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A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Family Relationships in the US and China - Essay Example

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This paper "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Family Relationships in the US and China" focuses on a short narrative contained in a collection of short stories bearing the same name and depicting the implications for Chinese both at home and America following the Cultural Revolution. …
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A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Family Relationships in the US and China
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Download file to see previous pages Among the characters are Chinese immigrants who are either settling or settled in America or immigrants who have returned to China. In the short story, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers Mr Shi visits his newly divorced daughter in America and the cross-cultural clashes are poignant. Arising out of these cross-cultural skirmishes a cultural theory arises which demonstrates the differences between relationships among family members in both China and the US.

Yiyun Li, herself a Chinese immigrant to the US was born in Beijing, China moving to the US in 1996. (Ahmed, 2005) Her work A Thousand Years of Good Prayers is a reflection of the Chinese personal and cultural adjustments to a country and its ideology that morphed from Marxism to one the world’s strongest economic forces. (Ahmed, 2005) Even so, the historic impact of political and societal Marxism continued to stifle Chinese consciousness and greatly impact Chinese familial relations in stark contrast to American cultural realism.
Mr Shi in Li’s A Thousand Years of Good Prayers illustrates the contrast and the continuing struggles of Chinese Marxists ideology as Chinese moved on in the 1990s. In A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Mr Shi a new visitor to America finds himself marvelling over the disparity in earning capacity. For instance, he tells a woman, a Persian immigrant that his daughter who is merely a librarian in America makes more money than he did in China as a rocket scientist. (Li, 2006, 263) Mr Shi makes some minor but salient observations that highlight the cultural differences between Americans and Chinese. To start with five days into his visit he has made many acquaintances and observes that Americans are happy and friendly. (Li, 2006, 263) The assumption is that back in China there is an aura of discontent.

Mr Shi is enamoured by the Americans he encounters in the park. He describes the women with their babies in strollers who wave at him.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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