Cathy song on mother daughter relationship Cathy song was Chinese and Korean origin poet who was born and bred in Hawaii. Her interaction with different regional and ethnic identities made her more sensitive of those relationships which bring different people close together…
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This realization seems to have become an impetus for her creative sensibility. The recurrence of this theme of filial connections forms the pervasive subject and the thematic content of her poetry. Song has credited her early interest in writing to her family’s travels: “Our family travels started my writing. I guess I was around nine years old when I decided I wanted to be the family chronicler” ( “ Poetry Foundation”). From this quote we can infer that incessant traveling with her family does have an impact on her creative genius and may also have made her admit the importance of these family relationships in a person’s life. “Song’s poetic oeuvre is united by her abiding focus on family. The moral ties that bind women to children and parents, to their community, to tradition, and to the land are continuously interwoven throughout her verse” ( “ Poetry Foundation” ). We also find a mention of some broader themes like impact of immigration on the lives of the people. But whatever she sees these things, she sees them through the kaleidoscope of her family. In her poetry, Cathy Song usually examines the everyday world that touches and affects her. Cucinella observes: As such, possible topics for Song’s poetry include the lives of her grandparents in Hawaii following their immigration from China and Korea, the resistance of third generation Asian Americans to the traditional Asian Ways and their paradoxical needs to embrace their Asian ancestry, and the more mundane aspect of her life as a daughter, mother , and wife (353). In her third collection of poem, School Figure, “Song explores further than before relationships between husband and wife, mother and son, and mother and daughter. “ The Grammar Silk” explores how a mother wishes a better life and escape for her daughter”( Cucinella 353). In the following lines we will explore the extent and scope of this recurrent theme of family ties in Cathy’s poetry. Our probe will further be delimited to mother-daughter relationship in her poetry. All the nuances of this relationship will be explored to strengthen our thesis that Cathy’s close association with her family became the cause of her creative genius and made her imprint different facets of her connection with her parents and especially of her mother. Our analysis will be based on three of Song’s representative poems:” The Grammar of Silk”, “The Youngest Daughter” and “The White Wash”. The Grammar of Silk The grammar of silk shows a mother’ concern for her daughter and desire to see her past and future in her. The mother is trying to accomplish what was missing in her. “She was determined that I should sew/ as if she knew what she herself was missing” ( Song Lines 49-50).That’s why she has sent her to a sewing school. She wants to ensure that her daughter should be an accomplished seamstress and should learn this art to the perfection. The mother’s choice seems to be pleasing for her daughter. On Saturdays in the morning my mother sent me to Mrs. Umemoto’s sewing school. It was cool and airy in her basement, pleasant—a word I choose (Song Lins 1-4). The place is not just a sewing school. It assumes a higher existence and transforms into a safe haven for women. Song reflects: This evidently was a sanctuary, a place where women confined with children conferred, consulted the oracle, the stone tablets of the latest pattern books( Song Lines 27-30). The Youngest Daugh
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