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Introduction to Literature PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Introduction to Literature. Lesson Seven: tan Family Relationships. Margarette Connor. Contents. Amy Tan biography “Two Kinds” discussion. Amy Tan. Joy Luck Club ( 喜福會) One of the most highly acclaimed writers of our day. “ No one will deny the pleasure of Tan's seductive prose”.

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Introduction to Literature

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Introduction to literature l.jpg

Introduction to Literature

Lesson Seven: tan

Family Relationships

Margarette Connor

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  • Amy Tan biography

  • “Two Kinds” discussion

Amy tan l.jpg

Amy Tan

  • Joy Luck Club

  • (喜福會)

  • One of the most highly acclaimed writers of our day.

  • “No one will deny the pleasure of Tan's seductive prose”

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Tan and Immigrant Family

  • Her parents escaped from Shanghai.

  • Her Main Topics: Generational Conflicts, War between the sexes, assimilation.

  • Told by an Chinese-American narrator, who tries to find a balance between her Chinese culture and what the American society expects of her.

  • This happened to my Egyptian students, too. They had to find a balance between their Egyptian culture and Geneva society.

  • Asian-Americans face pressures also because they look different; they are seen as ethnic others.

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Early Life

  • Born February 19, 1952 in Oakland, California.

  • Grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Her family lived in several communities in Northern California before settling in Santa Clara.

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  • Father, John, an electrical engineer and Baptist minister from Beijing who fled the country for the US.

  • Mother, Daisy, who had been in an arranged marriage, was trying to flee with John.

    • Captured, raped and thrown into jail before she was able to escape.

    • Had to leave her daughters with their father.

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Early success, early tragedy

  • 8 years old became a published author

    • wrote an essay on the public library that was published in a local paper.

  • Father and oldest brother both died of brain tumors within a year of each other when she was in high school.

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Move to Switzerland

  • Mrs. Tan moved her two surviving children to Switzerland, where Amy finished high school, graduated from high school in Montreux, Switzerland.

  • During this period much friction between mother and daughter.

    • Amy Tan talks about how this was her very rebellious period

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  • Originally attended Baptist college in Oregon

    • chosen by mother

  • Left and followed her boyfriend to San Jose City College (California)

  • Mother and daughter did not speak for six months

  • Further defied her mother by abandoning the pre-med course mother wanted in order to study English and linguistics.

  • Received her bachelor's and master's degrees in these fields at San Jose State University.

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  • 1974, married “the boyfriend” Louis DeMattei, to whom she’s still married.

  • Now live in San Francisco and New York.

Tan and her husband

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Earlier careers

  • Studied for a doctorate in linguistics, first at the U of California-Santa Cruz, later at Berkeley.

    • Left in 1976 without taking a degree

  • Worked with developmentally disabled people

  • With a partner, started a business writing firm, providing speeches for salesmen and executives for large corporations.

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Professional writer

  • During the early 1980s became a full-time freelance writer, often using non-Chinese-sounding pseudonyms in her work.

  • Very successful, but soon found herself living the life of a workaholic

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Relief in creative efforts

  • Studied jazz piano

    • hoping to channel the musical training forced on her by her parents in childhood into a more personal expression.

  • Also began to write fiction.

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Immediate success

  • First story "Endgame," won her admission to the Squaw Valley writer's workshop taught by novelist Oakley Hall.

  • 1985 story appeared in FM, literary magazine, and was reprinted in Seventeen.

  • A literary agent was impressed enough with Tan's second story "Waiting Between the Trees," to take her on as a client and encouraged her to write an entire volume

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Mother falls ill

  • Promised herself that if her mother recovered would take her to China to see the daughter who had been left behind almost forty years before.

  • Mrs. Tan regained her health

    • departed for China in 1987.

  • A “revelation” for Tan.

    • gave her a new perspective on her often-difficult relationship with her mother

    • inspired her to complete the book of stories she had promised her agent.

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Relationship with mother improves

Tan has said that the trip to China and learning about her mother’s past have helped to heal their relationship.

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Joy Luck Club

  • The book that was promised to the agent was The Joy Luck Club.

  • The rest is history.

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Major works

  • Joy Luck Club 1989, also made into a film

  • Kitchen God’s Wife 1991

  • The Hundred Secret Senses 1995

  • The Bonesetter’s Daughter 2001

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Children’s works

  • The Moon Lady 1992

  • Sagwa,The Chinese Siamese Cat 1994

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Magazine contributor

  • Essay "Mother Tongue" was published in The Threepenny Review and was selected for the 1991 edition of Best American Essays.

  • Stories have appeared in

    • The Atlantic,

    • Grand Street,

    • Lear's,

    • McCall's, and others

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Rock Bottom Remainders

  • Sings in the charity in a rock band, with other bestselling writers, including Stephen King, Carl Hiaasen and, until recently, Barbara Kingsolver.

“Geek Chic” The band’s original line-up. Fuzzy but funny.

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"Nobody on the bus asks, 'Where do you get your ideas?'"

  • Touring once a year as a leather-clad dominatrix belting out These Boots Are Made for Walking and Leader of the Pack satisfies a need,she says, to be a teenager again.

Tan with the band

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With other Asian-American writers

  • As a writer, she is often grouped with other Asian-American writers including

  • Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior)

  • Wakako Yamauchi (Songs My Mother Taught Me).

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Lots of “two kinds”

  • Of daughters: “Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind!”

  • Jing-Mei and Waverly Jong, her “rival” at perfection

  • Chinese-American

  • Living daughters, dead daughters

  • “Pleading Child” and “Perfectly Contented”

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