The Hundred Secret Senses Characterization Essay

Submitted By yrnoodles
Words: 530
Pages: 3

Rahman, Yasmine
English I PAP/B2
Novel: The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

Characterization Question

In The Hundred Secret Senses, there is married couple, Olivia and Simon, who struggle to maintain their marriage. During the early stages of their relationship, they move into a home together. At first glance, the home is full of potential just like their relationship. However, once they begin stripping down walls (figuratively and literally) things begin to fall apart. How does the tacky decor and "cheap chandelier" characterize their failing relationship?


At first, the home is a source of hope that maybe their relationship could make it. It was full of potential and roomy enough to fill up with memories and love: "Before us was an enormous room with ceilings that sloped into walls. It was equivalent in floor space to the home entire nine rooms below. And in contrast to the musty darkness of the third floor, the attic was light and airy, painted clean white. Eight dormer windows jutted out of the sloped ceiling, leading our eyes into the cloud-spotted sky. Below our feet, wide-planked floors gleamed, shiny as an ice rink. Simon took my hand again and squeezed it. I squeezed back. This had potential. Together, I thought, Simon and I could dream up ways to fill up the emptiness" (119).

The chandelier they never replaced symbolizes their marriage. It was a problem they always ignored by using light bulbs. However, as the light bulbs died out so did their love and problems became too conspicuous to ignore: "Simon and I never replaced the cheap-glass chandelier. When we first moved in, we found it offensive, a glaring insult to good taste. Later, the fixture became a joke. And soon it was merely a source of light we took for granted. It was there but not noticed, except when one of the bulbs burned out. We even tried to rid ourselves of this reminder by buying a dozen light bulbs from a blind-veterans' organization, sixty watts each, guaranteed to last fifty thousand hours,