ENG 121- Response paper #1
The narrative “The Struggle to Be an All-American Girl” by Elizabeth Wong revolves around a Chinese American female who is forced along with her brother to attend Chinese school. Wong grows up not wanting to know or embrace anything about her own culture. She looked at it as useless, dreadful to learn and humiliating. “The language was a source of embarrassment” (Wong 7). In Wong’s narrative she paints a picture of how she becomes frustrated with her mother for forcing her to learn her heritage and not wanting any relation with her culture.
She shows her distaste for the culture, describes the Chinese language as a “nagging loud voice” (Wong 7) and didn’t want to be thought of as “mad, talking gibberish” (Wong 8). Wong was pleased at the fact that the English language sounded sweeter and more beautiful growing up as a child, “When I spoke English people nodded at me, smiled sweetly” (Wong 8). Wong was certain that the Chinese language and culture was redundant, she expressed poorly of her culture and was sure that American culture was superior and more dominant. Wong also speaks about how she felt that attending Chinese school was a waste of time because she felt as if she had already known what was important by her America public school, “multiplication tables, name the satellites of Mars” (Wong 6). Throughout the narrative Wong continues to state her opinion about the Chinese culture and wanting to transition to American culture. Two years of attending Chinese school she praises the fact that she no longer has to attend, “I finally was granted a culture divorce” (Wong 9). She was beyond proud that she has achieved culture assimilation. Wong described herself as multicultural and talks how she prefers American traditions over Chinese traditions.
As an adult Wong starts to show how she is regretful of not embracing her Chinese cultural like her mother tried “forcing” upon her, she wished that she had not been too stubborn to see the beauty of her own culture. Wong realizes that as a child she wanted to be like everyone else, she thought that learning the American culture over her own would deem her as normal but failed to realize that she was slowly losing part of herself by rejecting her culture. Wong grows up wanting to feel like an American girl, but the ending result isn’t what she was hoping for. After Wong accomplishes her goal she realized it was a mistake. Towards the end of Wong’s narrative essay, she leaves the audience in shock with a situational irony, “At last, I was one of you; I wasn’t one of them. Sadly, I still am” (Wong 11,12). Towards the beginning of Wong’s narrative, it appeared that her intended audience was directed towards multicultural individuals or for one who prefers a different culture over their own, but as you continue reading it becomes evident that she was speaking to Americans.