The author emphasizes this when she states “In those days a ghost was anything we were forbidden to talk about” (Tan 291).This is clearly illustrated in the case of An-mei’s mother, who is disowned by her family for running off to be a concubine and refusing dowry from An-mei’s father. An-mei grows up hearing her grandmother constantly talking ill of her mother and she perceives her to be a “thoughtless woman who laughed and shook her head, who dipped her chopsticks many times to eat another piece of sweet fruit, happy to be free of Popo, her unhappy husband on the wall, and her two disobedient children (Tan 292 ).” Tan’s short narrative “Scar” builds on the themes of unconditional love and respect, by using symbolism and figurative language, among other literary elements.
As a child, An-mei’s mother comes to visit and a commotion arises. A giant pot of boiling broth spills and burns the little girl’s chin and neck. The boiling soup is symbolic of the family’s raging anger towards An-mei’s mother for becoming a concubine and dishonoring them. The burn results in a physical scar, hence the title of the short story. However, the term scar is also symbolic since it signifies the emotional harm suffered by the little girl, as well as, the bad memories of her mother instilled in her by the grandmother. ...Show more