Based on a book of the same name published by Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club tells the stories of four Chinese women and their daughters who were raised in America. While the film focuses a great deal on the relationships between the mothers and daughters and how their stories intertwine, as well as the history of each person and the trials they went through both in China and America, it also showcases some Chinese cultural and religious beliefs. Religion, folktales, culture, and superstition were all prevalent in much of the daily lives of the women, shaping how they interacted with and raised their individual children as well as how they viewed themselves. In this paper, I will be focusing on how the different beliefs and customs were displayed in the film and how their lives were formed around and changes by them.
Some of the major stylistic elements of the movie were the presence of jade jewelry on most of the women and the bright red color that was frequently worn on clothes or decorating rooms. Red stands as a symbol of fortune and joy in China, and is fitting for The Joy Luck Club, and reflects the ingrained superstition in the society. Jade in Chinese culture has a long history dating back to 5000 B.C. Confucius claimed that there are eleven virtues in jade, and that “The wise have likened jade to virtue. For them, its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity; its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence; its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice; the pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music. Its color represents loyalty; its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity; its iridescent brightness represents heaven; its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth. Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity. The price that the entire world attaches...
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