Fish Cheeks By Amy Tan Essay Sample

  • Category: Literature,
  • Words: 761 Pages: 3
  • Published: 27 March 2021
  • Copied: 115

Fish Cheeks is a short story about a 14-year-old Chinese girl named Amy who is having an American boy, Robert, that she likes over for Christmas dinner. Amy is completely modified about how Robert will react to not having a traditional Christmas and how he might think of their family's culture. She is also worried about her family and how they will act around Robert because she is afraid they may scare him away. Fish Cheek gives a perfect example of self-acceptance.

The short story, Fish Cheeks, was a relatable story on many different levels. For starters, it showed the significance of cultural differences for some people. The narrator says, “What would Robert think of our Shabby Chinese Christmas?” This is a great example of cultural differences between Chinese and Americans. The story then goes on to explain how there will be Chinese food instead of traditional American Christmas cuisines like turkey, sweet potatoes, or stuffing. In the story, it says "When I found out that my parents had invited the minister’s family over for Christmas Eve dinner, I cried" (Tan). She is obviously, at this moment already feeling embarrassed before the dinner has even happened because she is nervous to be in front of the boy she likes with her family who she is ashamed of.

 In the story, Amy’s father burps loudly, and thanks to his wife for another great meal. Amy is mortified by this. In front of the boy, she likes, as well as his family, humiliating her. Near the end of the story, Amy’s mother tells her, “You must be proud you are different. Your only shame is to have shame.” At the end of the story, Amy described how important that Christmas dinner was for her which then revealed the overall theme of the story.

Shonda Rhimes wrote a brief story called “My Summer of Scooping Ice Cream” that she had written in 2016 about her growth as a child. Her work ethic throughout this brief essay was phenomenal. She told us how she worked at an ice cream parlor, not because she needed the job but to prove a point to her mother. Her parents had an acceptable paying job that would help her accomplish getting to and through college regardless of her going out for the extra help. They made sure she stayed concentrated on her grades most importantly. Shonda was also an honors student along with being a volunteer at their local hospital. 

She had a school dance coming up soon with nothing to wear. She admired a denim mini skirt that she anticipated wearing, she thought it would be perfect to go with what she wanted to wear. Came home, showed her mother that she soon commented on telling Shonda “you have five seconds before you meet your maker, that when you have your job you can buy any clothes you want too. Until then, I will decide what you wear and what you can’t wear”(pg.120 Shonda Rhimes). Showing she was not very fond of her preference of clothing utilizing her money to purchase such revealing items. 

What caused her desire to become motivated to earn her own money was all through a denim mini skirt she was not allowed to wear. She took the idea of her mother telling her “when she has her own money she can spend it on what you want” and ran with it. She proceeds to say “I did it for the power the denim mini fight gave me” (page 120 Shonda Rhimes) she also mentions how “I let the miniskirt propel me into the workforce” (page 120 Shonda Rhimes). Becoming more independent at her age is something us teenagers are bound to accomplish one way or another and she chooses sooner rather than later. 

After reading and analyzing both of these short essays they both expose themselves within the differences and the similarities. Starting with the differences Shonda and Amy grew up in two very different households. Their stories were both very different settings. Shonda started her story by not knowing what to wear while Amy started hers by wanting to save herself from the embarrassment she was going to be put through with her crush at the dinner table. Fish Cheeks showed a lesson of being proud of your culture and not having to change who you are and what your traditions are for someone else. That they should learn to accept you for who you are. My Summers Scooping Ice Cream taught you what advantages you can acquire while having your own money to spend. Making you motivated when told no by your parents because they can’t say much when you’re spending your own money. Shonda is a hard worker with long-lasting motivation within her story while Amy learned her lesson on accepting who she is and cherishing it from that moment forward and looking at a much bigger picture from her perspective. 

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