The Joy Luck Club
Sometimes, sacrifice is more than just a part-time job. It can be a self-made life sentence, where escaping is not an option. In The Joy Luck Club, the vignette The Red Candle shows Lindo Jong’s struggles of balancing happiness and her role of being the perfect wife and daughter. Disobeying the rules set for women that she had been taught from a young age would cause disappointment in her family, so she did her best to hide herself and fulfill her role. Lindo Jong’s sacrifice for maintaining peace within family is developed from her adherence to feminine expectations. Lindo hides her unhappiness of the arranged marriage because she knows that it was for her family’s satisfaction of having a perfect daughter and wife. ?Obey your family. Do not disgrace us,’ she said. ?Act happy when you arrive. Really, you’re very lucky.’ (Tan, 54) She is told how to feel toward people who will become part of her family, and she doesn’t want to disappoint. Lindo feels the need to be obedient and take her place in terms of the house–which is to be the female; don’t speak of herself, just take it. …Huang Taitai hurried me upstairs…a place where family children usually didn’t go. This was a place for cooks and servants. So I knew my standing (Tan, 55). Lindo is going to be the wife of Huang Taitai’s son, who believed Lindo had the worth equivalent to people just there to either make food or take orders. Her being a wife would make her a servant to her king, but she never speaks against it. This comes from her belief that she shouldn’t have a say, and that her happiness should come from her family’s satisfaction. The Red Candle was supposed to be a bond between two lovers, but for Lindo, she saw it as watching her freedom fading and her place in marriage sealed. That candle was a marriage bond that was worth…I couldn’t divorce, I couldn’t ever remarry, even if Tyan-yu died…I stayed up all night crying about my marriage (Tan, 59). Though she had been taught the basics of what was expected of her, reality finally hit her after the candle resembled her imprisonment in the marriage. Lindo cried, because she didn’t want to upset family about being an ungrateful wife, and also since she didn’t want the marriage. I made the Huangs think it was their idea to get rid of me, that they would be the ones to say the marriage contract was not valid. (Tan, 63) Lindo knew she couldn’t stay; she just was not fit emotionally to do so, and her way of escaping was not through her talking out of it. Lindo couldn’t talk anyway, she was in a lower place than everyone, being the wife. She had to make the family decide, and because they made the decision to make her leave, it would keep the peace. She wouldn’t be blamed, and Lindo saw that she could make her way out of the marriage without disappointing people. Lindo Jong escaped her imprisonment in the marriage without causing chaos, and while staying in her place. While she was the wife, she cooked, cleaned, tried to have children, and never talked back to Tyan-yu. Her sacrifice toward her family came out of the stereotypes of females, to be an obedient daughter and wife. She was able to slide out of the marriage, because she knew how her place worked–she shows a problem, and lets the upper people in the family talk and make decisions, which is also peace because she doesn’t actually ever talk.
English for Non-Native Speakers
English is a difficult language to learn for Non-Native Speakers. There are a plethora of words that mean multiple things with meanings that change every day. Itr’s hard to keep up if itr’s not one’s mother tongue.
Mother tongue is a language that a person has grown up speaking within their respective household. For Amy Tan, it was a special kind of English. An English that a Native English speaker would call broken or limited. Amy Tan is an Asian American woman who immigrated from Shanghai, China, to the United States with her mother. She is the author of her best-known novel The Joy Luck Club which examines the lives and relationships between four Chinese American daughters and their mothers. In Mother Tongue, Amy Tan points out cultural racism and the difficulties communication has on immigrants living in America. She uses a sympathetic yet defensive tone as she talks about her motherr’s language and what it means to her as well as showing the audience the challenges sher’s faced.
Tan delivers a talk at a symposium on language in San Francisco where she expresses her views and experiences with English. She talks about the complexities of the language and the different types of English she hears and uses in her day to day life. Therer’s a specific style of English she uses with her mother, one she uses on outings, another with her husband, and one her mother constantly uses with her. She says, It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk, the language I grew up with. (Tan 650) For Amy Tan, this language has a special place in her heart but for others, it leads to a sense of confusion.
When analyzing her motherr’s English, Amy Tan doesnt shy away from the difficulties it has aroused. In one example, she talks about how people perceive her motherr’s English regardless of all the hard work she puts into it. She says, Yet some of my friends tell me they understand 50 percent of what my mother says. Some say they understand 80 to 90 percent. Some say they understand none of it, as if she were speaking pure Chinese. (Tan 651).
Here, Amy Tan uses a personal experience as support. Her friends are Native speakers and dont entirely understand her mother because of a communication barrier. This shows just how complex and difficult the situation is. Since sher’s grown up around it, Tan faces no difficulty when it comes to understanding her mother, but for others, the communication skill seems flawed.
Amy Tan gets very in-depth when it comes to details of her past. She talks about the time when she was fifteen and how her mother would have her call people on the phone so that shed pretend it was her. She talks about how no one ever took her mother seriously and she was there to witness it all. Tan recounts,
the fact that people in department stores, at banks, and at restaurants did not take her seriously, did not give her good service, pretended not to understand her, or even acted as if they did not hear her. (Tan 651) Tan, once again, uses her experiences as credibility that strengthens her appeal on Ethos. With this passage alone, she shows how vulnerable and how difficult life is for her mother.
Tan then goes on to talk about the Asian American community and how English relates to their field of choice. She states, but I have noticed in surveys- in fact, just last week- that Asian students, as a whole, always do significantly better on math achievement test than in English. And this makes me think that there are other Asian American students whose English spoken in the home might also be described as broken or limited. And perhaps they also have teachers who are steering them away from writing and into math and science, which is what happened to me. (Tan 654) This supports her claim as she talks about how deeply the language spoken at home can affect the children. Tan shows just how prejudice people can be. Instead of helping and refining their English, the teachers are so adamant to push them in another field where they dont need to work as hard. Society doesnt give these kids a platform to grow and, instead, take them for granted.
When it really boils down to it, Amy Tan doesnt really use logistics to support her claim. The things listed above aren’t factual and are based more on the author’s inferences. Her story doesnt need logistics since she proves her credibility through her personal experiences which seems to be more beneficial in this case.
For the majority of her piece, Tan uses a strong pathos appeal as support. When she talks about growing up with her mother, she never fails to tell her audience how she feels. Amy Tan makes sure the audience can empathize with her, a tactic she uses to set everyone on the same playing field. Her pathos appeal is evident when she talks about how her mother was treated because of the way she spoke.
After being previously diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, Tanr’s mother goes back to the hospital to check up on her diagnosis. She said she had spoken her very best English yet they claimed that her CAT scan was missing. Tan says, and when the doctor finally called her daughter, me, who spoke in perfect English- lo and behold- we had assurances the CAT scan would be found, promises that a conference call on Monday would be held, and apologies for any suffering my mother had gone through for a most regrettable mistake. (Tan 652) Even though she doesnt outwardly state how she feels, she makes it pretty evident that she is frustrated and heavily confused about the situation. Her tone shows frustration which helps the audience sympathize with her. Because of this, people can put themselves in her shoes. She then goes on to talk about her childhood experiences with her mother and how her mother’s English affected the way she did things when she was younger.
Amy Tan would always find herself answering phone calls for her mother and even became less confident in herself because of it. This is shown earlier in the selection when she reflects on the time her mothers English made her feel ashamed. She realizes the challenges sher’s faced because of the way her mother spoke. Tan states, I know for a fact, because when I was growing up, my motherr’s limited English limited my perception of her. I was ashamed of her English. (Tan 651) Here Tan shows the struggles her motherr’s English had brought upon her. It gave her a low self-esteem and, instead of encouraging her mother, she was disheartened. She later becomes apologetic, showing that she too struggled to overlook the language barrier and took part of the cultural racism that flourished within this field.
Towards the end of the text, she wraps it up as she talks about her book. When she created her novel The Joy Luck Club, she kept her mother in mind. She said she wanted to use all the English she grew up with to preserve and capture the essence that neither can be seen within an English nor a Chinese structure. She says, I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal: her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts. (Tan 655) Here, sher’s learned that through all the struggle and uncertainty, her motherr’s English is something that she holds onto dearly. Itr’s been ground rooted and loved since birth and just like any other personality trait, itr’s something that makes that special woman her mother.
Overall, Amy Tan was successful in pronouncing her point and educating Native Speakers about the struggles immigrants face when it comes to communication. She has shown that there are many people like her mother who are experiencing these things and how this dominates the lives of every immigrant around the world. She engages her audience in a pot of stories, using her personal experiences as credibility for her claim. Amy Tan is also not afraid to show how vulnerable she was and still is when it comes to this subject manner. This language brought her closer together with her mother and her culture. Sher’s learned not to be ashamed of who she is and has embraced it for all those to see. Her speech is an aid for those who are experiencing the same thing. In conclusion, Amy Tan successfully encouraged her audience to look beyond language barriers and expresses to live and appreciate immigrants open heartedly and happily.
In The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, concepts of balance are highly influential in regards to the stories of An-Mei Hsu and Lena St. Clair. An-Mei Hsu uses faith to find balance in her life after the death of her son, Bing. Lena St. Clair balances all of her transactions with her husband, Harold, in order to stabilize an unequal relationship. Amy Tan, in the chapters Half and Half and Rice Husband, shows how An-Mei Hsu and Lena St. Clair attempt to achieve balance in certain aspects of an otherwise unbalanced life.
An-Mei Hsu, in Half and Half, uses her faith in God as a vehicle to seek balance in her life after it became unbalanced. In the eyes of her daughter, Rose Hsu Jordan, An-Mei Hsu lost faith after her son, Bing died. However, she may have not given up in God after all: But later, after my mother lost her faith in God, that leatherette Bible wound up wedged under a too-short table leg (116). The table is a metaphor for life. Each leg represents an aspect of it, and if each aspect fits together, life will be balanced. However, even if one leg is slightly shorter or longer, the entire table will tip.
The shortness of the leg represents the death of Bing; that event caused the entire table of An-Mei’s life to become unsteady. However, she used faith as a way to balance it after it had tipped. However, the Bible didn’t fix the table in reality, as: Faith was just an illusion that somehow you’re in control (121). The illusion that An-Mei’s faith painted was that the shorter table leg was the same length as the others if she put the Bible lifted it up.
However, no matter how much that leatherette Bible balanced the table, it still wasn’t a leg. Although An-Mei Hsu’s method of seeking balance in her life isn’t entirely effective, her faith manages to prop up the too short table leg of her family.
Lena St. Clair, in Half and Half, balances all her transactions and money with Harold in order to stabilize an unequal marriage. In the minds of Lena and Harold, their relationship is fair. This is because every penny that one person pays is accounted for, and eventually paid back. However in reality, they are unequal: So really, we’re equals, except that Harold makes about seven times more than what I make (159). The marriage, as a whole, is not balanced. Harold has the power and the income over Lena.
The constant transactions with one enough somewhat evens out the relationship. That is why Lena always insists on paying Harold back: she wants to find balance in some aspect of the relationship; she doesn’t always want to always be inferior. We started seeing each other for working lunches, to talk about the projects, and we would always split the tab right in half, even though I usually ordered only a salad because I have this tendency to gain weight easily.
Later, when we started meeting secretly for dinner, we still divided the bill (155). Because they split the bill, Lena was never in debt to Harold. With this mindset, their marriage would never be tainted, and it would remain pure. However, because Lena usually ordered only a salad, the balance was actually a misconception: she still got the short end of the stick. She still had to pay for part of Harold’s meal, and this trend continued into their marriage. Since Lena is inferior to Harold in terms of power, she makes sure to never have to owe him any money, to allow the relationship to be perceived as balanced, when in reality, it is not.
Tan gives insight about An-Mei Hsu and Lena St. Clair’s two different methods of finding a sense of balance in a confusing world: An-Mei resorts to faith in a higher being and Lena makes sure to never be in debt to her husband. However, neither of the methods are completely flawless; An-Mei faith is deceiving and Lena ends up paying for more than she takes. Do these characters now realize that their need for stability has put them in bad situations, and if so, are they ready to accept that life will always, no matter what they do, be slightly unbalanced?
In The Joy Luck Club
In The Joy Luck Club all the character’s names were: Lina St. Clair, Ying Ying, An Mei, Rose, Waverly, Lindo, Suyuan and Jing Mei (June). The first relationship is between June and Suyuan, June is Suyuan’s daughter, Suyuan recently died 6 months ago, in the film the Joy Luck Club found Suyuan’s daughters that of which she left on the side of the rode during the war and wanted them to repair their relationship.
The next relationship is between Lindo and Waverly, Waverly is Lindo’s daughter, Waverly being generally successful (even when playing chess when younger) and married to Rich. Then there is An Mei and Rose, Rose is An Mei’s daughter, Rose is married to Ted Jordan. Then there is Ying Ying and Lena, Lena is Ying Ying’s daughter, Ying Ying married a cheating man and felt lost she then killed her first child in the bathtub to take the only thing that she had over him. Lena is married to Harold, Harold makes Lena pay for most things that of which she later finds unfair, Lena finds that he doesn’t respect her and she ends up demanding respect.
The relationship that I chose to closely analyse is between Ying Ying and Lena. This relationship is special or stands out to me because of the fact that Ying Ying killed her own child in China to spite the man she loved but grew to hate, as well as because she expects her daughter to demand what she could not. Lena being Ying Ying’s daughter, Ying Ying having married a man that she thought was in love with her and had his kid, soon late found out that he was a disgusting cheating man that had no respect for her.
With hate in Ying Ying’s heart she decided to drown her first baby in order to make her husband feel pain. Ying Ying then left her Chinese husband and came to America where she married Clifford and had her daughter Lena. Clifford speaks fluent english but not chinese and Ying ying speaks fluent chinese but not english so in the movie, it’s found that Clifford often puts words into Ying Ying’s mouth. After losing her child and her marriage though, Ying ying found herself most times lost and an deep dark spells. Ying Ying puts the traits of not speaking up for herself and not demanding respect onto her daughter, Lena.
In Lena’s marriage she is married to a man named Harold, Harold making 7x as much as she does, makes has them go half on everything they buy even things that he buys for her or that he buys only for himself. Ying Ying then explains to Lena that she is lacking a demand for mutual respect in her relationship, the same as she did back in China. Ying Ying wishes for her daughter to take charge for what she wants and needs before it is too late, she wants her to find herself and not to accept anyone who doesn’t accept who she is.
Love between Ying Ying and Lena was expressed by Lena often comforting Ying Ying when she falls into a deep sorrow spell and Ying Ying by explaining her story and that she wants better for her daughter (forcing Lena to break free from her unhappy marriage). In the movie, unlike Waverly and June’s parents, Lena didn’t have her mother push her to do any skill, throughout the movie it even seemed as if Ying Ying began to give up trust in the idea that she could be a good mother to her daughter until she explains her story.
With Lena’s Chinese and American identities she seems to be more intact with her American side, she has an big American style house that Ying Ying addresses as lopsided and her mother doesn’t like the way that her house is set up because of Chinese customs, Lena also accepts the idea of ?fair’ in her relationship before her mother addressed it. Two examples in the movie that reflect these customs is when the Ying Ying went into the room and began to touch things almost tipping over the table, she insults the table and labels it as useless, while Lena calls it a gift. Another example is when Ying Ying was first introduced to Lena’s home and Ying Ying looked unpleased by the style, especially when seeing the list of money, Ying Ying sees it as disrespectful and looks down on it, while Lena accepted it also.
Joy Luck Club Film
In the joy luck club film there were four stories all dealing with different teaching methods different emotions. All the mothers and children had something emotional happen to them. That’s where the diverse parenting styles come in.
The first story would be Ai-Mei and Rose the way Ai-Mei raised rose was that she wanted the best for her. For her not to be treated without respect she wanted her to have dignity, she wasn’t really strict she just always had great advice for rose because when she realized that she was showing the same similarities as her grandmother not knowing her worth but after hearing her grandmother story she finally stood up to her american husband Ted. The second story would be Lindo’s and Waverly.
Lindo was taught to be humble and bite her tongue and hide her thoughts until she feel at a disadvantage she learned this strategy in china while being in a loveless marriage. She later realized her worth so she walked away from her marriage so she wouldn’t disappoint her family. When Lindo later had a child she taught her daughter the same way. Lindo had very strict parenting method she wanted her to be perfect she always wanted the best for her child but waverly felt as though her mother was being to controlling.
The third story would be about Suyuan and June , June takes her mother’s place in the joy luck club after she dies , June is American she grew up different from the rest mostly feeling misunderstood and frustrated with herself because she did not know what she wanted to do as she was growing up. June felt like she went unnoticed for years by her mother because they didn’t connect like the rest of the daughters and their mothers , after a long emotion conversation June began to realize that her Suyuan knew that her daughter was different she just didn’t know how to accept it , knowing her mother’s story helped her realize that they were both stronger than they thought they could ever be. Ying-ying and lena ying-ying married young, it was a happy marriage but it got really bad after they had their baby, her husband would cheat on her he would use the baby. Ying ying felt like he loved the baby more than her so she kills the baby it really hurt but ying ying felt like it would hurt him how he hurt her. She then had a second daughter lena she’s really smart because her mother raised her to know her worth.
The story that stood out to me the most would have to be lindo and waverly story because lindo pushed waverly to do better and always be the best. My mother always tell me i need you to do this that and the third in order to be here at a certain age i always feel pressured even to this day and that’s kinda how me and waverly relate to each other both our parents only worrying about how our failure would affect them pride wise and not looking at it as if we fail on our own and don’t feel bad about it it would only make us want to do better. The value’s that the mother wants to pass on would be in order to do best you have to push yourself none stop, you have to know how to talk to people for you to get far in life.
The love in this story really wasn’t being expressed because lindo really didn’t know how to show it she was always strict and worrying about being controlling waverly felt like her mother didn’t love her. The parenting relationship between the mother and the daughter i would have to say obedience lindo wanted her daughter to always listen to her no matter what. How waverly copes with her american identity is always being first best at everything because that’s how she was raised in society. For example when they were sitting at the dinner table she made a smart remark about how rose paper didn’t sound sophisticated.
The Joy Luck Club is Movie
The Joy Luck Club is Movie based on the novel of the same name. Written by Amy Tan, the book/movie talks about the stories of 4 Asian women and their 4 daughters. It shows the events of the mothers lives that influences their way of parenting and how their parenting styles affect the daughters.
China is a big part of all of their lives, there is also a very clear line between American-Asian life and strictly Asian life. The mothers had hard and challenging lives, which seemed to stem their their strict and aggressive parenting styles however, all of the stories are different.
- 1 Suyuan and June
- 2 Ying Ying and Lena
- 3 An Mei and Rose
- 4 Lindo and Waverly
Suyuan and June
Suyuan and June are the first mother daughter story we see (although the crust of it was explained near the end of the movie). Suyuan was a mother of 2 children that she was forced to abandon after war strikes her village. She then went to American and had another daughter: June. She raised June off of hope, not going too hard on her but still wanting to be a successful mother whilst raising a successful daughter. Suyuan feared letting June down knowing that she had let 2 others down in the past. Suyuan later passes, she never got to know the fate of the 2 daughter she left in china. After her death, June travels to china to meet her 2 long lost sisters.
Ying Ying and Lena
The the third pair are Ying Ying and Lena. As a teenager, Ying Ying found love with a man she loved. They got married and for a while she thought everything was ok, but the man was corrupt. After getting Ying Ying pregnant, the man became unfaithful. He left her multiple days, then returned with another woman. He then proceeded to take her child and then kick her out. Ying Ying left with her baby, and while washing the baby, she was lost in thought and drowned her baby to make him mad. She was emotionally distraught. She then travelled to America, having her second child and first daughter: Lena. Lena had gotten herself into a problematic marriage, her husband was a cheapskate, he only cared about his financial gain and not her. Her mother having experience with problematic men, she told her some good advice. If he doesn’t make you happy, you find something that makes you happy. She left him and found someone who was worth her time.
An Mei and Rose
As a child An Mei mother was disowned by her family, making it so that she wouldn’t see her for a large chunk of her life. When her grandmother is on her deathbed, her mother shows up and proves her Worth to her family. The family is grateful but they still want her gone. An Mei decides to go with her mother and live in the house her mother is living in, as a concubine. An Mei’s mother is ashamed that she has to raise her child in the house like this, she thinks she is not worthy mother. When An Mei travels to America, she has a daughter Rose. When Rose grows up, she meets a man with a somewhat racist family but he loves her dearly. Rose feels as if she must walk on eggshells to please her husband . Her husband grows tired of her, and Rose finds a new husband.
Lindo and Waverly
The most interesting mother and daughter pair are Lindo and Waverly. Lindo was given away to an arranged marriage by her mother at young age. Her mother loved her dearly but she had no choice. Lindo hated living life as a wife, everyone around her, including her husband were disrespectful towards her. Using her wits, she thought of a cunning lie to convince the people in her house to let her go for she wasn’t the who was supposed to be getting married. After her escape, she makes her way to america where her daughter Waverly is born. Waverly growing up was pushed by her mother to do great, just so that her mother could show her off to everyone. Waverly grew tired of her mom’s ways and even became embarrassed. Lindo then let Waverly know that a daughter who doesn’t care for her mother, doesn’t deserve care from her mother.
That would be proven as a very important lesson to Waverly, even as she grows up. Ever since her mother put the fear of disappointment in her mind, Waverly feared letting her mother down when she made future decisions as an adult. Waverly had met a man who she loved dearly, but was afraid that her mother wouldn’t approve. He did things that weren’t normal in a Chinese Society, some of them might have made her mother upset. After an emotional conversation at a hair salon, Lindo and Waverly both came to the conclusion that although they may seem pushy or strict with each other, at the end of the day they still love each other dearly. their relationship throughout the movie is more a realistic interpretation of Chinese parenting Style: Pushing your child not because you feel like being mean, but because you love them and want the best for them.
Waverly was no stranger to American Life, having live there her whole life and married a white man, But she also hangs on to her strict way of life that she learned from her mom. This is evident when she sees her husband doing abnormal things during dinner, and although she doesn’t say anything, she has learned what is right and what is wrong from her Chinese mother. Two examples of Chinese Traditional beliefs are the idea of: not being ashamed of your parents and do your best no matter how you feel.
The Joy Luck Club
The Joy Luck Club, a New York Times bestseller, had an array of stories all telling the struggles of Chinese-American life. The story starts off with the mention of the actual Joy Luck Club. Jing-Mei Woo, is asked by her father to take the place of her mother, Suyuan Woo, in this club, after her passing.
Because of her passing, Jing-Mei, also known as June, recalls her mothers past experiences unlike the other moms. There are three other moms, each with their own daughter who also voice their life in the story; An-Mei Hsu, mother to Rose Hsu Jordan, Lindo Jong, mother to Waverly Jong, and Ying-ying St. Clair, mother to Lena St. Clair.
The only thing that connects these people, is the Joy Luck Club. A major conflict throughout all of these is the loss of culture when their parents immigrate. Rose looks back words her mom had once said: Back home, I thought about what she said [These] were words I had never thought about in English terms. I suppose the closest in meaning would be ?confused’ and ?dark fog.’ But really, the words mean much more than that. Maybe they can’t be easily translated because they refer to a sensation that only Chinese people have (Tan 210). The only solution for these girls were to start thinking about their parents and background before it was too late: She learned these things How not to show your own thoughts, to put your feelings behind your face so you can take advantage of hidden opportunitiesWhy Chinese thinking is best (Tan 289).
June Woo remembers the very beginning of her childhood when her mother insisted she could be a prodigy, just like her friend’s daughter Waverly. She was forced into piano lessons but soon realized her teacher was deaf, and she need not to practice. She had later embarrassed herself in front of everyone after thinking she could magically play it with no practice, ruining her self-esteem from a young age. Later she tells of how she has a failing career and has been evicted from her own home. Waverly, is eager to point this out at a dinner she looks back on. Her mother supportive though, tells her not to listen to her and that June still has much to accomplish. Years later, she tells of the story of her mother having to leave her home and her twin babies behind because of WW2. After years of searching, the daughters finally get a chance to right back, yet it is too late to meet their mother. Instead, they meet June and her father, finally accomplishing her mothers wish.
Waverly the supposed successful daughter, tells of her times as a prodigy. She says how she loved to play chess and won every match. Her mother loved to show her off and pretend she taught her how to play. This angered Waverly because her mother knew nothing of the sort. She later stopped trying and quit because of this very fact. After many years pass, she introduces her second husband Rich. She believes that her mother poisoned her first marriage, and is fearful she will do the same with Rich. She tries to bring the two together by having him come for dinner, yet he makes many mistakes making Waverly lose hope. She goes to tell her mother this the next day, but sees her mother sleeping so peacefully and begins to cry. Her mother awakes to this assuring her she does not hate Rich. Waverly starts to feel as if she has misunderstood her mother her whole life and now wishes to rejoice.
Lindo’s story is a much harder one to read. She had an arranged marriage set up by the time she turned only two. When she was twelve, her family had a flood and she was to move in with her soon-to-be husband. She was married at sixteen after being treated as a servant for the four years she lived there. Her marriage ceremony required a red candle that had each ones’ name on either end to burn all night. Even though she tried to blow it out, its ashes were still shown the next day, sealing the marriage. However, Lindo is determined to leave. She tells the mother her ancestors have come and warned her if they stay in the marriage her son will die. After this she was released and she moved to America. After her immigration, she worked in a fortune cookie factory where she met another member of the Joy Luck Club, An-Mei, who also introduced her to her future husband.
An-Mei grew up without her mother for four years. Her mother left the family to be one of the many wives in an old rich man’s mansion. Her mother used to be higher up in the ranking of wives, but had since declined by the time An-Mei had come to live with her. While she was treated well, she could tell her mother was always sad, desperate to get back the attention she wanted. She had soon given up on this dream and told An-Mei she was to kill her spirit to give it to her. Her mother committed suicide the next day and left her daughter to live a better life than she. After this she too immigrated to America.
Her daughter, Rose, speaks on how her mother had once been religious. But after a tragic event, one of her sons getting washed away at the beach once, she now used her bible to keep her coffee table stable. While each family member blamed themselves for the death of the son, Rose felt most at fault because she had seen him climbing the rocks and had done nothing, just watched. This story is related back to her current failing marriage. Ted had once made all the decisions, which Rose loved. Yet after he had a work problem, he made her start thinking about things and when she could not make all the choices he wanted, he called for divorce. After getting the divorce papers sent to her, Rose tells Ted that she refuses to sign those papers until she gets the house. She finally feels in charge and feels bad at not listening to her mothers’ advice to stand up for herself.
Another daughter that falls to a failed marriage is the last one, Lena. Her childhood consisted of her being the translator between her mother and father. They lived in an apartment with noisy neighbors and a steep hill on the way there. Her mother had a way of sensing things before they came. When her mother became pregnant again, she had seen that the baby boy would soon die, and he did. This alluded to the present of when her mother comes to visit. She sees a list that Lena and her husband left on the table, a list of all expenses. They keep track of everything and are to split everything equally, even though her husband is making seven times more than her. Her mother disapproves of this but doesn’t make a fuss. Later that night her mother had accidentally knocked a vase over. When Lena went to clean it she tells her mother not to worry, that she expected it to happen. To which her mother questions, why she did nothing to prevent it, just as she had done nothing to prevent her failing marriage.
Ying-ying the last of the mothers, also had a tragic childhood story. While she was only six, she had fallen off a boat and her family had not known. Some fisherman on a boat behind her family’s had accidentally picked her up, and left her on shore in hopes her family would come back for her. At the age of sixteen she is set up for an arranged marriage, but luckily feels love for him. However, he did not. After she had already started carrying his son he had left her, and she hated him so much she aborted this son. She became depressed and working at a very easy job. There she met her now husband, and they had gotten married four years after meeting. Although she feels she has let down her own daughter, for having such a weal spirit like her. Trying to change her ways Ying-ying can already see the signs of her daughters failing marriage that her daughter cannot.
An important theme throughout all these ladies is the importance of your cultural heritage. Every mother in the novel worries about their daughters losing the important part of themselves. And every daughter believes that the part of themselves the mothers want to keep, isn’t worth it. ?What will I say? What can I tell them about my mother? I don’t know anything’ The aunties are looking at me as if I had become crazy right before their eyesAnd then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorantThey see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese . . . who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from generation to generation (Tan 31). After they all come to a realization at some point in their lives, they realize not only should they keep this part of them, but that it is the most important part of them.
Another theme in this novel is the power of storytelling. Each four sections of the book begin with a parable that have to do with a theme in the upcoming four stories. Even within those four stories almost every one includes a Chinese myth or superstition that is meant to teach something valuable in their life. In the story Magpie An-Mei tells of a story her mother had told her. Her mother asked her, ‘An-Meihave you seen the little turtle that lives in the pond?’ Her mother tells her how she has always known that turtle as well, and had once come to the pond to cry to him. The turtle told her ?I have eaten your tears, and this is why I know your misery’ for which the turtle warns her if she always cries her life will always be sad. Birds then drank from the water and flew in her face for the turtle to reply ?Your tears do not wash away your sorrows. They feed someone else’s joy’ (Tan 244).
This story was to teach her daughter that she must swallow her tears in order to not feel sorry for herself all the time. For which her daughter abided to most of her life, as the story was intended for.
This story could be connected through the characters of the mothers, to the main character of the story, A Lesson Before Dying. In, A Lesson Before Dying, the main character Grant, goes through some hardships. He grew up black in a southern town in the 1920’s and faced discrimination. Not only that but he was told to go help a man on death row feel human again. He did all he could to get this man everything he could to have a good rest of his life and tell him stories of the townspeople. This reminds me somewhat of the mothers in The Joy Luck Club, considering all of them raised their daughters to have a better life than them. They told them stories of their past lives, as Grant did with the townspeople, to try to help their daughters learn things. They also did everything they could to get them the education and proper things they need to continue in the American life.
Amy Tan Questions
Parents are often the entry gate to a child’s opinion of themselves and their culture. In the United States, most people find themselves relating to the mainstream, Anglo-American cultural ideals. This leads to what many experts call a ?culture clash’, often experienced by first-generation members of immigrant families.
In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan questions the reasons for the difficulty of acceptance and practice of one’s culture while immersed in a societal climate that holds different values. Tan offers insight through this story of four Chinese immigrants, elaborating upon their difficulties in understanding the differences in the mainstream American culture, which in turn reveals the difficulty of immigrant parents’ ability to understand their children, leading to the alienation of their daughters to traditional Chinese culture.
Culture is defined as the behaviors and values accepted by a group of people that are passed down from generation to generation, usually through communication and imitation. It is a parent’s job to pass their culture down to their children, but there is a difficulty that arises when the family culture does not match the mainstream societal culture. In The Joy Luck Club, the Chinese culture embraced by the mothers differs greatly from the Anglo-American culture that they are forced to conform to. Lindo Jong, one of the Chinese mothers says, In America, nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you (Tan 254). This is very different from the way she was raised, where her circumstances were permanent and determined her character and future.
To Lindo, the best combination seemed to be American circumstances and Chinese character, but she soon learns that the two cannot coexist (Tan 254). She is unable to teach her daughter, Waverly, to listen to her mother, while at the same time the American culture tells her to listen only to herself. Lindo cannot understand, and therefore a divide occurs between mother and daughter. It is impossible for Lindo to understand her daughter’s culture, and it is impossible for her Waverly to understand her mother’s culture. Because of the different social environments of their youths, a culture clash between the two arises.
As Chiu writes, when the culture of a parent does not match the culture of the law the law will typically emerge victorious, and this is exactly what happens in the case of the Jongs (Chiu 1793). American culture that Waverly is immersed in daily takes precedence over a culture that she only ever sees from her family. The American ideals take precedence over cultural values in first-generation children, as they desire to become more like the people around them and fit in.
Asian-Americans make up 5.6% of the American population, and most identify themselves by more specific labels, such as Chinese-American, Korean-American, and Indian-American. They cite themselves as these smaller groups because they call upon a much richer history than that of Asian-Americans. Despite this, it is a common phenomenon for Asian-American children to cast off their culture because it clashes with the societal majority’s ideals. Culture clash leads to the alienation of first-generation Asian-American children.
Because of the difference in Eastern and Western culture, parents of first-generation American children generally have trouble understanding the differences between the world that they grew up in and the world that their children are growing up in. Compounded with the difference in technology, many first-generation children become alienated from their parents, especially once they reach schooling age. In these children’s lives, friends become a larger influence upon culture because of the children’s desire to fit in; they see their parents as strangers in a foreign land, and it is their job to fit in and become truly American.
This can be showcased in a scene in which Waverly Jong is upset that she will not be mistaken for a local in China. Lindo states, she followed my Chinese ways only until she learned how to walk out the door by herself and go to school, after that, American friends taught her to be American, and she lost her cultural identity (Tan 253). Ricky Yean writes that he stopped trying to talk for two years until [he] developed enough fluency to sound just like any ordinary Asian-American kid from Los Angeles (Yean). This cultural erasure continues to happen today, despite cultural pride being thrown to the forefront of the American media.
Tan also writes about this through Jing-Mei Woo’s statement that it’s even becoming fashionable for American-born Chinese to use their Chinese names (Tan 37). Unfortunately, culture not accepted by the mainstream society of a place, even one as diverse as America, is destroyed through the desire of first-generation children to be more like those around them. Even now, with Asian media rising to take a place in the general public’s eyes (to cite a few examples, BTS, Crazy Rich Asians, and the popularization of Japanese Manga) Asian-Americans are still tentative about embracing their culture because it contrasts so drastically with the mainstream American culture.
It Cannot Be Broken
So the Taiyuanese mother continued to choose their daughters-in-law, ones who would raise proper sons, care for the old people, and faithfully sweep the family burial grounds long after the old ladies had gone to their graves (Tan, Joy Luck Club, 51). It was only the mothers of the males that were the ones to go and find the girls who their sons marry and spend the rest of their lives with. These choices were very important since the son’s wife would be the one to take care of the family matriarch in her old age, not the sons.
Lindo knew she was getting a bad husband, but she had no choice.
That is how backward families in the country were (Tan, Joy Luck Club, 51). Lindo did not agree with what was happening; she did not like how the customs went unchanged and women could still not choose their own husbands. We have made a contract. It cannot be broken (Tan, Joy Luck Club, 52), was the attitude. Even if the girl wanted to get out of her marriage, she was not able to because of the contract her family had signed saying their children would be married to each other. The contract was not allowed to be broken.
The dowry was included in the marriage contract. All the heavy furniture and bedding has to be left behind, and these were promised to the Huangs as my dowry (Tan, Joy Luck Club, 53). A dowry needed to be provided from the girl’s family to make her more attractive and worthy of marrying. This was the first time I realized the Huangs had a much better position than my family. They looked down on us which made me understand why Huang Taitai and Tyan-yu had such long noses (Tan, Joy Luck Club, 54).
Lindo will be lifted up in social standings because the family she was marrying into had a higher social standing. The Huang family looked down on Lindo’s family because they were from a lower class. Lindo’s family could not refuse the marriage offer because they wanted their daughter to have a higher standing and there may not be another chance. Before Lindo was married, she moved into the Huang house and was put to work right away. She did what she was told because she did not want to disgrace her family and she had made a promise to her parents that she did not want to break.
Joy Luck Club Is One Of The Most Heartfelt Stories
Joy Luck Club is one of the most heartfelt stories i have ever encountered since the movie the Color Purple. The elongated and explorative stories in Joy Luck Club have you loose and gain faith in humanity. The JLC (Joy Luck Club) starts off with the death of Suyuan Woo.
Suyuan Woo a Chinese Born mother to three dies without going back to China and reuniting with her Two Children who were left because of Wartime stress and Dysentery. Suyuan’s American born daughter June semi takes her place in the official Joy Luck Club a band of four women including Suyaun now June.
The rest of the club members in the Joy Luck Club have similar traumatic experiences in China that shape them into the women they are today. Lindo Jong, AnMei Hsu, and Ying Ying St. Clair are the other women in the Joy Luck Club.
Lindo Jong. Lindo at a young age was prepared at the age of 15 to live in a woman’s house, and fulfil a guarantee to have many children with a young boy. Lindo was given up and sent to this house treated unfairly and like garbage until she made a scene that would change her life.
Screaming that the ancestors forbid the marriage and made a baby in the maids belly she escaped her prison and got a rail ticket to Shanghai. Lindo Jongs daughter Waverly Jong chess champion had confidence like no other. Welding this power in chess she became a life magazine front cover. Lindo basking in this glory flaunts her daughter as if she were in her daughters place. Lindo using Waverly as a showboat. Quitting chess because of it Waverly decrees it, but her mother takes no notice. Waverly after months decides to return to chess but does not make a successful comeback. Seeing the self inflicting burden she never played again. Marrying a Chinese man to please her mother she never did, having a baby then divorcing. After this Waverly dated Richard a white man. Lindo silently expressing doubts disapproves Richard.
- 1 Ying Ying
- 2 An Mei
16 year old Ying ying wooed by playboy Lin Xiao becomes pregnant with his child. Showing his true colors after the baby Lin Xiao because intimate with a opera singer and many other women destroying his domestic relationship with Ying ying. Ying ying Traumatized by the age of 16 drowns her baby because of overwhelming sorrow. Moving to America she was terminally Traumatized by the death if her baby effecting her second child, Lena. Lena with no sense of drive repeats her mothers mistake of having no backbone and no spirit. Living in a emotionally draining household and married to a man who anally splits everything she has an intervention. In a late night arguement Lena argues what there marriage is truly based on. Ying ying spotting the same signs of her relationship initiates the separation. As she calls hiding in the trees and cutting her spirit loose.
Lena divorces and dates again.
An mei burned from a bowl of soup has never known her mother, accused of breaking vows. One day her mother returned to do the most honorable sacrifice. An meis grandma dying drinks her daughters blood in order to heal her terminal sickness. An mei witnessing her mother for the first time loses her grandmother, Only the most dutiful daughter cut there flesh for their dying mother to save her life. Decided to move with her mother An Mei leaves her aunts and uncle. Rose An Meis daughter like her mother doesn’t know her worth. Meeting her new boyfriends parents Rose is confronted with racial derogatory language from the mother. Ted confronting the problem shows how much he loves her.
Ted and Rose get married and buy a house. The weight of marriage sinks in to Rose and in a desperate unintentional measure Rose can’t stand up for herself nor have an opinion. Having self worth issues it drags the marriage down to the ground nearing divorce An Mei tells the story of heartbreak and the reason her mother was treated as garbage. 8-9 year old An Mei learns her mother was raped by Wu Tsing (pimp) and kept hostage holding his child, not able to go anywhere or do anything.
The child ultimately was stolen from her and 1st wife owns him. Surprised of this An mei’s mother kills herself and flies through the pearly gates of overdose with the strategic role of helping her daughter An mei and her son. Flying through the Pearly gates with the biggest F*cking vengeance chip An Mei wreaks havoc on those who have done wrong to her and her brother. F*cking everything up she gets the respect her and her brother deserve and the first wife backs off for good.