Essay on Hunger

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Unrelenting Hunger “Hunger”, by Lan Samantha Chang, is a cautionary tale of an immigrant Chinese family in this complex story about unrelenting hunger, oppression, love and loss. Narrated by Min; the deeply unhappy and obedient wife of Tian, a gifted violinist, finds work as a music teacher in New York, but ultimately fails to land a permanent job at the school. Driven by personal failure and his unrelenting hunger for the violin Tian cruelly forces his two daughters, Anna and Ruth to play the violin, so they can follow in his footsteps. Tian’s inability to separate himself from his violin ends up destroying his family. Chang uses Tian’s obsessive hunger for the violin as a symbol of his identity, showing us that we must be careful…show more content…
Because of this sacrifice he sees his violin as his main identity; he is a violinist, and he must honor that at all costs. He can’t allow himself to enjoy anything else in life for fear that he sacrificed everything for nothing. The great irony here is that this all-consuming obsession with the violin leaves him bereft of any time or desire to spend time with his wife and children, unless it involves the violin, which ultimately causes them to reject him too. When Tian’s own dream dies he ruthlessly pushes music on his daughters in order to allow him to live vicariously through them. Anna, the oldest, tries to win her father’s love through the violin but ends up having “a mediocre sense of pitch” (54) and Tian can no longer stand to teach Anna the violin. Min notices “when he looked at Anna he saw nothing but his own struggles; he hated her difficulties, but he especially hated his own.” (55); this immense self-hatred, and lack of an identity outside of the violin, causes him to viciously force Ruth to become a violinist. Despite her lack of interest and the fact that she cries during every practice, Tian does not care as he sees promise in her. He yells at Ruth “Do you understand? From now on, you work. You practice every day” (60) to which Ruth responds “No no no no-“(60). It does not seem to matter to Tian that his daughter has no real desire to play the

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