Salute to Jing-Mei Woo

In my opinion, we are selfish in our nature. I have written this word in italics because in my sense, it is a relative term. What we consider as selfishness maybe that is not the same way what others think. However, there are some people who can change this term in a good sense. For example, maybe a mother is selfish for her own child. She wants her child to be the best of all; different from other child. However, to the child, his or her mother is the epitome of altruism. We can give up our negative selfishness by turning it positively. Though we are all selfish, we have some inner powers what we can use to change our selfishness into altruism. I got this inspiration from Jing-Mei Woo when I read the chapter “Best Quality” in the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

Jing-Mei’s mother wanted her to make a prodigy, but she neglected her mother’s want and expectation. After then, there was a hidden conflict between them. Her mother Suyuan and she never able to understand each other until the crab party where Waverly and his family and boy-friend were invited. It was the climax for this mother-daughter relationship when Jing-Mei chose the bad crab for herself because of the intention of giving her mother the left best crab. Before that Jing-Mei was insulted by Waverly Jong, daughter of her mother’s friend. Waverly treated Jing-Mei in that way that she was in undermining position than her. Later, in dinner, Waverly chose the best crabs for herself and her family without thinking others. However Jing-Mei chose the less good crab because she wanted her mother to give the other good crab. It was the peak moment for Suyuan to understand her daughter’s altruistic nature which is contrast in Waverly’s nature. Then Suyuan understood that maybe Waverly was more intelligent that Jing-Mei, but Jing-Mei’s behavior and nature were far better that Waverly.

It is a great lesson for me to understand the example of ‘selfishness vs. altruism’. We are selfish in many senses, but Jing-Mei’s altruistic behavior has made me to understand that ‘altruism’ is the best quality. We can change ourselves gradually by sacrificing for good things. What we feel by sacrificing something for well-being for someone, we never feel that happiness by showing our selfishness. It is a divine feeling which only altruism can give us.

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2 Responses to Salute to Jing-Mei Woo

  1. tasnia says:

    Dear Samia, you are right. When people do something without thinking about themselves, it proves their altruism. This was also happened with Jing Mei. Actually Jing Mei loves her mother too much, but her mother would never understand it if she didn’t notice this. Therefore, we can understand our dear ones and other people by their behaviour.

  2. ansadhikari says:

    Hi Samia,
    Your essay is wonderful. Really, I never thought that the word selfish could also be a positive word, but the way you have presented, it is superb. I liked when you named selfishness as the ‘epitome to altruism’ with the example of mother’s love. Moreover, you mentioned about the peak point in the story when JIng-Mei and her mother’s misunderstanding was removed. I think you points are strong and the way you have expressed cleared my mind. This has helped me to write explicitly on my final paper of The Joy Luck Club.
    hehe..Thanks..
    Good night!!
    Anshu.

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