These mothers, being raised in a very different culture, have difficulty connecting with their daughters who are quite rebellious in their youth, which is rather normal in American cultures. How does this make the connection for mothers and daughters more difficult? Is this a good thing?
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There is conflict in both generation and cultural approaches that surround the mothers and daughters in Tan's work. Both valences help to enhance the difficulty in the relationships between mothers and daughters. The connection between both is made difficult because it is difficult to ascertain where one set of differences stop and another set of begin. Essentially, both valences collude with one another to blur the lines and make the relationship between both that much more difficult and challenging.
In terms of it being considered good or bad, it might be existential. The challenges in both cultural and generational realms exist and they create difficulty for both mother and daughter. This condition is eventually overcome as the narrative progresses. The daughters recognize how much struggle the previous generation endured and what can be learned from it. In this understanding, such challenges can be seen as a good thing. Yet, I think that Tan would argue that this is a reality that exists in the experience of the hyphenated American. It should not be perceived as something that is automatically good or immediately negative. It is a condition of being in the world and more existential before judgmental.
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