"Double Face" Analysis from the Joy Luck Club

Topics: Traditional Chinese characters, Face, Faces Pages: 2 (544 words) Published: October 24, 2008
In "Double Face" of The Joy Luck Club, Lindo Jong recounts her journey coming into America as she sits in Waverly's hairstylist, Mr. Rory's, chair, preparing for Waverly's second wedding. The symbolism surrounding Waverly and her mother's conversation through the salon mirror subtly imply an underlying theme of a lack of communication.

Waverly and her mother seem to be talking in different worlds as both daughter mother struggle to understand each other's culture. For example, Lindo tells Waverly that the people in China "already know that [she] is an outsider," which confuses Waverly, because the Americanized Waverly cannot understand Lindo's Chinese metaphors. Afterwards, as Waverly and her mother meet for coffee, Waverly remarks to Lindo that she "is her own person", only to have Lindo question herself about "when [she has] given [Waverly] up;" due to Lindo's lack of understanding of "Americanisms", Waverly's comment confuses Lindo. Later, Waverly and Lindo speak through the "mirror" at the salon to each other's "reflections". Since speaking through mirrors is an "American custom," Lindo, a traditional Chinese woman who is accustomed to the custom of speaking directly to her elders, finds this strange.

While at Mr. Rory's salon, Waverly shows a complete lack of respect for her mother. For example, Waverly openly criticizes her mother's head, as if Lindo "was not there," clearly disregarding her mother's existence. Then, Waverly speaks to Lindo in a loud voice, as if Lindo has "lost her hearing," condescendingly to her own mother. Furthermore, when Mr. Rory tells Waverly how much she and Lindo look alike, Waverly's "eyes and smile... narrow... [like] a cat... before it bites," as if Waverly is disgusted for resembling her mother. Waverly's incomplete understanding of Lindo as a "backwards old woman" who cannot understand American customs, makes her ashamed.

Due to a lack of understanding, Lindo and Waverly must change themselves using double faces for...
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