Eat A Bowl Of Tea Analysis

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Marital Strife in Eat a Bowl of Tea and Falling Man
Though separated by different time periods, areas of New York, and even cultures, the novels Eat a Bowl of Tea by Louis Chu and Falling Man by Don DeLillo are similar in their depiction of the marital crisis. In the novel Eat a Bowl of Tea, the main character Ben Loy lives in Chinatown in the 1940s with his wife, who is having an affair with his cousin. In the novel Falling Man, the main character Keith lives in lower Manhattan in 2001 (post- 9/11) and is having an affair with another survivor of the attack. These affairs and their consequences were the results of drastic cultural and societal events taking place in New York City at the time. The affair and reaction in Eat a Bowl of Tea reflects
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With some women entering the workforce, the gender norms were being threatened, which is evident in the rigid defined backlash of gender norms in the 1950s (PBS). Under these new conditions with women in the workforce, women had more agency. Working gave women more of a voice and allowed them to have more of a say in certain matters. This new power was far-reaching in that it allowed women to eventually recognize and be more vocal with their needs. In Eat a Bowl of Tea, Mei Oi is a prime example of this reflection in society. As Mei Oi sees other women being satisfied, whether it be through work or through more traditional means, such as having a child, she feels she is entitled to this satisfaction. However, Ben Loy will not let her work and he cannot give her a child, so she resorts to having an affair. Mei Oi has an affair with Ah Song, who is able to please her physically and give her a child, things that Mei Oi felt she was entitled to by her husband. Mei Oi’s sense of being entitled to more than sitting at home came from these new ideas of women as having more than just a position in the household in society and as having more

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