Where the Gods Fly
Arriving to a new, foreign country, having left everything known behind must be one of the hardest things to do. Especially when the new culture you have to adapt to is so different from your origin. Adapting to the new values and norms, which are so dissimilar from the ones engraved into you, is problematic. The values from your origin that you want to learn your children are not easy, whilst living in a country so different from your own. This is the problem depicted in Jean Kwok’s short story “Where the Gods Fly”.
The short story is told by a first person narrator, the mother, who is also the protagonist. Because the story is only seen through her eyes, it can be somewhat biased. The memories and understanding of the new culture is only seen from her point of view, which makes it hard to respond to the conflict. The mother arrived in America with her husband and her daughter Pearl. Both the mother and father worked hard on a factory, which meant that they had little time to be home with Pearl. This resulted in a somewhat isolated childhood for Pearl, because she was not socialising with other people. As the years progressed, a big contrast had grown between the mother and Pearl. Pearl is adapting the new culture, and therefore the difference between the two, increases. The mother on the other hand stays the same, unable to adapt to America. This is a big cliff between the two characters, because the mother is incapable of understanding her daughter’s American lifestyle. The mother feels the need to protect her child, by wanting her to stop dancing, because that is not something you can live on, at least not in her culture. She is unable to see that the ballet can get her daughter an education and independence, which is a high priority for her. The mother is very religious, and seeks the Buddhas acceptance of what she is about to do. Her religion plays a big role in what kind of character she is and also plays a significant role...
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