The Joy Luck Club: Novel Review

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The Joy Luck Club retold the lives of four women who came from China and their four Americanized daughters. The protagonist, Jing Mei Woo (June) took over her mother's place at the meetings of a social group called the Joy Luck Club. As its members play mah jong and feast on Chinese delicacies, friends of Jing Mei's mother spin stories about the past and lament the barriers that exist between their daughter and themselves. In this paper, I will discuss briefly on cultural studies and the Chinese Immigrant Experience and Individual Identity that is very evident in this novel. CONCEPTUAL THEORY

According to Rivkin and Ryan (1998), the word ‘culture' acquired a new meaning in the 1960s and 1970s. Prior to that time, ‘culture' was associated with art, literature, and classical music. To have ‘culture' was to possess a certain taste for particular kinds of artistic endeavor. Anthropologists have always used the word ‘culture' in much broader sense to mean forms of life and of social expression. The way people behave while eating, talking to each other, becoming sexual partners, interacting at work, engaging in ritualized social behaviour such as family gatherings, and the like constitute a culture. This broad definition of the term includes language and the arts, but it also includes the regularities, procedures, and rituals of human life in communities. What is ‘Cultural Studies'? It is hard to define cultural studies mostly because the word ‘culture' is notoriously hard to pin down, according to cultural critic Raymond Williams. Cultural studies is not a discrete approach but rather a set of practices. Patrick Brantlinger points out, cultural studies is not "a tightly coherent, unified movement with fixed agenda," but a "loosely coherent group of tendencies, issues, and question". Arising amidst the turmoils of the 1960s, cultural studies is composed of elements of Marxism, new historicism, feminism, gender studies, anthropology, studies of race and...
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