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Min’s weaknesses

In “Hunger”, Chang address a story of an immigrant family in America. Throughout the story, multiple conflicts happen within this family. There are the culture differences between Tian and her younger daughter, Ruth and the goal differences in Tian’s and Min’s goals in life. These differences soon become fractures in the family relationships surface, starting to spread further and deeper into the family structure. While Ruth and Tian are blind with their obsessions with perfection and individuality, Min, Tian’s wife and Ruth’s mother, has enough power to heal the family, but she allows her passiveness hide away her voice and her feelings. It leads to the lack of communications between her and Tian, and takes away her abilities to fix the fractures in her family, to the point that the only thing she can do is watch as her family falls apart.

Coming to America, Min feels the remoteness of the new place and the lack of family members makes it impossible for her to “stay warm”. The first time she feels warm in when she first meets Tian in the restaurant. Marrying to Tian, Min has put a lot of hopes and efforts to build a perfect family, a place for “togetherness, and warmth”. To achieve that goal, she tries to do everything to please Tian. She “would take care not to serve”(24) the disk that he “ate a little less”(24), or “avoided” who Tian “did not like”, or “wish” her child to be a boy just because she notices him “staring at a little boy”. These actions lead.

The reader(пЃЊ) can feel the emotions burning inside of her; but her passiveness is a thick layer of cloth, which takes away all the source of oxygen and put away the fire before it reaches the surface of her skins(Confusing?). “How could I have chosen an unforgiving man?”(20), she asks herself at Tian’s recitals while listening to the “sounds through a feat of magic or theft”(20). She now discovers something new about the man she marries, “who would accept no excuse from anyone or anything close to him”(20). Again, her feelings tell her that something is wrong, but, again, she does nothing. She does not try to change Tian’s or communicate with him about how she really feels about him. Her passiveness tells her that silence is the best choice. She lets it control her mind to the point that she could not realize that their relationship is deteriorating gradually.

Later in the story (bad), Ruth becomes a significant player in the family due to the fact that her talents and similarity to Tian’s family makes him “love” her the most. But the cultural difference between the generations makes their relationship go sour. Min watches the whole deteriorating process of the relationship between Tian and Ruth. She knows her husband’s personality, how he treats Ruth cruelly as he did to himself” “with complete disregard for her age and temperament”. She understands how her daughter’s personality evolves from the desire to please her father to developing “a sudden and brilliant genius for upsetting him”(74). She notices that they are starting to treat each other as “a true opponent”(74). She hears and sees everything going on between them, from the pains and begging to stop playing the piano to the point where Ruth seeks her individuality by sneaking out of the house. Yet, she crosses her hands and decides to stay out and be an spectator. She never actually stands up and stops the fight. With her knowledge about their personality and her role in the family, she has enough control in her hands to actually change the course of the relationship between Tian and Ruth. But times after times, she “could not talk to Tian”(55).

She witnesses the first flame ignites at the dinner after Ruth’s recital, how Tian’s unreasonable selfishness leads to Ruth’s strong reaction, “[y]ou can’t tell me what to do”(71). She knows that the tensions are growing stronger and stronger. But again, she does not “want to face him, or to comfort him, or to let him speak about how much he hated the people from the music school.”(73). She refuses to offer consolation to her husband, the person that she chooses to live her life with. What are her responsibilities in the house then? Is it just ironing clothes or cooking? Is it just to listen to the fight and be the judge outside to decide who is right? She backs away from her husband and, even, Ruth when they need her. The night Ruth comes and talks about whether Min wants to leave New York, she different this night. She is “so gentle that night, and kind”. She is ready



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