Analysis Of The Novel 'Everything I Never Told You'

850 Words 4 Pages

”Everything she had dreamed for herself faded away, like fine mist on a breeze”. This strong quote incapsulates the feeling of a failed dream, though in its original context, the quote also tells a story of 1970’s America and society’s gender roles.
The quote comes from Celeste Ng’s 2014 novel ‘Everything I never told you’, which deals with the suicide of a mixed-race child. However, this is hardly the story that Celeste is trying to tell with her novel, as it unfolds to become a critique of women’s rights and society’s patriarchal ide-ology.
This analytical essay will focus on Celeste Ng’s critique of mentioned topics by commenting on the main themes and message of the novel, whilst also giving a characterization
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Lydia Lee is the middle child of James and Marilyn Lee, an interracial Chinese-American couple. Lydia is the protagonist of the novel and her death drives the plot forward, as the other characters try to understand what drove Lydia to commit suicide.
In the excerpt of “Everything I never told you” the reader follows a young Lydia and her reac-tion to her mother’s homecoming after being gone for 9 weeks, which can be seen with the quote: “To Lydia, her mother’s return was nothing short of a miracle.” . As Marilyn returns, a gradual evolution can be seen with both characters. On page 147, third paragraph, the reader acknowledges that Marilyn despises her lifestyle, a lifestyle inherited from her own mother. As the text pro-gresses, Marilyn forces her dreams onto Lydia by teaching her algebra and science, in hopes of inspiring her daughter to become a doctor.
It stands clear that Lydia was not her own individual. Marilyn’s inability to accept the lifestyle she lived led to her living through her
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However, the death of Lydia can very much be symbolic too. It could be a metaphor for the on-going problems women face in modern society, and how society’s expectations of what women and wives should be, ha-ven’t evolved.

In conclusion, the novel ‘Everything I never told you’ explains the struggles women face in breaking society’s gender roles. As stated in the introduction, the novel is a critique on women’s rights and society’s patriarchal ideology. As the analysis has shown both Lydia and Marilyn struggle to find themselves due to expectations and disappointments from each other and society.
Furthermore, the analysis also shows that the two characters are symbolic of women’s rights and that the novel criticizes modern society for not changing its values and opinions on what women should

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