Summary Of Women Of The Silk By Gail Tsukiyama

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The Long Journey to Find Identity and Self-Worth As a child, family is a necessity in life that enables you to grow and mature in the world. Gail Tsukiyama’s novel, Women of the Silk, discusses the life of a group of women living at the girls’ house in Yung Kee, China while working at the silk factory to earn a living. As a young girl, Pei Chung was very curious and asked numerous questions causing her parents’ concern of her future. When Pei and her family find out from the village fortuneteller she is of the nonmarrying type and will be someone who is loved but will have difficulties, her parents make the difficult decision to place Pei at a girls’ house where she receives money to support her family by working at a silk factory. Pei is skeptical…show more content…
Although Tsukiyama was raised culturally Chinese, she did not have much knowledge outside of what her parents taught her, so she turned to research. Through her research she found fascinating information about women in the silk work in China, which sparked her desire to write this novel. Because she was not raised in Asia, she felt less connected to her Chinese and Japanese roots. By writing about these two cultures, Tsukiyama was able to see both cultures more clearly. According to an interview at UC Davis, she wrote her novels as a way to become knowledgeable of her two cultures. Also, in an interview with, Tsukiyama describes her desires to write and her family’s…show more content…
At first Pei seems unable to stand up for herself against Lin’s mother’s mistreatment while attending Lin’s brother’s wedding: Lin says, “’I hated the way my mother treated you,’” and Pei replies, “’It doesn’t matter; I was fine’” (Tsukiyama 163-164). Pei knows that Lin’s mother dislikes her because she convinced Lin to join the sisterhood, committing her life to the silk work. She feels that her own comfort is not worth protecting and she deserves this unfair treatment. However, this feeling of unimportance changes when Pei gets the chance to stand up for herself against the silk factory’s working conditions: “‘It’s a chance we’ll have to take,’ Pei said eagerly. ‘One of us has already died because of Chung and our fear of him. It’s our duty to make sure it never happens again!’” (Tsukiyama 172). This time Pei not only sees she needs to take action against injustice, but feels comfortable sharing her opinion. Pei sees that as an older girl at the silk factory, it is her duty to stand up for the betterment of the girls. Pei’s decision to speak up shows the development of her search for self-worth and identity. In comparison, Tsukiyama’s realization of her voice came through writing in high school and college: “‘My mom says I never spoke very much as a child until I began writing. I found it very liberating to have a voice’” (Sherwin). Tsukiyama sees as a writer she is able

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