Comparing Two Memoirs about Women in the Eastern World Comparison Essay

Comparing Two Memoirs about Women in the Eastern World
Compares Sijie Dai and and Ina Rilke's "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" and Nahid Rachlin's "Persian Girls: A Memoir", about two women from the Eastern world who strive to seek and experience cultures of the West.
# 119332 | 2,042 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2010 | US

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This paper compare's Ma from "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" and Nahid from her own memoir "Persian Girls: A Memoir" to show how when given the opportunity to seek and experience cultures of the West, both Eastern women find that the Promised Land is just as broken as their own but in different ways. Through the experiences of both women, the author of this essay shows that although it is possible for one's childhood dreams to become a reality, not everything is as perfect as dreams may lead a person to believe, and while striving for something better is a great endeavor it is equally as important to appreciate the good things in life before those things are gone.

From the Paper:

"Nahid, in her youth, faced many terrible and discriminatory things that repulsed her from her heritage, these emotions pushed her further from her own heritage and closer to the customs and visions of the West. The single most influential moment, the moment that changed her, made her a rebellious and confrontational person, occurred when she was wrested from her Mother Maryam and brought back to her birth mother, Mohtaram. Nahid made her stand, against her father, against her situation, against her presumed future, with the rejection of her birth mother and the desires of her father. After many failed attempts to get Nahid to profess her love for Mohtaram, the situation came to a head. Nahid's father brought the pair together, in the hopes of beginning the formal bonds associated between a mother and a daughter. His attempt failed, and he permanently drove a wedge that would never be removed. In a fit of rage and frustration, he slapped Nahid for her stubbornness and lack of acceptance of her new life. The actions that followed prove to be immensely enlightening: "I ran back to my room and shut the door, I wanted to shout 'I hate you,' but my throat was clogged. Later I looked at myself in the small rectangular mirror on the wall. His handprint was still on my face" (Rachlin 40). The first sign of the importance of this confrontation is noticeable in just its placement within the work. It is set off from the rest of novel, which abruptly changes topic after the event. This was a very important moment that needed focus and attention all for itself. Another noticeable feature is the extreme emotions that it caused within Nahid. She was overwhelmed with hatred not only for her father and what he had done, but the whole system as well. Her father's slap left the handprint on her face that would fade away, but it also left an indelible mark on her soul. With every attempt that was made to bring her deeper into the life around her, Nahid experienced innumerable psychological deaths."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Dai, Sijie, and Ina Rilke. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. Random House, Inc., 2001. Print.
  • Rachlin, Nahid. Persian Girls: A Memoir. Jeremy P. Tarcher, 2006. Print.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Comparing Two Memoirs about Women in the Eastern World (2010, April 19) Retrieved February 05, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Comparing Two Memoirs about Women in the Eastern World" 19 April 2010. Web. 05 February. 2023. <>