the novel, The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, it tells of four Chinese women drawn
together in San Francisco to play mah jong, and tell stories of the past.
These four women and their families all lived in Chinatown and belong to the
First Chinese Baptist Church. They were not necessarily religious, but found
could improve their home China. This is how the woo's, the Hsu's, the Jong's
and the St Clair's met in 1949.
The first member of the Joy Luck Club to
die was Suyuan Woo. Her daughter, Jing-mei "June" Woo, is asked to sit in
and take her mother's place at playing mah jong. Memories of the past are
shared by the three women left, An-mei Hsu, Lindo Jong and Ying-ying St Clair.
June Woo learns of the real secret her mother carried to her grave from her
mother's friends. The twin baby girls, her half sisters, Suyuan pushed in
a Wheelbarrow as she escaped from the Japanese. Due to sickness, Suyuan can
no longer carry her babies, and is forced to leave them on the side of the
road. She lives her whole life not knowing if they are alive or dead.
the book, the Woo's left for America to build a better life for themselves.
Suyuan Woo wanted to have a daughter like herself, and no one would look down
on her. It was important that she speak perfect English and hopefully not
share in the same tragedies and sorrows she had known.
The movie brought
this concept out very vividly. You were able to imagine the time and place
and the emotions of the characters. Their anger in the early years, how women
and children were treated as possessions.
The book spoke of Rose Hsu Jordan,
daughter of An-mei Hsu, who had seven brothers and sisters. A very tragic
time in her life when her brother Bing drowns at age 1 while she was in charge
of watching him.
The movie does not touch upon this tragic event and brings
out the rich family Rose marries into, and the instant rejection from her boyfriends
mother. Rose unhappiness in her marriage with Tod, is similar to the unhappiness
her mother had throughout her life.
Lindo Jong was a special character in
the book , referring to promises she made to her mother as a young girl, and
keeping them throughout her life. She was actually abandoned by her family
and Lindo was sent to live with her future husband's family. She never complained
because she would never dishonor her mother.
The movie did an excellent job
of showing us the culture during that time in China and how the matchmaker
arranged the marriages at an early age. She is a very smart girl and figures
out how she could get out of this marriage and still keep her promise to her
mother. She puts the blame on the matchmaker and is released from the marriage.
speaking of strong characters in the book, one would have to include Waverly
Jong, daughter of Lindo Jong. She was a bright child who became a famous chess
player, which made her mother very proud.
The movie brought out her unhappiness
in her life and the unhappy relationship with her mother. The two shared similar
fcars even though they lived in different countries and different times.
St Clair, according to the book, was married at an early age and referred to
her husband as a "bad" man. In fact she tried so hard to forget him she forgets
his name. She tells of taking her baby before it was born because of the hate
she has for her husband.
The movie tells the story a little different in reference
to her baby. After her husband comes home with his mistress and causes her
shame, she drowns her tiny infant while bathing him. A tragic and emotional
part in the movie.
Lena St Clair, daughter of Lindo St Clair, may not have
had such a tragic relationship with her husband as did her mother; but she
was unable to find happiness in her marriage. The book and movie were...