Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Differences Among Generations

Generational differences are often a lot to deal with. Adding a cultural difference can lead to extreme hatred. In the Vietnamese culture, boys are praised while girls are thought of as inconveniences. On page 189, Andrew says, “But I [Andrew] don’t think that’s why Chi wanted to be a boy. She was just never meant to be a girl.” Chi, although born in Vietnam, became Americanized when they immigrated to America. It is uncertain whether or not she had the gender struggle in Vietnam, but in America it was the main force in her life. Because her father still thought of himself as Vietnamese, in his eyes, it is acceptable to beat your children if they disobey you or your ideals; however, in America, beating of a child is not acceptable and is in fact illegal. Chi’s father beats her when he finds out that she is wrapping her chest and that leads to his arrest. Had he been more inviting of the American culture, he might have been able to learn other ways to cope with his disagreements with his daughter. For example, he could have talked to her with words instead of with his fists. However, no matter how he had discussed it with her, he should have been able to realize that it is her life and she can do whatever she chooses to do with her life, even if her father disagrees with it. 

By Brittany 


  1. Brittany,
    I agree with you that Chi’s struggle with her gender was certainly one of the factors that led to her suicide. Chi has always acted in a boyish manner and while we don’t have access to see what was going on in her head, it was obvious that she didn’t act very feminine according to what Andrew had reported in his memoir. However, I don’t think her failure to be accepted by her parents or the Vietnamese community in the United States was her only struggle. I believe that besides her gender struggle, she also felt very alienated and alone. Andrew, himself proves that through his continuous attempts to forget his guilt towards Chi because he feels like he’s never tried to befriend her or find out what was going on in her life, even though it was obvious that she was struggling.

    - Christina

  2. Brittany,
    I agree that the Chin's arrival had a large impact on her ability to express her true self but, I feel that it was apparent even in Vietnam that she was different with her sexuality. This is based upon Andrew's description of her behavior and the countless tales of being saved from bullies by her as well as her acts of courage. Another example would be the urinating scene were she demonstrates that she can pee like a boy. The struggle with her sexuality were present in Vietnam she was just given the more freedom socially, as no one knew her as a girl, to express herself as she viewed herself.


  3. I agree that generational and cultural differences often alienate children from their parents. However, I feel that Chi and the father both had separate issues that began in Vietnam, but had nothing to do with their culture. Chi's transsexuality began when she started bandaging her chest in Vietnam, but it was not the result of the country itself. Andrew even states that he always knew there was something different about her. Also, the father's abuse was a result of his own past abuse. He claims it's Vietnamese to beat his children out of love, but that is only because his father beat him and he does not know anything different at the time. It does not reflect the culture, but his own personal problems in the past.


  4. The cultural differences certainly played a part in Chi's fate. Had her father not beaten her for wrapping her chest, the entire series of events that affected Chi's future would not have been set in motion. Chi's father felt that beating his children was the best way to discipline them, but his choice to do so had a tragic ending. In Vietnam Chi's beating was frowned upon, but in America it was criminal. Chi was struggling with her gender as well as fitting into a new country. Her father's violent response to this caused her to be completely isolated and alone. Chi's father eventually realizes how he contributed to Chi's struggles and is forced to live with his choices.


  5. I do think that cultural difference had an impact on Chi's decision to go through sex-change operation. However, I do think that Chi did have the right to live her life the way she wanted, but her parents also had the right to tell their daughter how they felt about her bandaging her chest or when she dressed like a boy since afterall as parents they do have the right to get mad at her. I do think that beating Chi was very wrong and her father was wrong to do that and in the end we see that he felt bad for beating his daughter and being so hard on her. He just couldn't bring himself to accept the fact that Chi felt trapped in her body.