What passage in Lan Samantha Chang's short story Water Names indicates that grandmother comes from an oral story telling background.Why? a.Shame on you. Fighting like a bunch of Chickens. b....

What passage in Lan Samantha Chang's short story Water Names indicates that grandmother comes from an oral story telling background.Why?

a.Shame on you. Fighting like a bunch of Chickens.

b. ...the red dot flickered and danced, making ghostly shapes as she moved her hands like a magician in the dark.

c. She paused and bit of ash glowed briefly as it drifted to the floor

d. I am going inside,Waipao said.... A moment later the light went on in her bedroom window.

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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That the grandmother, Waipao, is keeping with tradition by passing down stories, conveyed orally, handed down from generation to generation, is evident in the following sentence from Lan Samantha Chang’s short story Water Names: “When I was young, my grandmother once told me the story of Wen Zhiqing’s daughter.”  Waipao then proceeds to tell a story from “twelve hundred years ago.”  As she continues to convey the story of Wen Zhiqing, who caught a large fish and, preparing it for cooking, discovered a “valuable pearl ring” inside.  The Yangtze River is historically and culturally important to the Chinese, and Waipao’s ancestor not only earned his living on that river, but fulfilled his daughter’s dreams through his discovery of this ring.  The daughter’s later disappearance, almost certainly drowned during a raging storm.  In response to her grandchild’s question regarding the girl’s fate, Waipao responds:  “Who knows. . .They say she was seduced by a water ghost.”

The fate of the girl is left a mystery.  The story ends with the young narrator observing:

“While we weren’t watching, the stars had emerged.  Their brilliant pinpoints mapped the heavens.  They glittered over us, over Waipao in her room, the house, and the small city we lived in, the great waves of grass that ran for miles around us, the ground beneath as hard and dry as bone.”

That’s it; that’s how the story ends.  Within the context of the author’s literary style, deciding which of the quotes from Water Names best exemplifies the oral tradition passed down over generations.  It is, in fact, fairly subjective.  That said, option (b) best captures the almost mystical and venerated tradition of oral story-telling at the core of Chang’s narrative.  The passage that reads “The red dot flickered and danced, making ghostly shapes as she moved her hands like a magician in the dark” seems to evoke the image of oral story-telling quite well.  Waipao’s story appears intended to enlighten her grandchildren more than convey a historically-accurate depiction of actual events, the veracity of which could never be known anyway.  Chang’s use of the phrase “ghostly shapes” simply better evokes images of a tradition of oral story-telling than the other options.

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