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Joy Luck Club analysis

By nandos963 Oct 10, 2013 1047 Words
Joy Luck Club - Analysis
About the Author
- What I believe my books are about is relationships and family. Approaching the Text
-It is easy to see that The Joy Luck Club began as a series of short stories which Tan has collected and integrated to form a novel because of the elements and qualities that its four sections and various sub-sections have in common. -The most obvious of these are considerations of Chinese American life, the interaction (often troubled) of relationships with men (fathers and lovers) -Issues of belonging

-The interaction between two cultures (two different languages) speak, and thereby, shapes the relationships with others. -The novel is both biographical and auto-biographical based on the experiences of Daisy and Amy Tan and of the other women the writer has known and whose stories have captured her. -Also a social and historical document, drawing upon the turbulent events in the history of China in the earlier 20th century, located in well-defined places and situations. -More than biography and autobiography, a social and historical study, or even a sequence of narratives. Feathers from a Thousand Li Away

- The story of the swan introduces the tone of regret which underlies the several stories of dispossession and failure of belonging both culturally and in relationships. -Irony to the title too - there is little joy in these narratives and much depends on fate which is more than not unlucky in its effects on humans - The old woman's desire to tell her story when she could so 'in perfect American English' also brings into focus Tan's close concentration on different levels of language in the novel. -The mother's sense of her inadequacy, is contrasted with a daughter who was "swallowing more Coca Cola than sorrow." -Jing-Mei Woo both opens and closes the novel making her its most important narrator. -In the midst of war and disease Jing-Mei's mother founded the original Joy Luck Club, establishing fellowship and belonging amongst members. -The treatment of animals if a motif worth tracing such as the disregard for their feelings (such as being boiled alive). -The Joy Luck Club is a celebration of tale and imaginative yarn - spinning , especially as a way of coping with life's problems and bonding with others who are the stories audience. -The final version of the story is the true one as Jing-Mei's mother reveals that she had been married before in China and had children by her first husband. -Cooking and eating provide an important, recurring theme in the book, registering the otherness of Chinese culture and, as the Western characters respond to Chinese food, their understanding or alienation is brought into focus. - Like language, cuisine is essential to a sense of belonging in one's community. Jing Mei can make a morsel of food seem distinctively unattractive, her description matching her own sense of discomfort amongst the older generation at her first club night. She would rather not belong to the world of this ritual. "She is stuffing wonton." - Much of the purpose of "The Joy Luck Club" is to explore how such understanding - of belonging to one other, in relationship's is attained and to urge its necessity. - The men and women play in different rooms at different tables. This represents the divisions between sexes just as the difficulties Jing-Mei experiences with the women, her mother's friend, stand for the tension between the generations. -Jing - Mei "My mother and I spoke two different languages... I talked to her in English, she answered back in Chinese. Mothers, Daughters and Belonging

-The bond between the women is also affirmed in the recollections of Jing-Mei's mother friendship with Auntie Lin - "the best friends and arch enemies." -The night closes in generosity as the club women present Jing-Mei with a cheque to enable her to travel to China to see her half sisters - familial belonging. -Jing-Mei will need to undertake the journey to discover her mother. -Relationships between mother's and daughters provides the focus of the narrative. - "My grandmother told me my mother was a ghost."

- Vivid smiles give the stories within the narratives a startling immediacy, such as that of a "bad girl" who shook her head so vigorously in denials of her aunt's request that her brains poured out of ear "as clear as chicken broth." -An-Mei's disgraced mother visit her but is a nightmare that ends in a painful scar from the boiling soup which is symbolic of the separation of mother and daughter and their failure to belong with each other. -The wound heals as An-Mei's memory of her mother fades.

-A final image of her mother at her own deathbed, lacerating herself according to ancient tradition to save her spirit. It is another symbol of the pain of the relationship between mother and daughter. Men, Women and Belonging

-Lindo Jong a story of a doomed arranged marriage very different from the American romantic ideal. -Although her family lives on a hilled called "Three Steps to Heaven," it is actually "just centuries of hardened layers of mud." -Describing once more the disjunction between fancy and reality, is typical of Tan's humour in the novel. The landscape that Lindo describes mirrors the depression her spirit, flooded plains and roads, "filled with giant potholes." -Her intended husband acts "like a big warlord."

-Comparison made between Chinese and American ways of life.
-Like those ladies you see on American TV, the ones who are happy they washed a stain so the clothes look better than new. -Women belonging to men - "I could see what was inside me." -The need both to discover oneself, to reveal oneself to others. Achieve selfhood after liberalisation from negative. -She attends the Moon Festival. Preparation that her amah inflicts upon her are almost brutal. -Happiness and pain are almost misled, belonging to a culture and fulfilling its expectations are scrutinised. For all her criticisms of the early Chinese lives of her speakers, Tan rejoices in the rituals of that society. -Ying-ying watches the cruel spectacle of a bird, desperate with hunger but with a ring around its neck so it could not swallow being use to catch fish for some boys and the decapitation of a turtle "whuck-off fell its head." The onomatopoeia

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