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From a general view on love, a couple loses much of their own individuality when they fall in love. They come to depend upon each other, losing much of their own desire to do things individually. It's not always a bad thing, but the reliance upon one another tends to reduce the single person's own independent thoughts and actions.
Given the complexity of the question, I don't think that Tan expects an immediate and direct answer to be given. It is more of an exploration, where "answers" are substituted for ideas and concepts. In this, I think we have to look at some of the themes in Tan's work. Tan is a very strong advocate of "female individuation" in her writing. She writes from a position where the need for women to assert their voice and emerge from a predicament of external and internal silence is critical.
In this, Tan gives a potential explanation for her questions. To a great extent, the women in Tan's work fall in love to substitute the silence that surrounds them. It is both inside and outside of them. The need to fall in love and enter marriage is a domain that allows this silence to be offset. Yet, it is for this reason why the women in Tan's work are unable to rise in love. For example, the women in The Joy Luck Club are content to enter marriage so long as it occupies the silence with background noise and filler. However, it is for this reason that they are unable to rise. It is as if the silence around them and converged with the silence within themselves, preventing any chance of being able to rise in love. It is for this reason that Tan's emphasis on female individuation becomes a necessity. It is through this sense of the empowerment of self where women are able to rise in love, for their voice is heard and acknowledged. Tan constructs this so that even if "the other" does not validate their voice, the women are able to validate their own voice and experience and this allows them to rise in marriage and love the next time around.
It might be from this point of view the Tan writes and how she sees the two questions related. Once this level of voice is achieved, Tan does write characters that fit into the following quotation, which might be see as the "after" component to the original quote which is the "before" element:
I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever.
It is interesting to see that Tan's notion of "rising in love" is countered with the idea of "falling into place" where individuation is apparent and where one no longer is consumed with silence, but with one's voice.
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