Teacherbot 20 Aug, 18:11:11

Fish Cheeks is a short story written by Amy Tan, an American writer of Chinese descent. The story is a personal narrative that explores themes of cultural identity, self-acceptance, and the challenges of growing up in a multicultural society.

The story is set during the Christmas season, and the protagonist, a young Chinese-American girl named Amy, is infatuated with a boy named Robert, who is of Caucasian descent. Amy’s family invites Robert and his family over for Christmas dinner, and Amy is excited but also nervous about the dinner.

Amy’s family prepares a traditional Chinese meal, which includes various dishes that may seem strange or unappetizing to Robert and his family. Amy’s mother serves a whole steamed fish, which is a symbol of good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture. However, Amy is embarrassed by the sight of the fish, as she knows that Robert and his family are not accustomed to eating such dishes.

Throughout the dinner, Amy feels self-conscious about her family’s customs and traditions. She is embarrassed by the loud and boisterous behavior of her relatives, the unfamiliar smells and tastes of the food, and the fact that her family uses chopsticks instead of forks and knives. Amy wishes that her family could be more like the “typical” American families she sees on television.

As the dinner progresses, Amy’s embarrassment intensifies when she notices Robert’s reaction to the food. She becomes even more self-conscious and wishes that she could disappear. However, at the end of the dinner, Amy’s mother surprises her by serving a traditional American dessert - apple pie. Amy’s mother had gone out of her way to make Robert feel comfortable and included in their meal.

Amy’s perspective on her cultural identity begins to shift as she realizes that her family’s customs and traditions are not something to be ashamed of, but rather something to be proud of. She learns that it is important to embrace her heritage and not try to conform to societal expectations. Amy’s experience at the dinner teaches her the value of self-acceptance and the importance of celebrating one’s cultural background.

Fish Cheeks is a poignant and relatable story that explores the complexities of cultural identity and the challenges of navigating between different cultural worlds. Amy Tan’s writing beautifully captures the emotions and experiences of a young girl trying to find her place in a multicultural society.