The current paper is the evaluation of two powerful books about the lives of different families in the frames of one period of time and the demands to follow the rules and personal ambitions. Bone by Fae Myenne Ng is novel about the lives of three Chinese-American sisters with each of them having a number of skeletons in the closet. Rice is a Chinese story about one man, whose desire to be wealthy and sexually satisfied during the 1930s China breaks the lives of many people. Though these two stories are different in their plots and created by the authors from different parts of the world (Ng lives in San Francisco, and Tong is from Nanjing), both of them teach one and the same lesson: each person is free to create his/her own life and follow his/her own financial, sexual, or emotional demands, but it is impossible to be free from people living around and influencing each solution made.
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These two stories contain a number of lessons that the reader can get: a person may have nothing but be happy and satisfied with the opportunities available as well as a wealthy person may lose everything in a moment because of being too jealous or too uncertain in their own wishes.
Ng’s Bone tells one simple truth that “it’s time that makes a family, not just blood” (Ng 1). There is no need to take care of what people may think about the family in case everything is in the way it should be. Society is hard for one person to be understood. People may talk, and people may jealous (Ng 1). Still, they can never understand all those “bones” any family may have. Leila is the main character in the novel. She has a family with their own attitudes and traditions. And this family proves that it is possible to survive against the existing social opinion if the members of the family are able to support each other.
Tong focuses on another aspect of family relations. He wants to underline the importance of a public opinion and the necessity to meet the expectations put by society. The period described in the story is the period of famine many Chinese people suffered from in the 1930s. China was under a terrible threat. It was hard for people to control their actions and even thoughts. There were “thieves on the outside, thieves in the family, one of the other” (Tong 42). Being possessed with the desire to have more, a person is able to take the steps free from compassion, understanding, or sympathy. People can be challenged day by day, and it is their decision how to behave and what side to choose. The main character of the story, Five Dragons, shows how senseless and compassionless his actions can be in case he wants to achieve his main goal and have as much as possible.
In general, both stories help to understand better the nature of human relations and the necessity to follow a number of rules. Each family can be a powerful group of people in case all its members have one goal and the same intentions. Tong and Ng open two different approaches on how to consider the peculiarities of family-society relations and use the experience of two different families on how to survive in the world and deal with the expectations of people around.
Ng, Fae Myenne. Bone. New York, NY: Hachette Books, 2008. Print.
Tong, Su. Rice. New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 2004. Print.
Four Additional Sources for Further Research American-Chinese Jen, Gish. World and Town. New York, NY: Vintage Contemporaries, 2010. Print.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006. Print.
Chinese Chen, Ran. A Private Life. New York, NY: Weatherhead Books on Asia, 2004. Print.
Ning, Tie. How Long Is Forever? New York, NY: Read’s Digest, 2010. Print.