Kind of Mother
Considering Topics for Your Own Essay
Considerwriting about a person near your own age who influenced you during your
childhoodor early adolescence. List as many people as you can. Recall neighbors,
classmates,friends from camp, teammates.
The people on your list may be close
mendsor other people with whom you still keep in touch, as Karr and Clarice do, or
peoplewith whom you have lost contact. They might even be relatives-cousins
siblings.Choose one person from your list, and try to recall two or three specific
timesthe two of you did something especially memorable together.
List these anec-
dotes,and make notes about what each memory might reveal about the person and
To use the WritingGuide Software to record
your ideas, click
Amy Wu wrote this essay when she was seventeen years old, just before becoming
dentat New York University.
recent fellow at the Scripps Howard New
MediaWorkshop at Columbia University, Wu is on the staff of the
Monterey County Herald
California.Her articles have appeared in
Time Asia, Wired News, ABCNews.com,
Los Angeles Times, Asia Week,
and other publications.
This essay was pub-
Chinese American Forum, a
you read, notice the way Wu relies on contrasts between her mother and other kinds
ofmothers to help readers understand her special relationship with her mother.
My best friend once asked me what it was like being
brought up by a Chinese mother. Surprisingly, I could
find no answer. I found myself describing my mother's
way my mother's hair was so silky and
black, how her eyes were not small and squinty, but
shapedlike perfect almonds. How her lips and cheeks were bright red even if she put
But unlike my friends,
who see my mother
as a Chinese
I see my mother
Beyond the layers
is a love that unites
I am not blind,
to the disciplinary
westand a culture from the east.
childrento speak whatever
is on their mind, my mother told me to hold my tongue.
whenI was 5 or 6, I interrupted
a dinner with her friends
and told her
thatI disliked the meal.
pools of blackness