Thesis: flower shop proprietor with her lifelong

Thesis: In the Kitchen God’s Wife, the author Amy Tan focuses on how Winnie develops her relationship with her daughter Pearl, strained due to cultural and generational gaps, through her other relationships, both past and present. These relationships strengthen the mother and daughter bond and lead to a re-establishment and rediscovery of identity for Winnie, a Chinese immigrant and Pearl, Winnie’s daughter who lives a very American lifestyle, in the midst of their contradictions. IntroductionHistory and culture plays an important role in shaping relationships and determining their nature.As a Chinese American author, Amy Tan focuses on the conflicts and relationships between characters from  a bicultural point of view.Kitchen God’s Wife tells the stories of relationships, especially between mothers and daughters “across three generations and two continents” (Yuan).Pearl and Winnie are contradicting characters, whose relationship is strained due to their   struggle to understand each other’s feelings and emotions.Pearl loves to live a very American lifestyle.As Huntley says, “Pearl lives the American dream” (89).Pearl and her husband Phil, who is American live in San Jose with their children: Tessa and Cleo.Pearl’s only connection with her mother and her extended family is her sense of obligation although she dislikes it.Winnie is very much adapted to Chinese customs.Winnie lives in the Chinatown and is a flower shop proprietor with her lifelong friend Helen.She connects everything with luck and other Chinese beliefs she has grown up hearing.In Pearl’s view: “She’s like a Chinese version of Freud, or worse. Everything has  a reason. Everything could have been prevented” (Tan 29).The opening sentence reveals the type of relationship between Pearl and her mother: “Whenever my mother talks to me, she begins the conversation as if we were already in the middle of an argument” (Tan 11).According to E.D. Huntley, this statement helps realize that there exists a tension, strain or breach between them. (62)The tension between the mother and the daughter is due to how they identify themselves.Pearl knows about the distance that separates them from each other as shown by her thoughtsAt Bao-bao’s engagement party, she identifies the distance between her mother’s table and her own as an “enormous distance” that prevents them from experiencing anything in common (Tan 34)Pearl also identifies it during the drive back to San Jose after the party and the funeral: “Mile after mile, all of it familiar, yet not, this distance that separates us, me from my mother” (Tan 57).Pearl also addresses the familiarity with her mother that is present simultaneously with the distance.