ENG 120 Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College A True Friend Eassy

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ENG 120

Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District




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A Different Kind of Mother Amy Wu My best friend once asked me what it was like being brought up by a Chinese mother. Surprisingly, I could find no answer. I found myself describing my mother’s beauty – the way my mother’s hair was so silky and black, how her eyes were not small and squinty, but shaped like perfect almonds. How her lips and cheeks were bright red even if she put on no makeup. But unlike my friends, who see my mother as a Chinese mother, I see my mother as simply “my” mother. The language between any mother and daughter is universal. Beyond the layers of arguments and rhetoric, and beyond the incidents of humiliation and misunderstandings, there is a love that unites every mother and daughter. I am not blind, however, to the disciplinary differences between a culture from the west and a culture from the east. Unlike American mothers, who encourage their young children to speak whatever is on their mind, my mother told me to hold my tongue. Once when I was 5 or 6, I interrupted my mother during a dinner with her friends and told her that I disliked the meal. My mother’s eyes transformed from serene pools of blackness into stormy balls of fire. “Quiet!” she hissed, “do you not know that silent waters run deep?” She ordered me to turn my chair to the wall and think about what I had done. I remember throwing a red-faced tantrum before my mother’s friends, pounding my fists into the rug, and throwing my utensils at the steaming dishes. Not only did I receive a harsh scolding, but a painful spanking. By the end of the evening, I had learned the first of many lessons. I learned to choose my words carefully before I opened my undisciplined mouth. Whenever my friends and I strike up conversations about our mothers in the cafeteria or at slumber parties, I find myself telling them this story. Nevertheless, they respond to my story with straight and pale faces. “How?” one of my friends asked, “can a mother be so cruel?” “You mean she beat you in front of other people?” another asked. My best friend told me that her mother disciplined her children wisely instead of abusing them. She sat them on her lap, patiently explaining what they had done wrong. She didn’t believe in beating her children into submission. What my American friends cannot understand, however, is how my mother’s lessons have become so embedded within me, while my friends have easily forgotten their mother’s words. My mother’s eyes are so powerful, her fists so strong, that somehow I cannot erase her words of advice. To this day, I choose my words carefully before I speak, unlike so many of my friends whose words spill out aimlessly when they open their mouths. My mother says that American girls are taught to squabble like chickens, but a Chinese girl is taught how to speak intelligently. Only lately have I also discovered that Chinese mothers show their love in different ways. Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has spent hours cooking intricate dishes. I remember Friday evenings she would lay out the precious china her mother had given her as a wedding present – how she laid down the utensils and glasses so meticulously, how she made sure there was not a crease in the tablecloth. She would spend the entire day steaming fish, baking ribs, cutting beef into thin strips and rolling dough to make dumplings. In the evening, her work of labor and art would be unveiled. My father and I and a few Chinese neighbors and friends would be invited to feast on my mother’s work of art. I remember how silent my mother was as she watched her loved ones devour her labor of love. She would sit back, with a small smile on her face. She would nibble at the food in her dish while urging others to eat more, to take seconds, and thirds and fourths. “Eat, eat!” she would order me. I dared not tell her I was too full. She would fill my bowl with mounds of rice and my dish with endless vegetables, fish, and fried delicacies. A Chinese mother’s love flows from the time and energy she puts into forming a banquet. A Chinese mother’s love comes from her order to eat more. My American friends laugh so hard that tears come out of their eyes, when I tell them how my Chinese mother displays her love. “So she wants you to get fat!” one screamed. They said that their mothers showed love by hugging them tightly, buying them clothes, and kissing them on the cheeks. Deep inside, I know that my mother does show her love, except she does it when she thinks I am asleep. Every so often, she will tiptoe into my dark room, sit on the edge of my bed, and stroke my hair. When I am awake, however, she is like a professor constantly hounding her prize student and expecting only the best. All throughout my childhood, she drilled me on lessons of cleanliness and respect. A few years ago at my Grandpa Du’s 67​th​ birthday party, I ran up to my grandfather and planted a wet, juicy kiss on his right cheek. To this day, I can easily remember the horrified looks on my relatives’ faces. My grandfather turned pale for a second and then smiled meekly. He nodded his head and quickly sat down. Later that evening, my mother cornered me against the wall. “Do you not know that respect to the elderly is to bow!” she screamed. Her face turned bright purple. My excuses of “I didn’t know…” were lost in her powerful words. From that day on, I bowed to anyone Chinese and older than I. I have learned that respect for the elderly earns a young person a different kind of respect. These days, my grandfather points to me and tells my cousins to follow my example. “She has been taught well,” he tells them. It saddens me that my Chinese mother is so often misunderstood. After she threw my friends out during my twelfth birthday party because they refused to take off their shoes, they saw her as a callous, cruel animal. One of my friends went home and told her father that I had an abusive mother. Her father even volunteered to call the child welfare department. They never dared to step foot in my house again. My mother has given me so many fine values and morals because of her way of teaching me. I choose my words carefully before I speak. I am careful to speak and act toward the elderly a certain way. Without my mother’s strong words and teachings, I believe that I would be a rather undisciplined person who didn’t value life greatly. I would most likely have been spoiled and callous and ignorant. I have also learned that there is more than one definition of love between a mother and a daughter.
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Explanation & Answer


A True Friend
I. Introduction:
A. I have met many friends but one friend has turned out to be amazing due to his positive characters
and true friendship over time; he shows up when needed and gives the required support.
II. Body
He is supportive in good and bad times. At one time I was needed some financial help and most
friends I approached did not respond...

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