From The Joy Luck Club
There is one particular passage I wanted to look at from this story. Jing-mei is telling the reader about her Auntie An-mei’s trip to China to visit her brother. With her she took a suitcase of goodies (M&Ms and such) and a suitcase of clothes. She was warned by Suyuan that all her family wanted was money, but An-mei paid her no heed.
As my mother told it, “Auntie An-mei had cried before she left for China, thinking she would make her brother very rich an happy by communist standards. But when she got home, she cried to me that everyone had a palm out and she was the only one who left with an empty hand. (36)
This is about appreciation. This is about being grateful for what others are willing to sacrifice for you. This is another one about my students. They’re like baby birds that refuse to grow up and attempt to use their wings. Mama has always put the food directly in their mouths, so why should teachers be any different. Except that tabula rasa is a myth and the banking method doesn’t work. But they’ve got their hands out. Give me food; give me paper; give me a pencil. All of these things and expect no consequence. I give you nothing in return.
Give me the answers.
It is not in procuring the answers that learning occurs. It is in the process of finding the answer that we become smarter.
You know Thomas Edison tried and failed nearly 2,000 times to develop the carbonized cotton thread filament for the incandescent light bulb… When asked about it he said “I didn’t fail. I found out 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb.” (National Treasure)
That’s what I’m talking about.
National Treasure. Dir. Jon Turteltaub. Perf. Nicholas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean. 2004. DVD. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2005.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1989.