Identity Problems (And a Crush Over for Christmas Dinner)

This story is called Fish Cheeks, a story written by Amy Tam.

Amy Tam is a US citizen born to two Immigrants from China who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. She wrote multiple stories like “My joy luck club.”


The story is about a girl named Amy, who is also the author, who has a crush on Robert, “the minister’s son”. Later, she found out that the minister’s family will be over for Christmas Eve dinner. Amy appears to criticize every single bit of the Chinese food her parents made, such as “A slimy rock cod with bulging eyes ” and “fleshy prawns”. She felt that Robert would feel “terrible disappointment…upon seeing not a roasted turkey and sweet potatoes but Chinese food”. However, this does not represent what she feels as she the foods are “all my [her] favorite foods”. She is afraid that other people would think that she is Chinese. For instance, When her father said ‘“Amy, your favorite,”’ and offered “me [her] the tender fish cheek”, Amy “wanted to disappear”.

The real conflict is that Amy has a cultural conflict where she is not sure whether she is American or Chinese. Her mother said “You want to be the same as American girls on the outside,…But inside you must always be Chinese…”.

My poem shows this by showing how Amy was unhappy that Robert would see her family. My poem also shows how Amy realizes what her mother meant when her mother told her that Amy should be proud of her lineage. It shows how Amy’s mother told her to be proud.


Studiobinder, Team. “The Real Purpose of Conflict in Your Story.” StudioBinder, 10 July 2020,

Tam, Amy. “Fish Cheeks.” CommonLit, 1987,

Tam, Amy. “About.” Amy Tan,