Cultural Forces: Exploring The Contrasts Between Ying Ying and St. Lena

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 663 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Words: 663|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024


Culture is a multifaceted entity that shapes the way individuals perceive the world and interact with others. Two cultures that stand in contrast are the Chinese and the American. China is a country of ancient civilization, with rich history and numerous traditions and customs. America, on the other hand, is a modern, highly diversified country with a unique set of cultural traits and values. Therefore, when looking at the protagonists Ying Ying and St. Lena, it is essential to consider the cultural forces behind their experiences. This essay will explore the differences between Ying Ying and St. Lena, examining how their cultural and historical s shape their personalities, values, and how they navigate their worlds.

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To begin with, it is essential to look at the of both Ying Ying and St. Lena. Ying Ying is a Chinese immigrant who comes from a long line of traditional Chinese families. Born in the early twentieth century, she grew up in a China that was rapidly undergoing change, moving from traditionalism to modernity. Her upbringing is steeped in the customs and rituals of her elders, and her connection to her heritage is something that is central to her identity. St. Lena, on the other hand, is an African American woman who was born and raised in America. Her family has a long history of oppression and racism, and her experiences are shaped by the struggle against these forces. She grew up in a country that was in the midst of social and political upheaval, with events such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War influencing her worldview.

The differences in the s of Ying Ying and St. Lena can be seen in their cultural identities. Ying Ying is a Confucianist, with a strong sense of duty, hierarchy, and respect for tradition. She values filial piety and hierarchical order, and this is reinforced in her interactions with her children and others. For example, when her son asks her questions about her past, she struggles to share the information as it goes against her understanding of filial piety. St. Lena, on the other hand, is part of a culture that values individualism, personal freedom, and equality. Her experiences with discrimination and marginalization have led her to value independence and self-sufficiency. She values honesty, personal relationships, and the right to self-determination. Unlike Ying Ying, she does not prioritize fitting into predetermined roles or traditions, opting instead to define herself on her terms.

The culmination of these cultural differences can be seen in the personalities of Ying Ying and St. Lena. Ying Ying is reserved and quiet, preferring to follow the rules and not rock the boat. She is meek, passive, and subservient to her husband, as is expected of a traditional Chinese wife. She values modesty and does not seek attention or praise. Yunior, the narrator in the story, describes her as a "ghost who haunts her own life," a poignant image that reflects her bleak existence. St. Lena, on the other hand, is a strong, independent woman. She is determined and driven, actively seeking change and asserting her rights and needs. She has a broad network of friends and a strong connection to her community. She is not afraid to speak up and challenge authority, as seen when she explains to Yunior why she left his father. She values love and passion, yet is not afraid to walk away from relationships that do not serve her.

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In sum, Ying Ying and St. Lena are complex characters shaped by their personal and cultural histories. Their experiences provide an insight into the cultural underpinnings of two different societies, giving a glimpse into how culture shapes the way individuals view the world around them. Through their contrasting values and personalities, we can see how cultural forces shape not only individual behavior but also societal expectations and norms. Ultimately, their stories are a reminder that culture is not a monolithic entity but a multifaceted one that shapes our lives in profound and varied ways.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Cultural Forces: Exploring the Contrasts Between Ying Ying and St. Lena. (2024, March 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 14, 2024, from
“Cultural Forces: Exploring the Contrasts Between Ying Ying and St. Lena.” GradesFixer, 07 Mar. 2024,
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