Joy Luck Club

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Society’s Influence on Cultures

Filial piety is a now customary concept brought to the Chinese culture from the teachings of Confucius. Confucius in the Xiao Jing stresses the idea where it explains the crucial demand of respect for elders by the adolescent. In the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, she explains an array of situations all based on the relationship between mothers and their daughters. The common pattern in all of the stories is the struggle the daughters have accepting the traditional Chinese customs. The mothers lived in China and migrated to the Americas where their children have grown up. Although the mothers raised their daughters with Chinese manners and traditions, the daughters all struggle to live up to their mother’s expectations because of the modern society in which they live.

The Xiao Jing stresses the importance of impressing your parents by becoming successful at what you do. It states "When we have established our character by the practice of this (filial) course to make our name famous in future ages and thereby glorify our parents, this is filial piety" (Xiao Jing pg.1). The Xiao Jing explains that it is necessary to become successful and to impress your parents at that trade and not disgrace your family name. In the Joy Luck Club Waverly is the youngest daughter of Lindo and Tin Jong. At an early age, Waverly found success at chess, winning tournaments as a young girl. Waverly says that her mother, Lindo, taught her the power of invisible strength, which she believes helped her become so successful at chess. Wavery learned of the game from her two brothers Winston and Vincent, who she bribed to let her play with two lifesavers. Soon the boys became bored with the game but Waverly continued to play with an old man in the park, Lao Pao. Lao Pao taught Waverly different things that she was unaware of about the game. Since Waverly was such a successful chess player at such a young age, at nine becoming national champion, she attracted attention from people in her town. Lindo became so proud of Waverly's successes that she would bring Waverly with her to the stores, trying to show off her daughter to everyone. Waverly began to become more and more embarrassed by her mother and one day while traveling with her to the markets, she shouted at her mother and stormed off and went to her room. Lindo was appalled by her daughter’s actions because it is unlike the way the daughter should treat her mother in Chinese customs. After Waverly had run away from her mother, when returning home, she hears her mother say to the rest of her family "'We are not concerning this girl. This girl not have concerning for us.'" (100). The family did not even acknowledge Waverly when she walked in so she went to her room and imagined a game where her opponent was her mother.

When Jing Mei's mother, Suyan Woo, died, her father asks Jing Mei to take her spot in the Joy Luck Club. Suyan was the founder of the joy luck club in San Francisco after leaving China with her husband. Jing Mei thought that she was not suited for the place of her mother in the club but because her father asked this of her, she couldn't refuse. Jing Mei says "I am to replace my mother, whose seat at the mah jong table has been empty since she died two months ago" (19). When she gets to the meeting with the other club members she feels a sense of emptiness where her mother used to sit, and where she now sits. When arriving she politely asks one of her Aunties if we are going to play mah jong and asks if she may leave. The Aunties tell her that she must stay because they have very important news for her. They tell Jing Mei about her sisters that her mother had to leave behind in China. Suyan Woo had found her daughters and had plans on visiting her but couldn't because of her sudden death. The Aunties give Jing Mei 1,200 dollars, the winning from al the mah jong games, that they expect Jing Mei to use for her trip to China to...
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