Chinese culture and English culture are so inherently different from each other that it often takes a lifetime for an individual of Chinese origin to adjust in an English or American culture. The difference between the two cultures is almost as strong and evident as the difference between the Chinese and English language. The narration of Chinese superstitions and tales strengthens the relationship between Kwan and Olivia. Kwan’s belief that she can see ghosts because of having yin eyes originates in her relationship to the past because it is a belief of the Chinese culture. Her relationship to her past is particularly evident from the fact that Kwan recounts tales from the past life. The story The Hundred Secret Senses revolves around the process of creation of the new Asian-American identities that Kwan and Olivia, and millions of Chinese girls like them undergo while living in a culture that is worlds apart from their original culture.
The fundamental reason why Kwan contemplates a trip to China is to find out more about her connection to the Yin world. Remembering and accepting her past has a significant effect on how Kwan lives now. It eventually becomes obvious that there is a connection between the fidelity of Kwan to Olivia and that of Nunumu to Miss Banner in terms of past lives being in the present. As the visit of Kwan, Olivia, and Simon to China is transformed into a tragedy, Olivia happens to accept the faith of Kwan. It is because of Kwan’s remembrance and acceptance of her past that she manages to lead Olivia to the realization that in addition to what can be perceived with the use of five basic senses, there is a whole lot of other things which cannot be understood without the use of the hundred secret senses. Olivia gushes in the conclusion of the novel, “The world is not a place but the vastness of the soul. And the soul is nothing more than love, limitless, endless, all that moves us toward knowing what is true. . . . And ...Show more