The Choice

The second chapter of “The Joy Luck Club” relates the story of An-Mei and her relationship with her mother. In this chapter, An-Mei recalls the memory of the day her mother came back to take her children away with herself, and that how the hot soup spilled on her neck and left a scar on her. An-Mei’s mother resembles Chinese women who have to remain loyal to their husband, even after his death. These women do not have the right to independently decide about their future. Women are considered the property of the in-laws family that belongs to them forever. Keeping the reputation of their own family and their in-laws’ family is not the only reason that these women cannot easily leave their in-laws and decide for their future themselves. As their children also belong to the in-laws, most of these women are threatened to be deprived of seeing their children if they remarry.

Nowadays, this situation might not be applicable in many parts of China. However, in my country, Afghanistan, unfortunately this case is still common in both rural and urban areas. Lots of women who have lost their husbands during the 30 years of war or due to other reasons are supposed to live with their husbands’ family, to be able to live with their children. In many cases, they are even forced to marry their brother in-laws in order to be restrained from marrying other strangers.

My aunt, my mother’s younger sister, is one of those women who was deprived of seeing her son after she accepted to marry another man. Her husband had left her and traveled to another country to find a job but never returned back and was never heard of. My aunt waited for his husband for more than eight years, but she gave up when somebody told her he had heard her husband had died. She was still young and wanted to live for herself and marry another man; however, her father in-law separated her son from her. She could only live with her son if she had married her brother in-law. My aunt didn’t love her brother in-law. Actually, she hated him. She had two options: living with her son and baring a disgusting life with her brother in-law, or thinking of other marriage proposal she received and living forever without her son. People may think she was a stone-heart mother, but she chose the second option. She hoped that she could get her son back one day, but after twenty years they live far away from each other in different countries. Sometimes, they talk to each other through phone. Thanks to Alexander Graham Bell; at least she can hear her son’s voice.