The story under analysis “Ba-chan’s Superstition” is written by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. This short story reveals a situation that was common in the society during the after war period. Tuberculosis was one of the most widely spread illnesses that caused a lot of death if was not assessed and found on early stage.
The Main Characters
The main character of the story is a girl that faces the first problems that are common in the adult society. The most frequent ones are lack of money, different social position of families, and importance of being equal with peers for the adolescent children. The older girl in the family was going to have a graduation evening and did not have the silk stockings to look the same as other students of her age.
The parents did not have a very high salary and could not afford buying the silk stockings to their daughter. At the same time she had a job as a seller at the gift shop and still earning some money had to give it all to her family to help them lead a normal life. The challenge episode begins when the companion girl who also worked at the gift shop gifted the silk stockings to Kimi. However, this gift was investigated and charms dispelled by the grandmother of the family. She believed that the people that suffered the TB were not ordinary people and it was not a simple disease but a sign of curse and it was not simple to overcome it.
The girl’s name was Chiye and she was very beautiful. This girl was so interesting that the narrator also became very interested in friendship with her. The grandmother of the family had a special superstition and tried to prevent her younger granddaughter from friendship with this kind of people. However, as Kimi says in the text: “It’s a disease…But Japanese think that it’s a curse. Ba-chan says it’s inherited because of some sin in family’s past.” (Houston, 98).
The challenge that a girl has to overcome is in the fact that she feels a strong desire to have a friend that will be pleasant to communicate for her. The grandmother has a strong superstition that this is harmful for the health and not proper for their family.
The little girl finally found the way to communicate with her friend and clean out all the proofs of her visits to Chiye like nail polish and other cosmetics that she applied during the visits to her friend.
The superstition was that this disease was incurable, however, after a year after realizing that she lost her friend the main character of the story discovers that her fried was alive and she did not die during the disease.
The Problem of the Story
The problem is that older generation that is presented by Ba-chan in this story cannot understand the reality of life and cannot overcome the suspicions that were growing through the centuries. At the same time, the younger people are too emotional and open minded to prevent themselves from the communication with those who are interesting to them and those whom they consider nice people.
Like all the strong people, the little girl searched for the way to make friendship with the person she liked despite the entire preventive methods from her grandmother’s side.
The most difficult in this situation was to keep it all secret and do not let the other people to discover the friendship between them. This is a real challenge that is not common for the American society and is characteristic for the countries where prejudices overcome the reality and objective thinking.
It is sad that kids are the first to see the unjust decisions of grownups and have to fight a number of different obstacles that are not easy for the strongest adults even. The situation can be strange and not very common for the developed European or American society, however, it can be easily understood if the person leads a little investigation of the Japanese culture and sees that for their society the whole situation is not for nothing but it really means a lot to people and they believe it and do not have another way to deal with it.
The life is full of challenge and that is why the story could simply become one of millions of other stories like that, but it is unique. The story is significant for the reason it represents the fight, a quiet disagreement of a little girl that managed to see the truth through the years of friendship and loss.
The Main Idea of the Story
The main idea of the story is that the person has to fight for everything in this life and the people who realize it start fighting for everything beginning from the early age. The example of the challenge that a girl had to face is the story under analysis “Ba-chan’s Superstition.
The story shows that no matter how hard it can be and how difficult the life is, there is always a chance to fight for the life and for friendship. The girl’s character proves the fact that no matter how hard it can be, there is always a chance to find the solution even in such an important question like dangerous disease like TB.