In this essay Amy Tan places the issues facing women today in the context of her family history. She suggests that one can gain strength by an awareness of the cultural differences that have existed among societies (and which still exist) and the challenges women have faced in these settings.
Tan relates that her grandmother in 1920s China was forced to become a rich man's concubine after her husband had died and she had no other options. She thus became an outcast and ended up leaving her son behind when she moved from Shanghai, in order to save him from the shame she was forced to endure. Tan's aunt experienced a similar fate after she divorced her husband.
Tan contrasts these situations (and other factors such as the practice of binding women's feet in China) with those of women in present-day America....
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 419 words.)