The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Topics: Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club, China Pages: 2 (549 words) Published: September 11, 2012
The Joy Luck Club’ is a touching, inspiring, and artfully crafted story of four mother-daughter relationships that endure not only a generation gap, but the more unbridgeable gap between Chinese and American cultures. Amy Tan represented herself as Jing-Mei Woo in the novel. Her parents are both Chinese immigrants who raised her as a American. In her early teens, she learned that her mother had been married before in China. Just like Suyuan, Amy’s mother fled China, leaving behind her daughters. Amy and her mother argued about her college and career plans, like Suyuan wanting Jing-Mei to be a genius; in Amy’s case, to be a doctor. When her mother had a serious illness, Amy promised her that they will go to China if she recovered. After her mother returned to health, they went to China where Amy’s mother was reunited with her daughters and Amy met her half-sisters. This trip provided Amy a new perspective on her mother. ‘The Joy Luck Club’ is clearly a tribute to inter-generational and intercultural connections. Much of the novel occurs in the form of flashbacks although it is set primarily in modern-day San Francisco’s Chinatown. The novel is divided into four parts, each of which has four chapters much like the arrangement of the seats at the Mah Jong table. Each chapter is dedicated to the view of a mother or a daughter. Each mother-daughter pair struggles with cultural and generational differences. The daughters tend to see their mothers as old-fashioned, over-bearing, out of touch, and even threatening. In turn, the mothers are exasperated over their daughters’ lack of understanding of Chinese culture as well as their attitudes towards their jobs. The mothers wanted to raise their children as Americans with Chinese culture. It is evident that the mothers find it hard to keep their daughters’ Chinese heritage because they are already Americanized. The mothers approach their daughters as they do the game of Mah Jong; they know that the best strategy is to make...
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