Communication in a Relationship

I wonder how communication affects a relationship. I have heard people saying healthy relationships need love, care and responsibility among individuals. A relationship can also be defined as a bond that needs true commitment and adaptation for change within people. There is a number of topics mentioned by several counseling agencies to enhance relationships in human lives. Out of these topics, communication is the main point which has been repeated again and again. Furthermore, a chapter “Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers,” in Times magazine, communication skills are considered as one of the best techniques for a strong relationship. It terms the speaking ways between men and women as  “cross-cultural” indicating it as diverse cultures possessed by differnt people. Furthermore, it says that communication is one way to resolve conflicts between two individuals or groups. The article highlights the fact that couples face inconsistency in their relationships due to lack of the communication culture, the culture is how a man and a woman is raised up in a society. I found this very persuading when I contemplated  the chapters of The Joy Luck Club.

In the second section, “The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates,” of the novel The Joy Luck Club, each of the daughters, Waverly Jong, Lena St. Clair, Rose Hsu Jordan, and Jing Mei Woo, didn’t talk much with their mothers which created huge misunderstandings to acknowledge love of their mothers. As being born in a different culture, this difference in communication can also  be termed as ‘cross-cultural’ communication. As mothers’ ideas and thoughts seemed to be totally different from their daughters to view life, this affected their relationship status. On the other hand, the article, “Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers,” says that relationships are highly likely to be strong and healthy if the theory of keeping a relationship is taught in schools. Similarly, if the daughters of the novel The Joy Luck Club were taught how to love and understand others in their schools, then they would have really understood their mothers emotions and feelings, by which the novel could show more about mothers and daughters intimate relationship.

See You Later, Ying Ying

                I see my wife and daughter, Ying Ying and Lena, but I cannot communicate with them. More accurately, it is out of my hand. Nobody can see me, and I am not able to touch anyone or anything. Many times, I endeavor to lay my hand on Ying Ying’s shoulder, when she feels sad, but she doesn’t feel my existence.

                Last year, because of a heart attack, I died. I remember the time I came out from my body without noticing that I had already became a ghost. Ying Ying was with me at that time, and this was the first time I had ever seen her cry. Surprisingly, I hugged her, but implausibly, she went through my body. I know the gap between us is so far, more than ever, that we no longer can contact with each other. We are in different world. 

               Since that time, I have always been with her wherever she goes. Today, I am so glad she will visit Lena’s house. I don’t want to see her spend most of her time at home and doing housework. Sometimes, she makes me worried because she spent many hours sitting besides the window. However, when we are in Lena’s house, something terrible happened. She reveals her story in her past. I can’t imagine that she will make me shocked. Until she finishes her story, I still can believe in my ears. Going out of the house, I get irate that she concealed her big secret from me for a long time. I close my eyes and think about a beach. And I am in Hawaii. I come along the shore feeling the wave, wind, and fresh air. Yet I cannot forget about that time. After three days, I choose the best option, forgiveness. Actually, I also have to be blamed because I never asked her to tell me about her life. I have never thought that she experienced a miserable life in her past. Therefore, it must have been hard for her to remind and disclose it.

                When I come back, Lena has already been in our house. She is folding her clothes, and letting them into her suitcase. They are going to take a trip to China, and I know the meaning of this journey. Lena can have time to balance herself and understand Ying Ying more. Besides, Ying Ying can visit her hometown. I am so happy that they are in the same path at last. This journey will be the last one I will have been with them. Then I feel relaxed to leave this world, to rebirth.

                 Ying Ying, if it is possible, I want to be your husband again. Live happy until you meet me. I will wait for you, and I promise to be a good husband to compensate for my faults in this life.

Thu Nguyen

Double Face

The chapter “Double Face” in the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Lindo describes how she looked similar to her mother and how her daughter looks to her. The physical traits that she had shared with her mother and what her daughter shares with her are the same and so are their fortunes. She thinks that her daughter is ashamed of what her appearance look like. So, her daughter is ashamed of her appearance too. But when her daughter says, “We are for one side and also the other. We mean what we say, but our intentions are different (304),” she realizes the wisdom of her daughter and finds out that her daughter is not ashamed of looking like her.

In the story, when Lindo remembers what her mother had said about her appearance, I remembered of my mother too. She also believes our physical traits describe our behavior and fortune. Lindo’s mother had said that she had a good fortune because she had lots of meats at the bottom of her ears. Similarly, my mother also believes that if someone has thick flesh in the bottoms of the ear, his or her future is bright. Furthermore, in our culture also it is believed that the size of our ears shows how long will we live like in Chinese culture. Moreover, if someone has big and wide forehead, he or she will be fortunate. In addition, if the tika, which our elders put in our forehead, stays for a long time, it is believed that the blessings given during that time will come true.  Similarly, the gaps between our fingers while joining them together will determine how much money we will waste and how much we will save.

Furthermore, Lindo can see her reflection in her daughter. In the same way, my grandmother often used to say that I am the reflection of my mother. She used to look like exactly the same as I look now when she was of my age. Not only my grandmother, but also my mother’s friends also used to tell the same thing. At the same time, the person who knew my father used to say that I look like my father. I used to become confused whom I exactly looked like.  Later, when I grew up, I realized that with the traits of my parents I have received their attributes as well.  The traits describe my fortune and I am glad to have it.

Digya Shrestha


True love…true love…true love…Is there such a thing called true love? The reason why I am asking this question is that through what i observe around me, I can see that there are many husbands and wives getting divorced and many boyfriends and girlfriends breaking up. Why does it happen?

Well, most people have the illusion of perfect love based on the ideas depicted in the fairy tales and movies with happy endings. For instance, the story of Romeo and Juliet is widely considered as the epitome of true love. Usually, the love portrayed in movies and fairy tales are idealistic. However, from my point of view, I feel that being humans, desiring for such kind of love is just desire that can’t be achieved. Everybody yearns for the intimate affection that someone can give them. Women dream of their Prince Charming to come and ask for her hand, whereas men always search for the love of their life. However, staying together always results into some misunderstandings. And a person has to work hard to solve the misunderstanding or their love would disappear in the air. Most people seems to say the three words “I Love You” but when it comes to problems, many of them appears to be too ignorant and let their love diminish. Can this be true love? Why can’t those people think carefully and realize the value of their shared love? Can they simply let it to happen? In this way, I feel this isn’t true love. If you really love someone, you can’t imagine of leaving that person no matter what happens between them. They should try their best to overcome every conflict to sustain their relationship. Also, from my perspective, I think true love is when someone loves you for what you are, not for what you have or possess. Seriously speaking, I don’t like when people expresses love in a romantic poetries. I always find some faults behind it. Moreover, it sounds very corny and banal and I don’t consider it as true love. For instance, in the chapter “Waiting between the trees” of the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Ying Ying’s husband expresses his love in a very romantic poetry which made her love him so deeply. He said, “You have tiger eyes. They gather fire in the day. At night they shine golden.”(280) However, she was betrayed and he left her with his child implanted in her womb. Therefore, I would say that true love is something that is very rare to exist in this realistic world.

Can Love be taught in Classroom?

When I find others are very caring to me, I feel that they love me. For example, in A.U.W., my friends always take care of me. If I am not with them for long time, they feel worried about me.

Love is something that cannot be defined in one word. Love is internal feeling that comes from the core of our heart. Human beings generally learn the term “love” from their family. For instance, my family members always take care of me. They are happy when they see me happy. Whenever I am worried about something and wishing to share it with someone, they realize it. They come forward to help me and make the environment easy for me so that I can feel free to share my feelings with them. They encourage me in my activities and make suggestions when I am disappointed. Without telling them, they can understand what’s going on in my mind in the same way I do. To me, this is the way how love is being expressed not only in a family but also with others such as friends.

Can love be taught in classroom? In a way, I think it can be taught in class. For example, there may be some students who don’t understand the term ‘love’ because their family bond is not that much strong. Their parents might not take care of them and they might never try to understand their children. Or, those students may have come from orphanages where they might never have such feeling as there was no one who can understand them. Hence, for them, classroom is the best place to learn love because in classroom, teachers are always very friendly with their students and they try their best to understand students. Teachers are the respected persons who can show students the best path for their future. Teachers play a vital role in enlightening students with all good things and they love their students very much. In this way, they can teach those students the meaning of love. Moreover, when those students will attend class with others, other students will help them to realize love.

In another way, I don’t think love can be taught in classroom. For example, some classes are held on how to love one’s partner in some institutions. I think these institutions aren’t really teaching the way to love. When somebody falls in love with opposite gender, they suggest acts that can be taken in order to make the relationship successful. Hence, I don’t think any institution can teach students how to fall in love with opposite gender.

How effective can the course “Relationship 101” be?

    In “Relationship 101,” an article published in Time magazine in 2003, has discussed the various forms of education about relationships and their differences in content. The formal education related to human relationship started in the 1950’s as “Marriage education.”  This subject became so hollow that students started making fun of this concept. Then, another form of education was introduced known as “Polarized sex education” in the 1980’s. Finally, another meaning of relationship known as “Relationship 101” was developed. It was based on communication skills and understanding between partners rather than dumping all the information about physical education and religious points of view related to relationships over and over again. Relationship 101 is a comprehensive education which provides knowledge on basic and subtle ways to communicate which helps to avoid misunderstanding.

The issue that “love is a learned phenomenon” can be important to be discussed in order to analyze the effectiveness of Relationship 101. Each individual has a point of view about this. According to my point of view, I believe that education helps people to know how to make a relationship stable. However, the implementation of knowledge will not be possible because in order to implement the knowledge, it will have to change our behavior or thoughts which cannot be possible for most of the people. It’s very rare where we are able to change ourselves intentionally forever. If a person has a discussion with his or her partner, they may try to be good and reciprocate their partner in a calm manner even if they are being yelled at. It is an application of theoretical knowledge that one should not burst at the time their partner is angry. Our application of the knowledge on maintaining proper understanding works until we can control our emotions which do not last for a long time. The day will come when suppressed feelings overflow and one is compelled to say, “Ok, I can’t hold this anymore.” Your exposure of true feeling will make you feel light. Though the situation can be handled temporarily according to what is learnt, one won’t be able to suppress true emotions forever. To conclude, the contents of Relationship 101 are comprehensive to maintain relationships, but its effectiveness and practice depends on individuals.

“Waiting Between Trees.” Then What?

Ying-ying, the tiger girl with the power of tiger falls in the trap of a man. The man leaves this beautiful and innocent tiger alone and goes to catch another prey. The tiger feels full of remorse that she couldn’t do anything to save her live. Indeed, she liked being with the predator. She liked the predator and devoted her life to him; she used to wear whatever could please him. Anyway, the predator is gone now and the prey is alone. No, sorry! She is not alone since she has another prey inside herself. But…she doesn’t want to have any sign of the escaped predator, from when she had forgotten herself to please him. So she removes all signs that can remind her of being a prey. She goes to a village to filter her spirit. She hides weaknesses and so her powers. She waits until she can find a good time to show up. But, wait! To show up and what? To bounce and catch a prey!? She? She waits until she finds another man. This time she is not immature anymore. She doesn’t let the man to get her so soon and without any endeavor. The tiger waits four years to see whether this man is worthy to live with or not. Yes, and she “allows” the man to catch her.

She, the tiger, still is waiting for a chance. However she’s found her man of life, she does not show her real characteristic to him. Despite that the man is kind to her and so she is, the tiger does not reveal her emotions. She is still the waiting tiger between the trees.

Here is the question: she is waiting between the trees for what? To find a chance to come out or to die? I can’t understand how long she wants to wait there and what she is following there. She is waiting to have a daughter and then give her spirit to her! She is silent, she has thrown away her emotions and love and passion –she has thrown herself away– so to have a baby girl in future and maybe she can talk to her and reveal her secrets!? Honestly speaking, it does not make sense to me that Ying-ying waits between the trees in order to find someone to tell her not to wait for anybody and say whatever is in your mind – the thing that she has done to herself!

Messages and Metamessages

When I read the essay named “Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers” by Deborah Tannen, I discovered a reason for breaking of relationships, especially relationship between spouses. Relationship between husband and wife is one of the most beautiful bonding in the world. It’s a relationship where two different persons get along with each other for lifetime. Sometimes, it does not last for long. It happens for several misunderstandings. The conflict of messages and metamessages can be a reason for this. Wives expect their husbands to understand their feeling without expressing it. On the other hand, husbands want their wives to share with them everything. Both of them are right in their own place. It is fair enough when a wife wants her husband to ask how her day was or give her a compliment for something. It happens mostly with housewives who spend the whole day in home and at evening their tired husbands return. Again, we can’t blame the husbands as well. They spend a busy time and sometimes tensions regarding work pile around them. That’s why they may not pay attention to their wives. Moreover, males are straightforward, so they may like their wives to be straightforward too. Husbands simply don’t understand their wives’ metamessages as they think practically, but being emotional is also fair enough. After all, people have to be emotional in case of expressing their love. Being practical has nothing to do with that.

Well, I can guess a solution to this problem. I think it is better if women quit conveying metamessages to their husbands and don’t expect them to understand their untold feelings. They should learn to be practical like them. Then if someday their husbands ask them how their day was, or be able to catch their metamessages, it will be like a surprise to the wives and they will be delighted. So, quit expecting and be overwhelmed with the unexpected happiness.

Eventually, I had better give this suggestion to my mother because the same thing happens between my parents, who are happily married for 31 years. My father never gives her any gift on special occasions like wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day and birthday. Mother becomes bitterly disappointed when he does so and complains to us in front him. Then my father says that everything he has belong to her too; al; she has to do is to demand. He adds that how he can know what she wants or not. This kind of confusions of messages and metamessages between my parents sometime irritates me and sometime makes me laugh. Couples have to be more understanding to each other for avoiding this problem.

The Joy Luck Club

The book, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, contains the stories of relationships between the mothers and daughters. Through this book, we can understand the generation gap and society affect the understanding between the mothers and daughters. Each character of the book has his or her own sorrows. The mothers, who had emigrated from China to America, have trouble understanding their daughters, who were born and brought up in America. The mothers of the stories seem very superstitious, yet they have adapted well in American society and have known their daughters very well.

Now, we have finished reading this book. It really feels great that we have become able to finish another book after Shabanu and The Little Prince. Talking about The Joy Luck Club, it was really fun to read about the relationships between the mothers and their daughters. Being a daughter, I really liked the chapters which talked about the misunderstanding between the mothers and their daughters as they are similar to that of the relationships in real lives. Similarly, through this book we come to understand many historic facts about China as well as the beliefs regarding old Chinese culture.

From the first section of the chapters, we can relate ourselves in the place of the daughters and consider if we are fulfilling our mothers’ dreams or not. Are we able to reach towards their expectations? For me, I had never thought about what my mother’s hope for me was. I had never ever tried to know what she expected from me. For example, Jing-Mei Woo, in the first chapter, “The Joy Luck Club” did not know much about her mother. She never tried to understand her mother and by the time she realized it, it was already too late. Similarly, we learned that the mothers of Jing-Mei and Waverly used to compare them. It can be related with our lives. I reminisce about those days when my mom used to compare me with my cousins. Whenever they got good grades, she used to give me their examples. That time, I always used to wonder why only my mother kept on comparing me with others. There was also a time when my mother used to be proud of me whenever I used to listen to her and do everything she wished me to do.

Besides, relating my childhood with the stories, I also became fascinated by the cultural facts of the Chinese culture mentioned in the book. I never knew about the Red Candle, the Moon Lady, the concubines in China, or the belief regarding seeing things before hand till I read the book. These things have made the book more interesting. However, the name of the characters and the stories regarding mothers’ mothers really confused me. It was complicated to remember whom the chapter was about, mostly while reading the book a night before the quiz.

Take Action

     “Waiting Between the Trees,” the last chapter talking about the characters Ying-ying and Lena in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Ying-ying tells her stories about the process of her first marriage, how she goes through the hard time after her husband leaves her, and how she gets married to Saint Clair, Lena’s father.

     Born in the year of tiger, Ying-ying has tigers’ qualities, which includes the gold and the black sides. According to her mother, “The gold side leaps with its fierce heart. The black side stands still with cunning” (Tan 282). For Ying-ying, her black side accompanies her for more than ten years after her husband leaves her; she aborts her baby, stays in her cousin’s family, and waits patiently. I was once curious that what she was waiting for. Was it because of the thought that she was “too good for any one man” (281)? Or she had the thought that her husband would come back her side? However, I do have a better understanding about what Ying-ying wants to say at the end of this chapter; she says that she will pass her spirit to her daughter Lena, who is also a tiger, too. She will “gather together “her “past and look,” “hold the pain in the hand until it becomes hard and shiny” (286). I suppose that she realizes that waiting things to come is not enough for a person, and one should take action if she wants to get what she really wants. Therefore, Ying-ying wants to give her spirit, which is her gold side, to Lena, by which she teaches Lena to take action before things becoming late. Also, she doesn’t want to see Lena to do the same thing as what she did – waiting patiently, sticking in a same place, and losing her way to continue her life.

     I’m so surprised that the ending of this chapter is similar to the previous chapter’s, to some extent. In the previous chapter, An-mei’s mother, who is a concubine, doesn’t have any voice in that family but undergoes all the pain by herself. Finally, her mother’s death tells her how important it is to speak out one’s thoughts. Then, here, a similar lesson is being taught – if you want to get what you want, taking action is important and necessary.

     However, sometimes taking action is not an easy thing to do. Perhaps that’s the reason why Ying-ying keeps silent for such a long time. In order to do that, I think we must be brave enough. What’s your opinion?