Ha Jin Children As Enemies Summary

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The meaning of names and family along with their importance to an individual changes from culture to culture and even, in some cases which seem to become more and more common in the present times, from generation to generation. Due to this, many clashes have occurred between members of the same family who happen to be part of different generations, or cultures. These clashes become even more intense when the members of the family are from both different cultures and generations. Clashes like these could lead to the family being torn apart like it was the case of the characters from the short story by the Chinese-American writer Ha Jin “Children as Enemies.” In this short story Ha Jin dramatizes the clash of generations with the clash of…show more content…
Your last name belongs to the family, and you can’t cut yourselves off from your ancestors.” To this, the young boy answers “Baloney!.” This particular argument not only highlights the cultural differences in their thoughts on the meaning of names but also the different definition of a family each culture has. In the Chinese culture, the family is centered around the veneration of the ancestors and elders are the ones who hold the power within the household due to their wise nature. While in American culture the family is commonly defined as only including the nuclear family members, the mother, the father, and their children. These values clashed during the argument between the grandfather and the child when the child not only disregarded the importance of his ancestors but also disrespected his grandfather to the point where his grandmother had to intervene and by stating “You mustn’t speak to your granddad like that.” The children further display their American interpretation of family when the boy tells the grandfather “This isn’t your home,” and then the little girl follows by stating “You’re just our guests.” This argument clearly displays the clash between family members of different generations dramatized by their
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