with. Moreover, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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