Response to “The Red Candle”

“The Red Candle”- the third chapter of the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, is a heart-touching life story of a girl named Lindo Jong. Lindo was a victim of those evil superstitions that existed in the Chinese societies about 100 years ago. Though it sounds ridiculous, it was her destiny that she was betrothed to a boy at the age of two only. Then she had to go her in law’s house at the age of 12 where she was treated as the servant girls, and was coerced to do household chores by her mother in law. Moreover, her sufferings were increased when she realized that she was married to a gay who had no interest in girls. Lindo wanted to escape from her in law’s house, but she had her parents’ promise to keep. At last another superstition helped her to get rid of that unhappy condition.

When I was reading “The Red Candle” I was simultaneously reminiscing about Shabanu’s life- the main character of the novel SHABANU: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples. Shabanu was an 11 years old girl of Cholistan desert in Pakistan who was also betrothed to a boy from her childhood. Shabanu also sacrificed her life for her family’s happiness by getting married to Rahim Sahib who was of the same age of her father, and who had had already three wives.

Let’s look at the Bangladeshi societies. It was my grandmother who was married to my grandfather at the age of nine even when her monthly period had not started. She used to sleep with her mother in law until her menstrual cycle begun. Now here is the question, “What’s the cause to marry off a girl at such a tender age?”  At that time, it was a custom to send the girls to their in law’s house before they get mental and physical maturity. They believed that a matured girl would not obey her in laws. They used to send a girl to her in law’s house at a tender age so that her mother in law could teach her every household chores and social manners according to their own society. At that little age, a girl couldn’t understand what is right or wrong, so she used to lead a life in a way her in laws taught her.

In conclusion, we can say that destroying a girl’s life through early marriage is not only a Chinese custom; it was existed and still existing for decades in every society wherever it is in China, Pakistan or Bangladesh. It is the common phenomenon of gender inequality all over the world whenever it is in the past or now. However, I appreciate Lindo for her clever trick to escape from her in law’s house. She was the fortunate one- I have to say, but everyday thousands of girls are still sacrificing their lives to uphold their parents’ honor.


One Response to Response to “The Red Candle”

  1. rstha says:

    yaa, i too agree that the custom of early marriage is not a good custom. it takes away a right of a girl to live freely and keep her inner spirit alive. this is a custom and people are reluctant to bring any changes on their custom; however, i feel that one should adapt changes with respect to time. people must come up with some amendments in their custom to move along time.
    the custom of early marrriage is everywhere, it exists even in Nepal. i have heard many stories of girls who were married in early age and have destroyed a part of their lives. one should obey one’s parents, but parents, too, should think about the future and life of their children.
    hope the tide of change will soon occur and girls will get to live their life independently.

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