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Things Fall Apart, Joy Luck Club Comparison Essay

By flaffl Apr 13, 2008 677 Words
Parent-Child Relationships
Parents strive to do what is best for their children, but sometimes the children want to go their own ways and pursue their interests. Throughout the books Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, the reader will find that all of the parent’s characters in both books want what is best for their children. Although father-son and mother-daughter relationships differ greatly, both parent genders still want what is best for their children and will try with utmost perseverance and passion to do so. It seems that the closer of a relationship there between the parents in the book has a direct connection between how much they understand their children’s intentions. Okonkwo does not have any true closeness towards Nwoye, therefore Nwoye decides to contravene his father’s wishes, and join the Christian religion. Children who don’t seem too fond of their parents, don’t really care what their parents think about any situation. This example is supported by the relationship’s distance between Nwoye and Okonkwo, seeing that Okonkwo beats Nwoye constantly and therefore creating that disturbance in their relationship. Nwoye did exactly what Okonkwo didn’t desire, by joining the Christian religion. Achebe shows that when there is a direct correlation between the intentions of the child and the parent-child relationship. The Joy Luck Club demonstrates this when Jing Mei thinks this…

“…What will I say? What can I tell them about my mother? I don’t know anything…”

Jing Mei’s mother, Suyuan told Jing Mei a parable about her struggles in life. Calling this story the Kweilin, Suyuan had always told this story to Jing Mei, only except with a twist a the end of every single time she told the story, but always emphasized the symbolism of the three silk dresses; the symbolism of hope. Jing Mei never understood the symbolism of the dresses, but with Suyuan, the dresses were one of her most prized possessions. Later in the story, Jing Mei fails to retell the story, saying that she cannot tell the story because she was not close to her mother and could not demonstrate any true concern with the story. It is here that Jing Mei indirectly foreshadows the fate of the Joy Luck Club, but in the end, Tan uses situational irony and Jing Mei actually creates a stronger bond between the two generations of the mothers and their daughters. In The Joy Luck Club, Waverly’s and her mother, Lindo’s, relationship is also similar to Okonkwo and Nwoye’s. This sort of an example is shown when Lindo pushes Waverly to play chess. Lindo thinks this is best for Waverly, but deep down she just wants to show how effervescent in logical skills the Jong family is. Waverly dislikes that her mother is self-conscious about the family name, which creates some tension between Waverly and Lindo. In Things Fall Apart, Achebe interpolates to us the almost abusive relationship of Okonkwo and Nwoye. Okonkwo’s father Unoka, appeared to us as frail, selfish and unrighteous. Realizing his father’s flaws, Okonkwo does not wish Nwoye to become what Okonkwo’s father was, so Okonkwo continuously works Nwoye to death and beats him. Although Okonkwo is trying to do what is best for his son, Nwoye doesn’t think it is best for him. Throughout both books, the authors create parent child relationships that have parents that try to do what’s best for their children, but the children tend to turn the cheek and cause the children to be distressed and/or cause tension with their parents. Today in American culture, parents support the idea of becoming what their children believe in, but in other cultures, things may be different. The parents in each of the books show that they want to keep their beliefs going, but the children behave differently. The children realize that they have a life of their own and they can take control of their own lives.

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