What do you think about when you think of Yanyan’s mother? Mother is a very traditional person. She is also very old school. Mother is a cultural/traditional woman who likes doing things the way they were done before.
Mother certainly does not like it when Yanyan wants to attend Cornell University. When Yanyan talks at the dinner table Mother does not like it because she thinks it’s unladylike! She is also very strict. When Yanyan was going to her brother’s room to sit with them and Liang Baoshu, Mother hated the idea of Yanyan sitting with boys. Mother is the complete opposite of father. She likes to stay traditional and has bound feet. This woman does not even speak up at the dinner table because Chinese women are usually quiet and did not share their opinions. When Yanyan makes decisions about her future, Mother tries to convince Father otherwise. She doesn’t exactly like all the decisions Yanyan is making, but at the end she agrees to let her have her way. It is very hard for mother to accept changes because she was also very traditional when she was a child. She probably followed what her own mother had done and now was trying to pass it on to her own daughter. The only problem is that Yanyan already decided her future and does not need her mother watching over her and telling her all these things she is doing are unladylike. In the beginning of the book, Mother is way stricter then at the end of the book. As the book goes on, Mother loosens a bit and starts agreeing to Yanyan’s decisions more often, but what catches Mother’s attention is when she feels the connection between Yanyan and Baoshu:she acts quickly. She takes father to the side and tells him what she thinks is going on. She thinks it’s indecent for young people to meet or communicate in any way before a formal arrangement. Father was always explaining to mother that times have changed and they must too, but mother disagree.
Yanyan’s mother represents a very traditional side. She has bound feet. Bound feet is when you tie your feet together so you will take small and slow steps like a lady should. The men would not marry a women if she did not have bound feet so maybe that’s why mother was so used to girls having bound feet.
This woman was very shy to talk at the dinner table because there were men around, even if it was just her family. It was funny how her own husband had to encourage her just to talk. She didn’t like sharing her opinions, as we said before. It was also hard for her to talk to her own sons too!
Mother’s idea of a Chinese woman isn’t anywhere near how Yanyan is acting. She likes doing everything the way it was done in the “old days”. Mother should be more opened and try new things, like father. We know it’s good to keep our past tradition and pass it on like Mother does, but you wont know what new traditions are coming your way if you keep the old.
Mother is very old school. She is a woman that wants her daughter to do everything the way it was done in the past. She doesn’t realize everything is different in the present. Although mother is an awesome woman she should still be opened to changes!
Bye: Zeinab Jalloul, Hyatt