In this passage Amy Tan displays Rose Hsu Jordan as being passive yet assertive through symbolism and characterization. At this time Ted and Rose have to decided to get a divorce. Rose "wanted Ted to see [her] one more time before the divorce", and thus she tells him to the house and pick up the papers. When he arrived, what she "ended up showing" Ted was "the garden". There are three main quotes in which Tan displays Rose's passive yet assertive side. The first is "'I like it this way,' I said, patting the tops of overgrown carrots, their orange heads pushing through the earth as if about to be born." The second is "And even more had found refuge under loose shingles and were on their way to climbing up to the roof." The third is "I've already found a place because right then I knew where I was going to live here.".
In the quote "'I like it this way,' I said, patting the tops of overgrown carrots, their orange heads pushing through the earth as if about to be born" Tan is able to display the side of Rose that is passive. When Ted walks into Rose's garden he comments that it is "a mess". Rose does not proceed to argue or defend her garden, instead she just passes it off and she that says she "likes it this way". Rose is not able to stand up for herself, instead she surrenders to the authority of Ted. The "overgrown carrots" symbolize Rose and her marriage, as they begin to push "through the earth", she begins a new life as a single women, just as if she were reborn. However, it is said that Rose is "patting the tops" of the carrots, which is just like her passiveness pushing her back into the ground. .
In the quote "And then I saw the weeds and even more had found refuge under loose shingles and were on their way to climbing up to the roof", Tan is able to display through symbolism the side of Rose that is assertive. Rose is portrayed as the weeds, which are breaking through "the cracks" and "anchored" on to the "side of the house".