Lena’s Rice Husband

In the chapter “Rice Husband,” of The Joy Luck Club, the main character, Lena, eats furiously scouring every grain of rice to avoid a poke-marked man to be her husband in the future. This concept is given by her mother in order to persuade her to eat properly. In contrast, Lena perceives it quite seriously and believes it is a good method to avoid Arnold, a boy with many pokes as big as rice grains size, and whom she hated a lot for his mischiefs. However, her thinking changes when she sees a movie in her school about the people who suffer from leprosy. As being a naïve child, she thinks that a person who suffer from leprosy and dies is the result of his wives’ half plate eating habit. Therefore, she decides not to eat. She doesn’t wish Arnold to die, but she wants to escape the prospects of him being her future husband. Coincidently, Arnold suffers from measles and dies after some years.  As time elapses, Lena realizes that it was her foolishness to believe taking every piece of rice at the end of her meal brings the misfortune to marry a bad husband. However, her eating disorder continues causing her to suffer from anorexia. Finally, when she is 28, she marries Harold, who tends to be a real bad husband contrasting to Arnold who was her “wounded love”. Harold, her mercenary husband, spoils her married life which makes her realize that whatever she gets is what she deserves.

Amy Tan, the author of The Joy Luck Club, symbolizes ‘rice’ as a person. ‘Rice husband’ is for Arnold who used to love her and who would really be nice to her if he was alive, but she has lost the opportunity to spend her life with a good man. As Lena tried to do bad to Arnold to avoid him to be her future husband, she had to suffer a bad husband. Rice is also used as a symbol to show that if a person wants or intends to do badly to others, then he or she has to suffer similar kinds of action in return.

In my view, this is a very significant way to make the readers aware of the consequences that a person has to suffer if his or her intentions are to harm others.  In my view, the way Lena portray as a brutal woman shows that if a person wants to demolish others, then sooner or later the person will suffer pain, which may be similar to his or her bad deeds.


2 Responses to Lena’s Rice Husband

  1. fmoriam says:

    I defer with your response, but I found out a problem in your entry which I would like to mention as a good friend. The first paragraph of your entry is like a summary of “Rice Husband”, which I guess was needless. In the 2nd paragraph you said, “‘Rice husband’ is for Arnold who used to love her and who would really be nice to her if he was alive, but she has lost the opportunity to spend her life with a good man.” How do you know? It is true that Arnold loved her, but that does not mean he was a nice person. Atleast, there was no mention of Arnold’s being a good man. In the last paragraph, I liked the way you related the reciprocation of fate. If we do bad with someone, definitely we have to suffer too today or tomorrow. So, Lena had to suffer too for the effort she took to harm Arnold.

    • ansadhikari says:

      Hey Farah,
      Thanks for your comments. According, to the guideline no.1 we can write short summary for the text which we read in our class. Moreover, ‘rice husband’ is a metaporical word for Arnold in the text. The word ‘rice’ is for the person who has pock marks as per the size of rice grain on his face, and Arnold had many pocks. The word ‘husband’ refers to the man who will marry Lena, and as Arnold liked her so there were high chances to marry her. You may be confused about the concept how Arnold liked her. There is an example where he used to tease and shoot Lena with rubberbands on her legs everyday. According to many persons’ views, the nature of the small boy who likes to tease a girl constantly is just because he likes her. Similarly, Arnold is also guessed to like Lena. Also, when Lena’s mother said about the husband thing then Arnold was the man who — first — came into Lena’s mind. Furthermore, there is a line in the text where Lena mentions “wounded love” which refers to love which could have been possible if Arnold was alive. Therefore, at last she did not get Arnold and her “rice husband ” was not the man, Harold, whom she married.
      For the reference ‘why boys tease girls’ you can visit the folllowing website..
      Shovo Nabo barshu!!

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