From The Joy Luck Club
I’m sure I mentioned before that The Joy Luck Club is separated into four sections, each with four stories. The first four stories are the stories of the mothers from when they were children in China. In the second story, “Scar,” An-mei learns the importance of honor to a family. (I’m not going to summarize what happens this time, and I’m going to make an effort to discontinue that practice.)
My comments for this short story are to do with the fact that I wonder if there is honor in families anymore. I used to be afraid to get into trouble in school because it would reflect poorly upon my mother and I’d get it when I got home. But I see so many people boast about the trouble their kinsmen find themselves in. There was a time when airing ones dirty laundry was a bad thing. But now we have high schoolers boasting that they’re pregnant and their future is put on hold to begin a life of child rearing. Where is the honor in that? Why don’t we hear about the kids who went out and did something good and brought honor to their family name? Why don’t we hear people say, “That’s my brother who just got into law school,” or “That’s my sister who just got her nursing license”?
Maybe honor has a different value for people in the east. Maybe because the United States is such a melting pot or salad or whatever you choose to call it, the eastern ideals, like honor, got lost in the mix.