Essay, Research Paper
Two of My Favorite Books
Two novels that I could read over and over again, “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan and “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Caf?” by Fannie Flag. The two novels share similar qualities while conveying their different story lines.
“The Joy Luck Club” is a sage about several Chinese mothers and their American-born daughters. It is also about the mothers’ experiences with immigrating, and/or their upbringing. It depicts the relationship between the mothers’ and their daughters and how this relationship affects the daughters lives. Emphasis is placed on historical references and the struggle of women. All of the mothers were born between the mid 1920’s and the late 1940’s. The political and social histories of China were important factors in the character building youth of these women. Between 1931 and 1945 China was occupied by the Japanese, which led to their immigration to the United States. Chinese cultural traditions such as arranged marriages, different religions, and superstitious notions, all which repress women, also influenced their character. A great deal of importance is placed on the variety of traditions that were placed on them. The theme of tradition being passed down from mother to daughter is also stressed. This particular tradition is not explicitly expressed. In order for it to be preserved and handed down it is to be observed, absorbed, and understood. Yet one of the main (ideas) points of the novel is to show that these traditions were not imposed on the American-born daughters as they were on their mothers. In turn, this leads to the vast differences and conflicts between the mothers and their daughters. Some of the differences and conflicts are good while others are not.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Caf? is a novel about two women in the 1980’s. An elderly Mrs. Threadgood tells a tale of two young women, which takes place over half a century ago, to Evelyn, a sad depressed middle-aged woman. The story is about the relationship between Idgie, a dare devilish tomboy and her good-hearted friend Ruth. Together, in the 1930’s, they ran a southern caf?, offering good barbecue, good coffee, and all kinds of love and laughter in Whistle Stop, Alabama. As Mrs. Threadgood tells the story of the past, the present for Evelyn will never be the same. The story of the relationship between Idgie and Ruth and all of the adventures and drama that they endured together gave Evelyn hope. They inspired her to make changes in her own life. The book also gives reference to the historically preconceived notions of southerners, separate and not equal. It too shows the struggle of women because of cultural ideas. It also suggests the value of tradition. It recalls the era when life revolved around the evening meal, a time when mealtimes were just as nurturing as they were nourishing. The title it self gives name to an old southern traditional recipe, fried green tomatoes.
Although these two stories are very unique in their own way, they also share numerous similarities. They are both novels that anyone can identify with. They have all of the qualities that make it universal: relationships, history, culture, and tradition. The stories deal with relevant issues that all can relate to. Male influences, friendship, culture clashes, and tradition are all applicable to people at some period of time in their lives. They both focus on the age-old clash between generations and show the turbulence it creates in relationships. History and cultural tradition are also of importance in each. They each lay the foundations for each of the characters. They are also similar because they teach to value tradition through the art of storytelling. This idea alone makes these two novels, with very different stories, similar. They whole bases for each book is based on the characters relaying their life stories, values, and lessons learned.