Reality vs. Appearance

I was quite shocked when I read how An-Mei’s mother became concubine of Wu Tsing when I read “Magpies,” one of the chapters in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Previously, I was thinking that she herself had fled away with him as I read about her family members’ feelings towards her. According to them, she was a ghost, of whom An-Mei was forbidden to talk about so that An-Mei forgets her mother forever. They thought that An-Mei’s mother had no respect for her family and her ancestors, and so did I before I read the chapter, “Magpies.”  Thus, I came to know what we see in our daily lives is not always the reality. Behind it hides a bitter truth, which when gets exhibited, the entire story somersaults.

Though An-Mei thinks that Yan Chang, her mother’s personal maid, did not do a good job by telling her the bitter truth about her mother, I reckon it was good that she told An-Mei the truth. Otherwise, she might have the feeling that her mother was a ghost, and she fled away with Wu Tsing on her own wish throughout her life. The question, “Why did she flee away to become a concubine, thereby creating so much hatred in her family members towards her?” always lingers in her mind.  This may hamper more or less in her love towards her mother even though she lived with her mother later.

It was only after Yan Chang told her the truth that An-Mei began to see the Second Wife’s real image and true nature. Previously, she was already trapped in the Second Wife’s trap when the Second Wife gave her a pearly necklace. However, her mother was so furious about that, and she even stepped on the necklace to show An-Mei that it was an artificial necklace. An-Mei had no idea why her mother hated the Second Wife so much. Moreover, if Yan Chang had not told her the reality, An-Mei could have become a victim of her conspiracy. Who knows the Second Wife may end up making An-Mei Wu Tsing’s fifth concubine; there would be an ample chance of this incident to happen. Hence, I think Yan Chang was right to tell An-Mei the veracity.

Indeed, every person has right to know the truth, that may have an intense effect on his or her life.

About kalpana23
I am a student.

2 Responses to Reality vs. Appearance

  1. Dear Kalpana,
    Whatever you have written is something I too felt. At first when we read about An-Mei’s mom leaving house and becoming concubine of someone else, I too wondered why she chose to do that. Now, after reading “Magpies”, a sense of respect has aroused in my heart for her. Those sacrifices for her family and daughter are really appreciable. Whatever we see not necessarily means that it has to be the truth. The picture behind that scene can be contrary as in The Joy Luck Club. As you said that Yan Chang’s decision of telling An-Mei the truth of her mother seems right to you, I also feel that An-Mei deserves to be known about the truth behind her mother. After knowing the truth, she starts to love and respect her mother more than before. I guess some truth, if revealed, can change the perspective of people regarding their lives and the people they are attached to. I loved reading your blog entry. Wish you luck for your upcoming entries as well.

  2. roksanahasib says:

    Hi Kalpana,
    Like you, previously i had also had some negetive feelings towards An mei’s mother. However, i also got shochked when i came to know the real circumstances of her mother. I really like the way you have explained why it was important for An mei to know the reality of her mother. Otherwise she would have some negetive feelings for her mother in her later life. As Yan Chang told her the true story, she understood the sufferings of her mother and also developed true respect for her mother, which is very important. On the other hand, it was also possible that she would have also been trapped by the second wife like her mother. Since she knew the negetive sides of the second wife from Yan Chang, she became aware of her motives. Therefore, Yan Chang’s telling the story to An mei plays a very important role in the novel.

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