Children As Enemies By Ha Jin

1566 Words Dec 10th, 2016 7 Pages
A breakaway from tradition also includes a breakaway from family in the case for author Ha Jin’s short story, “Children as Enemies.” The story focuses on immigrant Chinese grandparents from the Xi family who came to America to be with their son and his children, only to be driven away by their grandchildren’s hostility towards everything Chinese that started with their dislike for their traditional names. The children are trying to Americanize themselves as much as they can while the grandparents are trying to keep everything as traditional as they can whereas the son of the grandparents tries to act as a neutral barrier of sorts that ultimately fails when the grandparents move out. The short story takes on the numerous themes but mainly the clash of cultures and how one’s heritage can potentially dwindle from one generation to the next. Qigan and Hua Xi are the grandchildren of the focalizer, who are unhappy with their first and family name as well with just about everything else that resembled their family culture, save for some food they enjoy. It is noted how important a character, as well as all people’s names are, as noted by characterization. The protagonist notes this fact, having sought all the names of his family from the prosperity of a fortune teller. The children and their parents pay no mind to this, abiding the children’s wish for a new name. Slowly but surely, a break from tradition is forming. Something especially important however, is their attendance to…
Open Document