Joy Luck Club

Joy Luck Club Every person comes to a point in their life when they begin to search for themselves and their identity. Usually it is a long process and takes a long time with many wrong turns along the way. Family, teachers, and friends all help to develop a person into an individual and adult. Parents play the largest role in evolving a person. Amy Tan, author of the Joy Luck Club, uses this theme in her book.

Four mothers have migrated to America from China because of their own struggles. They all want their daughters to grow up successful and without any of the hardships they went through. One mother, Suyuan, imparts her knowledge on her daughter through stories. The American culture influences her daughter, Jing Mei, to such a degree that it is hard for Jing Mei to understand her mother’s culture and life lessons. Yet it is not until Jing Mei realizes that the key to understanding who her mother was and who she is lies in understanding her mother’s life.

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Jing Mei spends her American life trying to pull away from her Chinese heritage, and therefore also ends up pulling away from her mother. Jing Mei does not understand the culture and does not feel it is necessary to her life. When she grows up it is not “fashionable” to be called by your Chinese name (26). She doesnt use, understand, or remember the Chinese expressions her mother did, claiming she “can never remember things [she] didnt understand in the first place” (6). Jing Mei “begs” her mother “to buy [her] a transistor radio”, but her mother refuses when she remembers something from her past, asking her daughter “Why do you think you are missing something you never had?” (13) Instead of viewing the situation from her mother’s Chinese-influenced side, Jing Mei takes the American materialistic viewpoint and “sulks in silence for an hour” (13).

By ignoring her mom and her mom’s advice, Jing Mei is also ignoring some of the similarities between her and her mother. Suyuan has also rejected some of the Chinese traditions. Suyuan rejects the women-repressive Chinese traditions when she tells her daughter that she “believed you could be anything you want to be in America” (141). Suyuan continually tells Jing Mei her “Kweilin story” as a child, the story of the origins of the Joy Luck Club as well as her mother’s past hardships. Yet despite the importance of the story and the events constituting the story to Suyuan, Jing Mei “never thought [her] mother’s Kweilin story was anything but a Chinese fairy tale” (12). The story would have the same meaning to Jing Mei as if she were being told the story of Sleeping Beauty, or some other American bedtime story.

When Jing Mei recognizes the similarities between her mother and herself she begins to understand not only her mother but herself as well. There are subtle connections and likenesses from the beginning between Jing Mei and her mother that Jing Mei does not see. The book commences with Jing Mei taking her mother’s place at the mah jong table, creating a similarity between them from the beginning. Suyuan dies two months before the start of the book, and therefore is not able to tell the stories. Jing Mei has learned and must tell her stories in her place, forming another parallelism between mother and daughter. Because Suyuan is dead, Jing Mei must act in place of her mother when she goes to meet her Chinese sisters in China.

Throughout the book Jing Mei takes the place of Suyuan, showing she and her mother have a unique link even with the barrier of the living world. Jing Mei finally begins to realize her identity and past when she travels in place of her mother to China to meet her two twin sisters. Suyuan had to make the hard decision to leave her twin babies on the side of the road in hopes some kind stranger would take them in, that way she would not have to see them die. Suyuan searches for her babies all through her life in America, sending multitudes of letters; they finally get in touch with her two months after she has died. Because her mother is not alive to meet her children, Jing Mei takes her place and the trip enables her to finally recognize her Chinese ancestry. The minute she enters China she “feels different” and can realize that she is “becoming Chinese” (306). At fifteen Jing Mei believed she was only as Chinese as her “Caucasian friends” (306).

Yet her mother counters thoughts, telling her: “Once you are born Chinese, you cannot help but feel and think Chinese” (306). Once in China Jing Mei decides her mother was right and she “has never really known what it meant to be Chinese” (307). She has never understood her mother or her heritage. This trip is the connecting link to understanding her life. She begins to feel natural in China, thinking to herself on the train: “I am in China..

It feels right” (312). Jing Mei sees the landscape, the people, the histories, and the families in China and sees where her mother was speaking from all of those years. She knows a “little percent” of her mother know (15). It becomes “obvious” to Jing Mei to see what “part of [her] is Chinese”; it is “in her family, in her blood” (331). Jing Mei finally realizes herself when she travels to China, trying to connect with her mother and searching for her identity.

The longer she stays in China, the more connected Jing Mei feels to her mother, the more she feels at home, and the more she understands what her mother was trying to teach her. At last when Jing Mei embraces her sisters for the first time at the airport, and they look at the Polaroid so view their similarities, Jing Mei realizes the part of her that is Chinese is her family. She must embrace the memory of her dead mother to grasp that part of her identity.

Joy Luck Club

Joy Luck Club Joy Luck Club Final Essay: #4 Literary Analysis by Dustin Adams The Joy Luck Club is a representation of the persistent tensions and powerful bonds between mother and daughter in a Chinese American society and is written by Amy Tan. The book illustrates the hardships both the mother and daughters go through in order to please the other. Also, it shows the troubles the daughters face when growing up in two cultures. This book reveals that most of the time mothers really do know best. Throughout all of the Jing-Mei Woo stories, June has to recall all of the memories of what her mother had told her.

She remembers how her mother left her babies during the war. Junes mother felt that since she had failed as a mother to her first babies she had failed as a person. When she made June take piano lessons June thought that she was trying to make her become a child prodigy like Waverly, but her mother did this because she knew it would benefit June for the rest of her life. Because of the death of her mother, June was forced to take the place of her mother in more than just filling her place at the Maj Jong table. The mother daughter tradition was broken because the lost babies were found after the death of their mother.

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Junes trip to China can be seen as the completion of her mothers promise to return, honoring her sisters by attempting to transfer what she had absorbed from her mother and her tradition. And I think, My mother is right. I am becoming Chinese(Tan 306). This is what June thinks as she crosses into China. Like the Taoist Yin/Yang symbol, June and her mother have become two of the same thing. The only difference being their thoughts, June with American, her mother with Chinese.

This has kept the mother-daughter tradition alive but has also weakened it. This happens often, but there is always something that sticks and is passed down from generation to generation. Heredity is the transmission from one generation to the next of factors that determine the traits of offspring. Although successful breeding of plants and animals was practiced by humans long before modern civilizations were established, there is no evidence that these early people understood the nature of hereditary factors or how they are transmitted through reproduction. The story of June and An-mei is a prime example of heredity. Although many girls’ worst fears would be turning out like their mother, it can’t, in many ways, be helped. June felt slightly hesitant in becoming more like her mother but, it, in the words of June’s mother An-mei, Cannot be helped (Tan 306). June’s hesitance can be seen in a quote referring to her mothers statement of certain heredity: And when she said this, I saw myself transforming like a werewolf, a mutant tag of DNA suddenly triggered, repplicating itself into a syndrome, a cluster of telltale Chinese behaviors, all of those things my mother did to embarrass me… (Tan 307).

Whether these traits were manifested due to lifelong exposure to her mother, or they were simply genetic, codes of DNA by which June’s life and habbits would be determined, one thing, in this case, is for certain: daughters and mothers are alike. It can be seen in everyday life, and Amy Tan beautifully describes and exhibits this fact in her portrayl of the stories involving June and her mother. Bibliography none Creative Writing.


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