Lan Samantha Chang’s “Water Names”: Argue what this story communicates about the significance of cultural heritage and how it endures.

Stronger paper responses to this prompt will logically incorporate these considerations as informed by the story: What is the effect of this story’s structure as a frame story? What similarities are there between the characters in the framed story and those in the frame? What role does place/setting play in this story? From where in China are the granddaughters and their grandmother descended, and where were the granddaughters born and raised in juxtaposition? What are the differences between their cultural heritage and their current cultural surroundings? What does this story suggest about the immigrant experience? What does it suggest about both assimilation and retaining cultural heritage? Is there something to be gained from relocating? Lost? Both? What does the story seem to suggest are the challenges of immigrating (though it does not discourage the endeavor)? Who keeps the girls’ cultural heritage extant? How? What is the role of storytelling in this narrative? Why so much mystery and mysterious imagery in the story? What is withheld from us, and how might that be a statement regarding assimilation? What of the presence of discord, separation, unity, and strength in its imagery? What of the story’s title, “Water Names”? What is the role of water in the story, and what are our associations with water? What about the story’s use of names? Who is named and who isn’t? Is there something being implied in that? What does this story suggest about pasts and identity? Place and identity?

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