Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
Olivia has always been guilty for feeling embarrassed by her half-sister’s nature. For example, she says, “She’s like an orphan cat, kneading on my heart”. This is brought about by the difference in their racial and cultural background for their sibling relationship is not set on its biological connection but on their cultural resemblance. This however shows that despite her embarrassment, she still feels a little concern for her sister for the fact that she feels guilty about it. Therefore, despite her dislike for her sister, along the way, she despises her presence yet she looks up to her for security and some emotional assurance.
Olivia is in conflict with her true identity, may it be intra-personal, culture and heritage wise, and also as to whom she really is after she and her husband decides to part ways. She asks, “So which part was her dream, which part was mine? Where did they intersect?” This goes to show that Olivia feels that her sister is a representation of an origin that she cannot wholly claim as her own nor can she fully reject and forget for Kwan’s involvement in her life makes her question as to which cultural heritage she really belongs. In addition, this shows that she lacks decisive skills and has trouble making up her mind on her own. Eventually, Olivia finds her true self, that she belongs to her family and her family belongs to China, notwithstanding all the dilemma and relationship issues that has come across, not only between her and her sister but also with her estranged husband.
Olivia, in spite of her detached relationship with Kwan and her wretched outcome in the end, learns a lot from the latter’s teachings. Olivia says, “I think Kwan intended to show me 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.” Relationships are important even though you start on the wrong footing. This is because there may be times we misunderstand other people and see them as the antagonist only to find out in the end that they are, after all, your guardian angels. As a result, Olivia goes back to the land of reality and relates all of the teachings in her life and emerge a stronger person and further discovers that she is able to satisfy the demands of the romance her life has long been yearning for with Kwan’s help.