War’s Ugly Face

In the last chapter of The Joy Luck Club, Jing-mei finds her twin sisters, the girls that her mother had to leave beside a road outside of Kweilin during the war. The story of Suyuan, her struggle to save her daughter’s lives, and later her long quest to find them is very heart touching. But it is the nature of war. Most of the wars in the history had left long-lasting impacts on family relationships. Many children have lost fathers or mothers because of wars and had nobody to support them.  Many others have lost their body part or got seriously injured during a war, and consequently remained a burden for their families, or may have got divorce from their spouses.  Some family members also were separated from each other because of unexpected conditions of the war.

The war in Afghanistan separated many children from their parents and many sisters from brothers. My mother was one of those people who had to say goodbye, in tears, to her parents and siblings without knowing when she could meet them again. She migrated with her husband, my father, and her four children to Iran to take refuge. She was married and had to move wherever my father would go, and my father decided migrating to Iran was the best option for the family. My mother met her father and two of her brothers later in Iran who had come for a short visit, but not her mother and her younger brother and sister. She always had the nostalgia about visiting and talking to her mother again, but there was war continuing in Afghanistan, and it was not safe to travel. Besides, it was very expensive in those times to travel across the border. We were very young when she heard about her youngest brother being killed in the war, but I remember the sad moments when she was told about the death of her old father and then her oldest brother. It is very painful that you just hear the news about the death of a beloved one, a family member, but you are not able to cry over their grave or share his or her memory with other family members to get calm. The only things she had from her family were some old pictures, which she used to look at when she missed them. We sometimes received some letters from my uncles, but my mother couldn’t even call them, because all the phone lines were damaged during the war.

However, finally the war apparently ended in Afghanistan, and my mother managed to meet her mother and remaining siblings after 25 years. Everybody was crying, but this time with smile in their heart.

Bitter truth is difficult to express.

In The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Lindo Jong is afraid to reveal about Suyuan’s demise to Jing-mei’s long-lost sisters. Therefore, she presents the issue to the Joy Luck Club and carries out a discussion with Ying Ying and An-mei. They feel very bad when they reminiscence about Suyuan’s sudden death and her everlasting longing for her lost daughters. Finally, they decide to reply the daughters’ letter being Suyuan filling the letter with the fake hope of meeting their mother. However, later, Jing-mei compels Lindo Jong to write letter about the fact though it is bitter so that her half-sisters do not misunderstand her when they meet in Shanghai.

Similar to Lindo Jong and the Joy Luck Club, I too find very difficult to disclose bitter truths to others. For example, when I was in twelfth grade in high school, our first year’s result was out. As I used to stay in hostel, and I did not have internet facility at night, I did not know about the result. Later, my best friend called me to say me, “Congratulations!” I told her to look up for my hostel friends’ results too. I noted all my friends’ results down as she told me, and I was stuck on one of my very close friends’ result. Suddenly, my excitement descended. I told her her secured marks, but I was surprised to see her still in the mood of celebration. Later, I came to know that she had calculated her marks adding the practical marks for Chemistry with the theory marks and had thought that she passed in all the subjects. That was the very awful moment when I had to intrude on her joy. I did not have any idea how to tell her that bitter truth. Later, when we were getting ready to go to school, she came to my room for ironing her skirt, so I thought I had to tell her the truth before she directly got assailed by the reality. Therefore, with a great courage, I told her to subtract her practical mark from her total mark in Chemistry, and then she started crying. I could not help myself, so my eyes too were watery. I felt like I seized her happiness, but she had to overcome with that situation one way or the other.

Indeed, bitter truth is always very difficult to express.