Suyuan and Jing-Mei’s Relationship in the Joy Luck Club

Topics: China, Ku Klux Klan, Culture Pages: 2 (875 words) Published: March 21, 2013
Suyuan and Jing-Mei’s relationship in The Joy Luck Club
In The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Jing-Mei and her mother have a very rocky relationship. Tan develops a relationship between Suyuan and Jing-Mei that is distant in the beginning due to culture differences and miscommunication, but gradually strengthens with time and understanding. Both of them have different backgrounds and have been influenced by two different cultures. Suyuan grew up in China and behaves according to the Chinese culture and her American-born daughter Jing-Mei is influenced by the American culture that surrounds her and wants to become part of it.  Their relationship is also shaped by the pressure Suyuan puts on Jing-Mei. She wants her to be a perfect Chinese daughter. She expects her daughter to be smart, talented, and a respectful Chinese daughter. After Suyuan immigrates to America from China, she remarries and gives birth to a daughter, who she names Jing-Mei. Because Jing-Mei was born in America and therefore grew up in a different atmosphere, culture, and environment, the relationship between mother and daughter is tense. Suyuan Woo would continuously educate Jing-Mei in the Chinese culture; however, Jing-Mei did not care about this part of her background. When she was younger, and her mother would tell her about the Joy Luck club, she, “imagined Joy Luck was a shameful Chinese custom, like the secret gathering of the Ku Klux Klan or the tom-tom dances of TV Indians preparing for war,” (Tan, 28). She did not understand the Chinese tradition and did not care learning about it. Suyuan wanted her daughter to live like an American, but at the same time think like a Chinese. Jing-Mei felt humiliated with her mother’s Chinese behaviors, causing their relationship to be more distant. They did not understand one other’s cultural differences. However, this part of their relationship changes when Jing-Mei goes to China to see her half-sisters. After her mother passes...
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