Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Important Passages in The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

Five Important Passages in Two Kinds.
Brian Harrison
"'Of course you can be prodigy, too,' my mother told me when I was nine.  'You can be best anything.  What does Auntie Lindo know?'...America was where all of my mothers hopes lay.  She had come here in 1949 after losing everything in China: her mother and father, her family home, her first husband, and two daughters, twin baby girls."(132)
This passage is important to the story because it shows the reader how desperate the mother is to succeed and how riddled her past is with disappointment.  This makes it easier for the reader to understand why she is so hard on her daughter, and why she drives her daughter so hard to be perfect, because being perfect is something that she could never have for herself.

"And after seeing my mother's disappointed face once again, something inside me began to die.  I hate the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations.  Before going to bed that night, I looked in the mirror above the bathroom sink and when I saw only my face staring back -- and that it would always be this ordinary face -- I began to cry.  Such a sad, ugly girl!  I made high-pitched noises like a crazed animal, trying to scratch out the face in the mirror."(134)
This passage shows how deeply the mothers expectations have been intertwined into the daughter's head.  The daughter is upset with herself because she is not perfect, even when being perfect is impossible.

"I looked at my reflection, blinking so I could see more clearly.  The girl staring back at me was angry, powerful.  This girl and I were the same.  I had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lots of won'ts.  I wont let her change me, I promised myself.  I won't be what I'm not." (134)
This passage shows us how the girl is transforming as a person.  She has realized that the only person she can be is the person she is, not the person her mother wishes she could have been.

"Why don't you like me the way I am? I'm not a genius!  I can't play the piano.  And even if I could, I wouldn't go on TV if you paid me a million dollars! I cried.  My mother slapped me.  'Who ask you be genius?' she shouted. 'Only ask you be your best.'"(136)
This passage shows how the daughter has morphed even further from an obedient daughter into a person who can think for herself.  The daughter is clashing even more with her mother, and is willing to step out and tell the mother what she really thinks.  This drives the mother into a fit of denial.

"'You want me to be someone that I'm not!' I sobbed.  'I'll never be the kind of daughter you want me to be!' 'Only two kinds of daughters,' she shouted in Chinese.  'those who are obedient and those who fallow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house.  Obedient daughter!'" (142)
This last passage shows the true clash between the daughter and her mother.  The mother is annoied by the rood comments of her daughter as well as her daughter's failures.  The mother gives the daughter goals that she cannot meet, and when she fails, the mother is disappointed in her.  This shows the mothers need to succeed, and her hopes to do so through her daughter.  The mother's failures earlier in life have saddened her, and created anger in her heart.  The mother only has interest in her daughter if her daughter is an object to make her look better.

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates is a great comontary on the relationships that girls have with their mothers, and the stress that is placed on their relationships because of their own wants.

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