Amy Tan Essays


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     One of the effective methods to learn a foreign language on practice is formation, development and improvement of writing skills based on fiction books. Analysis and discussion of a fiction books is traditionally highlighted as a different aspect of foreign language learning – home reading.

     Home reading is not a special lesson on grammar or vocabulary. It is supposed to be that for working with a fiction book a learner, on the one hand, knows a necessary amount of words and grammar schemes although on the other hand, a fiction book itself makes it to where the learner widens his/her vocabulary.

      Fair knowledge of the content gives the learner to move beyond basic objectively artistic factors of the book and going from there to move to the creative activity. Generation of one`s own thoughts, ideas and their emotional attitude to the characters, events, problems becomes the aim of the learners.

     The choice of the book for home reading depends upon what gives a learner more opportunities for considering characters as truly existing people and everything what happens to them as real events. Such an approach makes it to where the learners of foreign language get interested, free, creative and independent in communication.

     Written assignments are extremely important while working upon a fiction book, which are problematic and provokes creative processing of information content. Writing essays play a substantial part the aim of which is to develop independent creative thinking skills and expressing oneself in a written form. An author learns to express him/herself easily and competently, to structure information, to use the basic analysis categories, to detach causally inheritance links, illustrate the notions with relevant examples, give arguments.

     A fiction book may be a good basis for writing an argumentative essay, which is supposed to provide with arguments based on information received from reading and personal experience.

     Let us look through the possibilities of a fiction book to develop essay-writing skills basing on The Joy Luck Club novel written by one of the popular modern writers Amy Tan mentioned in the beginning of the article.

     Tales and memories of representatives of the two generations – mothers and daughters. The novel touches the entire range of themes among which such themes may be pointed out as a problem of an identity search, cultural and clash and social interaction, relations between mothers and daughters. Problematic of the product creates a good basis for writing thematic essays.

     One of the main problem of the novel is a crossing of American and Chinese cultures. As one of the mothers says, she wanted her children to have American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I knew that they do not coincide? Students may be offered to write an argumentative essay in which they either support or deny the point of view that the two cultures are to coincide. Using the examples from the text, they should jump to conclusions about possible results of the chosen point of view. For example, supporting the idea of possible fusion of the two cultures, give arguments on how immigrants can freely exist on the territory of foreign country. Students can consider the situation taking an example of the novel`s character and make summations for the society in general.

     Just like Amy Tan`s other works, The Joy Luck Club speaks of the immigrants experience within a new society. Amy Tan was born in California but her parents` history and interest for cultural heritance of her ancestors inspired basically all her works. Looking into a matter of relationships between a mother and a daughter, The Joy Luck Club is probably the most autobiographic novel of Amy Tan. Her mother got sick when Amy decided to write. The writer promised to herself that she will take her mother to China in order to find a daughter the latter had to leave almost 40 years ago. A mother and a daughter left for China in 1987 and this journey became an eye-opening experience for Amy. It let Amy to re-consider difficult enough relations with her mother and inspired her to finish a collection of stories she promised her agent. Relations between generations from different cultures is a very interesting topic for an essay. Students are able to consider the importance of sharing experience and a constant dialogue between generations.

     Probably, the basic concept within the system of axes for all Americans is an idea of personal liberty. Traditionally, inhabitants of the USA consider their country to be a paradise for everyone, seeking for freedom and possibilities for self-realization. Such an understanding of freedom dates back to one of the postulates of “founding fathers” about all the people to be equal and the role of government is to protect the rights of the citizens. Freedom of an American is not only individualism and independence but also a possibility to make choices and to make responsible decisions.

     Tan stresses the importance of individual liberty towards a family duty in The Joy Luck Club. One of the characters of the younger generation says that she “has decided. From now on I do not have to do what my mother says. I am not her slave. It is not China”. Absorbing the American idea of freedom, the daughters thinks she has a right to decide and choose what she wants to do in life. Students may think on what is more important, a freedom of personal preference or duties in front of a family and a society in general? It is very important for the learners to prove their position well-argued providing with examples.

     In conclusion, essay is an integral part of written foreign language learning process. It helps to express one`s thoughts to the most extent precisely and constructively. It develops creative skills along with sociocultural range of vision. Books written by modern American and English writers give a once-in-a-lifetime chance for developing the skills mentioned above.