Chapter 1 is “Feathers from a Thousand LI Away.”
“My father thinks she was killed by her own thoughts.”
American people believe that every person has a purpose in life. According to them, people who die without any achievement ignore their calling. According to them, each person was created to solve a particular problem in the world. By solving a problem in the world, each person plays a role in creating the world a better place to live. The mother in this particular story died without having solved any world or societal problem. What normally happens is that an idea to solve a world or society problem begins with a thought in the mind. It is for this reason that the father thinks that her wife died with her ideas. The thought in the mind is translated into words and, finally, actions. Before having a thought, an individual should identify a problem that is facing people in the local or global community.
“But I often heard stories of a ghost who tried to take children away, especially strong-willed girls who were disobedient.”
Chinese people are known for their usage of folktales to instil morality. As seen in the story, the narrative that was used to instil morality in children was scary. This is a key characteristic when it comes to designing stories. What this means is a less scary narrative is less likely to compel children to do the right thing which is required of them. The more a narrative is scary, the more children are likely to follow the moral lesson of the story. For example, a narrative in which a disobedient child was eaten by a ghost is more likely to scare children to the extent that they will all be obedient to their parents. This is because of the fear that failure to be disobedient will make them be eaten by the ghost.
“I once sacrificed my life to keep my parents’ promise.”
Most children tend to please their parents by doing things that they don’t actually love. One of the reasons behind this is that children always want to see their parents happy and not sad. Children tend to imagine that doing something that their parents are opposed to will make them sad. This makes them do things as per their parents’ wishes. This observation is common in the education sector, where children pursue courses that have been proposed by their parents. Let’s say, for example, a child loves music and the parents want him or her to pursue a career in engineering. What will happen in this particular case is that the child will do that which the parents want. This is why it is common to see people drop their careers to pursue things that they love.
“All these years, I kept my true nature hidden, running along like a small shadow so nobody could catch me.”
Most parents fear that revealing their bad side to their daughters will make them disrespectful. Most children believe that their parents are morally upright. This is because they know that their parents have been around for a long time, and so have enough knowledge with regards to what is right or wrong. In the event that children discover that, people who have been around for a very long time do wrong things, they will be tempted to think that their parents do not have knowledge with regards to that which is right or wrong. Upon discovering this, many children tend to find it difficult to follow moral lessons from their parents. Children who cannot obey their parents are disrespectful.
Chapter 2 – The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates
“I was six when my mother taught me the art of invisible strength.”
Mothers are viewed as individuals who play a significant role in raising their children. This is because, unlike fathers, they are the ones who spend a lot of their time with children. In the process of raising children, mothers tend to teach their children life lessons that will make them lead a successful life. For example, a mother can teach her child not to hold grudges against other people. This helps the children later in life, especially when the people who wronged them become more successful than them. They can seek help from them since they do not have any form of grudges. What normally happens is that an individual holding grudges against another is less likely to ask for help if he or she holds grudges. This is because of the assumption that the other individual will not offer the help needed.
“And I knew that was not true. I knew my mother made up anything to warn me, to help me avoid some unknown danger”.
Mothers are never quick to beat their children when they want to prohibit them from doing something. Instead of beating their children, mothers come up with stories so as to scare their children. One of the reasons that mothers avoid beating their children whenever they want to prohibit them from doing something is the fact that mothers love their children so much. Mothers know that beating their children will make them have psychological stress, which might affect other areas, such as education. The second reason is that beating their children might lead to injuries. All that mothers want is for their children to understand the logic behind the things they are being prohibited from.
“As proof of her faith, my mother used to carry a small leathered Bible when she went to the first Chinese Baptist church every Sunday.”
Women are viewed as individuals who take religious matters more seriously when compared to men. This, perhaps, is why most Christian churches have many women as attendants when compared to men. First, women go to church so that it can help instill morality in their children. This is because religious organizations promote morality. Women know that they are not enough when it comes to instilling morality in their children. To put it in a different way, women want an extra hand in their effort to instill morality in their children. The second reason why women go to church is because of their desire to protect their children from the suffering that predicted when the world would come to an end.
“My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America.”
The United States of America is always perceived by many as a land of opportunities. This is due to the fact that it has many industries. Any country that has many industries tends to have high employment opportunities. Less developed countries, such as those in Africa, tend to have high unemployment rates. This is because they have fewer industries. The same case applies to China. Even if it has many industries, its number cannot be compared with those of the United States. Children in less developed countries take opportunities presented to them, not those that they want. This is the basis on which the mother in our case study of reference believed that her daughter could be anything. The mother saw that children in America were never forced on ideas that they never wanted. Any idea that they wanted was available in terms of opportunities.
Chapter 3 American Translation
“To this day, I believe my mother has the mysterious ability to see things before they happen.”
Every person tends to have a false belief when young. The only time it is discovered that belief was false is at maturity age. One of the reasons why we never realize that we hold false beliefs when we are young is that we never have the ability to think critically. In other words, our ability to reason critically is always lower when we are young than when we are older. For instance, most people tend to believe that the world is flat. They fail to reason that if the world were flat, they would see a great part of major water bodies. What normally happens is that individuals standing at the shores of a major water body, such as the ocean, only see a small part of it.
“And my mother loved to show me off, like one of my many trophies she polished.”
The worth of women in most societies is measured by the number of children. A woman with a child therefore is more likely to show off than that that does not have any child. One of the reasons why mothers are always proud of their children is the fact they know that they at least have people who will protect them when they are old. The second reason is that they know that daughters will bring them wealth through dowry. This is because most societies require men to pay a dowry before marrying. The act of paying dowry is not a way of buying the daughters but is a way of appreciating the efforts that the parents made when raising their daughters.
“I used to believe everything my mother said, even when I didn’t know what she meant.”
Children tend to assume that parents are always right. It is for this reason that they tend to blindly belief everything. Parents know this which is why they normally use narratives to instill morality in their children. What normally happens is that parents tend to take advantage of the fact that children are more likely to trust them to instill morality. For example, if parents tell their children that failing to obey them will make God angry and burn them in fire forever, the children will obey them. This is even when they do not actually comprehend who God is in the first place. It is difficult for children to understand who God is at a young age since religious texts are written in parables.
“But these days, I think about my life’s importance. I wonder what it means because my mother died three months ago, six days before my thirty-sixth birthday”.
Children look up to their parents when they want to know certain answers to some life questions. For instance, a child may ask her parents why human beings exist. Most parents answer this question by saying that all human beings have a purpose in life. What they mean by this is that each person was born to fulfil a certain purpose. The purpose of life, in this case, refers to the answer to one of the problems facing people in the world. To put this in a different way, each human being was born to play a certain role that will make life on Earth better.
Chapter 4 Queen Mother of the Western Skies
“But after my mother finished her story, I looked at her and saw she was crying. And I also began to cry again, that this was our fate, to live like two turtles seeing the watery world together from the bottom of the little pond”.
Children tend to feel sad when they see their mothers sad. To put it differently, children tend to share the same feelings as those of their parents. The first reason that makes children share emotions with their parents, especially mothers, is the fact that these are the people they hang around with most of the time. Second, these are the people who are always mindful with regard to how they are faring. For example, it is the parents who take care of their children whenever they are sick. Simply put, children and parents love each other.
“I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body. There is part of her mind that is part of mine”.
Mothers are always deeply connected with their children when compared to men. One of the reasons that make mothers say that they share the same body with their children is the fact that they were able to carry them in their wombs for nine years. Since they share their body with their children, mothers tend to argue that they also share the same mind. This is because a body cannot exist without a mind. In other words, the mother is trying to imply that she shared everything in her body with her child. It’s just that she does not have time to mention everything. Fathers do not appear in this case because they never become pregnant.
“My daughter wanted to go to China for her second honeymoon, but now she is afraid. What if I bend in so well they think I’m one of them?” Waverly asked me. What if they don’t let me come back to the United States?”
American people are admired for their good manners to the extent that people who interact with them wish that they could be together forever. In this particular case, the united has been portrayed as a lesser nation when it comes to morality. Ladies from the U.S. are always known to be careless when it comes to carrying themselves in front of their elders and society in general. Chinese ladies, on the other hand, know how to carry themselves. The daughter, in this case, is familiar with the manners and fears that displaying such manners will make the Chinese want to remain with her forever since they will view her as one of their own.
“The minute our train leaves the Hong Kong border and enters Shenzhen, china, I feel differently. I can feel the skin on my forehead tingling, my blood rushing through a new course, my bones aching with a familiar old pain”.
The United States is always viewed as a superior nation when compared to other nations of the world. It is for this reason that people moving from one country to another are more likely to imagine that they will suffer in the nation they are moving to. This is what causes fear in them. The fear caused by the relocation to China is evidenced by the daughter’s feelings on the train. In fact, the daughter recalls an old pain in her mind that is due to an experience she had while she was living in China.