Joy Luck Club Theme Essay Hook

The ‘Joy Luck Club’ is about reflection. As the mothers wisdom they’re sophistication and pain, their experience and love to their daughters, and the daughters come to learn and value their parents, the novel conveys its affluent messages. Amy Tan’s novel interprets that her story is about finding that aspect of hope that allows a person to survive, be strong, deal with whatever that person need to do with their life. Amy Tan shows the audience the struggle of the mother and daughters when rising up in Chinese and American lifestyles.
In the novel The Joy Luck Club, the author Amy Tan writes the tale by concentrate on the argument between low-context American and high-context Chinese culture. The four daughters and four mothers raise up in very contrasting education ways, which advantage them to various characterizations. But affection and achievement can finally accommodate the serious competition of generation gap. The novel set up with a story of the exodus of Suyuan Woo, Jing-mei’s mother, and the groundwork of the Joy Luck Club. The members include three other Chinese immigrant families. The four mothers have daughters born in America, who have strong misunderstanding to China. They refused to learn Chinese language and education ; as a result of they don’t know anything about china . As their mothers aid them to deal with their complications in life with feeling and aspiration, they finally know something they basically should know about China. The novel ends with Jing-mei’s tour to China, which recalls her of Chinese blood. The big theme is the generation gap between mother and daughter, caused by the argument of Chinese culture and American culture. Also because of the special historical period of the Republican China, the mothers’ hopes, capability to their daughters are excessively strong. It is another reason to matter the conflict. Amy Tan advance the theme that although there is a culture clash between Chinese mother and American daughter, hope and love can reconcile the conflict through the use of setting and live characterization.
Jing-mei Woo and Suyuan Woo are a an American daughter and a Chinese mother. Suyuan was dead four months ago, leaving a moving story of a swan feather. Jing-mei has never lived up to Suyuan’s assumption during her lifetime, and she seems to be not pure enough. Jing-mei doesn’t realize the tale Suyuan tells her because she has never been in China during the Republican Era. But actually, Suyuan knows that her daughter is a kind person, who is much better than Waverly in this case. When her lost sisters are construct in China finally, Jing-mei is asked to take her mother’s place in the Joy Luck Club by the three friends of her mother. But she says that she doesn’t know her mother at all,and she has nothing to say! As Tan writes, “What will I say? What can I tell them about my mother? I don’t know anything” (Tan 40). She still makes a decision to go to China with Suyuan’s belief in order to do something for her. After that, Suyuan’s history is told to Jingmei, she finds that she finally knows about her mother. As Tan writes, “I lay awake thinking about my mother’s story, realizing how much I have never known about her, grieving that my sisters and I had both lost her” (Tan 286). From misunderstanding to understanding, Jing-mei’s Chinese blood is recalled by her meeting her sisters for Suyuan in the end of the novel, and the gap between them no longer exists. “Perhaps her name is symbolic of her confusion: she is the only daughter with both a Chinese and an American name. As she recalls life with her mother, June relates that she is continually told by her mother, Suyuan Woo, that she does not try and therefore cannot achieve success” (Tan 106).
An-mei Hsu and Rose Hsu are a Chinese mother and an American daughter. An-mei is taught in the traditional Chinese way during her childhood, while she teaches her daughter in an opposite American way. But Rose turns out to be just like her grandmother! Because of the death of her little brother years ago, Rose becomes no longer sanguine but susceptible. During the divorce of Rose and Ted, she makes no determination herself, even doesn’t accept her own worth as an assertive woman. “She is culpable of allowing her husband to mold her. He does not want her to be a partner in family finding until he makes a oversight in his practice as a plastic surgeon. Then he accuse that she is unable to make decisions: he is dissatisfied with his creation.” (Tan, 10). So An-mei tells her stories to Rose and strengthens her to have her individual belief. She says to Rose, “You must think for yourself, what you must do. If someone tells you, then you are not trying” (Tan 130). Eventually, Rose finds her hidden self-confidence and chooses not to give away the house back to Ted because it is already a big part of her life. The bravery she receives from her mother makes her absolutely confident.
Waverly Jong and Lindo Jong are a American daughter and an Chinese mother. The war among them continued all through Waverly’s childhood toward adult life, despite she is a utterly intelligent and independent woman. Indeed Lindo is a mother with stable capability, which really alters Waverly a lot. For instance in the novel, “She wore a triumphant smile. ‘Strongest wind cannot be seen,’ she said” (Tan 100). From playing chess to Waverly’s fiance, Lindo consistently reprimand her. “Much of the mothers’ and daughters’ conversations seem to be focused on debating, negotiating, and wandering between the two disparate cultural logics” (Bomarito and Hunter Tan, Amy: General Commentary 4). Waverly turns into a chess champion at 9 years old; Lindo generally needs them to show off. After than Waverly stops playing chess fiercely. After many years Lindo causes Waverly marry a Chinese man who she does not love at all. She certainly divorces him, but they have a daughter! When Waverly finds a boyfriend by herself, Lindo castigates him quite regularly, which motivates their final battle. At last, Lindo advise her daughter her real attention, and they clean the air. “Waverly confronts her mother after a dinner party and realizes that her mother has known all along about her relationship with Rich and has accepted him” (Telgen 4). Waverly and Rich arranges a trip to China with Lindo’ best ambitions, displaying the acknowledgment linking of Chinese and American culture.
China endures the brutality of Japanese activity a lot while the Republican Era. Typical people lived a absolutely tough life. Their homes were branched, and their lives were in major risk. Chinese armies assured to fight opposite to Japanese, but disastrously they were falling at the beginning. Suyuan’s phrase in novel determines that: “We knew the Japanese were winning, even when the newspapers said they were not. Every day, every hour, thousands of people poured into the city, crowding the sidewalks, looking for places to live”(Tan 21) and “And I knew he was telling me to run away from Kweilin. I knew what happened to officers and their families when the Japanese arrived” (Tan 25). The armies had solid assurance, as one citation “Chinese forces were prepared to fight the Japanese to the death, and they often did” (Moss and Wilson 2). Suyuan then departure from Kweilin to Chungking because of the harsh war, a journey so exhausting that she bolts a severe disease on the way and has to disregard her two twin babies! After Suyuan’s death, her three friends in Joy Luck Club assets her astray babies alive in China. Jing-mei goes to China to detect them for reconciliation at the closure because the trip recollects the Chinese blood in her body and compose her, a Chinese American, appreciate about the power of China.
Because of the melancholy experience four mothers have in China, they all “escape” to America for a astonishing new life. For example, Suyuan determines on her way to America, “Over there nobody will look down on her, because I will make her speak only perfect American English” (Tan 17). They really bear a lot of achievement for their new impulse, jobs, and even their children. They each face a job or language complication in their initial immigrant lives. However, they all defeats the hardships later and have sons and daughters who lives in America. They hope a lot from them, but some of their children constantly deceive them. “Interestingly, none of these mothers longs for her daughter to be Chinese following nothing but Chinese ways, for each woman has come to America with the intent of making a better life in which her family would know the fabled American successes” (Mistri 1). Jing-mei says, when they meet again in the Joy Luck Club after Suyuan’s death, “And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant, just as unmindful of all the truths and hopes they have brought to America” (Tan 40). The mothers need their daughters to be people with both Chinese and American personality, but they all flop to do that. The daughters only have American brain, they even debris to accept Chinese speculation and language. Indeed the goal is challenging to recognize, and it causes the generation division and cultural contrasts.
Amy Tan writes The Joy Luck Club with the insistence on setting and characterization about a serious clash between Chinese culture and American culture, which causes many conflicts between the generation gap. The daughters are all at a loss on dealing with either immigrant identity or emotional problems, but the mothers help them to overcome the problems with hope, power and love. I learnt a lot after reading this excellent novel. Mother and daughter should understand each other in order not to cause a generation gap. And husband and wife should respect each other, because they may be mates through whole life. What’s more, all of us should know the worth of ourselves, because everyone is the only one in this world. I want my paper to convey the idea of being positive to show love and hope to each other, which I think is one of the most important characters in the life to make a better world. The American-born daughters never grasp on to these traits, and as the book shows, they became completely different from their purely Chinese parents. They never gain a sense of real respect for their elders, or for their Chinese background, and in the end are completely different from what their parents planned them to be.
In conclusion, by the stories and information given by each individual in The Joy Luck Club, it is clear to me just how different a Chinese-American person is from their parents or older relatives. I find that the fascinating trials and experiences that these Chinese mothers went through are a testament to their enduring nature, and constant devotion to their elders. Their daughters, on the other hand, show that pure Chinese blood can be changed completely through just one generation. They have become American not only in their speech, but also in their thoughts, actions and lifestyles. This novel has not only given great insight into the Chinese way of thinking and living, but it has shown the great contrast that occurs from generation to generation, in the passing on of ideas and traditions.

The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan

(Full name Amy Ruth Tan) American novelist, screenwriter, and children's writer.

The following entry presents criticism on Tan's The Joy Luck Club (1989). See also Amy Tan Criticism.

The Joy Luck Club (1989) is Tan's most successful and widely acclaimed novel. It is regarded as a significant achievement in documenting the hardships and struggles of immigrants in America and in portraying the complexities of modern Chinese-American life.

Plot and Major Characters

The Joy Luck Club is a collection of sixteen interrelated stories, centered around the diverse emotional relationships of four different mother/daughter pairs. To escape war and poverty, the four mothers emigrate from China to America. In the United States, they struggle to raise their American-born daughters in a vastly different culture. The novel opens with the death of Suyuan Woo, the matriarch of the Joy Luck Club, a social group of women who play the Chinese tile game mah-jongg and rely on each other for support. Suyuan founded the club in China and later reformed it in San Francisco. Suyuan's daughter, Jing-mei, takes her mother's place at the east side of the club's mah-jongg table. Jing-mei's interactions at the table with her older “aunties” symbolize the generational conflicts that play a major role in all of the stories. Each of the mother/daughter pairs has their own personal and cultural conflicts that are unique to their situation. In each relationship, events in the mother's past deeply affect how she identifies with and relates to her daughter. Because Suyuan lost a husband and was forced to abandon her twin daughters during the Japanese invasion of China, she consistently pushed Jing-mei to succeed and make a better life for herself. But her mother's high expectations paralyze Jing-mei, who begins to doubt her own talents and abilities. “Auntie” Lindo managed to escape her disastrous arranged marriage by manipulating her husband's family. In America, Lindo's daughter Waverly becomes a junior chess champion whose achievements give Lindo a great sense of pride. Waverly feels that Lindo takes too much credit for her success and, eventually, she accuses her mother of living vicariously through her. This confrontation causes each of them to question their own personal identity and the respect they have for each other. “Auntie” Ying-Ying grew up in a wealthy family. After her husband leaves her, Ying-Ying is forced to move in with some of her poorer relatives. She emigrates with her second husband, Clifford, to America, where she is forced to change her name to “Betty” and adjust to an even lower standard of living. Ying-Ying's daughter, Lena, is a successful architect, but her husband doesn't value her. Furthermore, Lena's lifestyle and materialism clash with Ying-Ying's traditional Chinese ways, which she fears will be forgotten. “Auntie” An-mei Hsu's mother served as a wealthy gentleman's concubine. Because of her mother's occupation, young An-mei was raised surrounded by riches, but was not allowed to share in any of the luxuries. Her mother eventually commits suicide, giving An-mei a way to escape the life of a concubine. Rose Hsu Jordan, An-mei's daughter, struggles with filing divorce papers after her husband leaves her. Rose's indecisiveness comes from recurring nightmares, inspired by her mother's stories and her mother's assertion that she can read Rose's mind. The novel concludes with Jing-mei, who decides to discover the end of her mother's life story by finding and meeting her abandoned twin half-sisters. Her aunties give Jing-mei the money she needs to travel to China, affirming the healing effect of storytelling and the very real—if elusive—bond between generations.

Major Themes

The major theme of The Joy Luck Club concerns the nature of mother-daughter relationships, which are complicated not only by age difference, but by vastly different upbringings. The daughters—who have grown up embracing the American emphasis on individuality—feel that their mothers are “Old World fossils.” They rebel against the Chinese tradition of heeding their elders and pleasing parents above all else. The mothers are appalled at their daughters' insolence. They fear that their daughters' desire to achieve the American Dream will prevent them from ever learning about or understanding their Chinese heritage. Despite these fears, all four of the mothers attempt to give their children the best of both worlds. As Lindo states, “American circumstances but Chinese character. … How could I know these two things do not mix?” The painful events in the mothers' pasts and their “Chinese character” have a definite impact on their daughters' present lives. The power and importance of storytelling is another significant theme in the novel. One reason the mother-daughter relationships suffer is that neither generation speaks the language of the other—literally and metaphorically. The mothers try to compensate for this difficulty in communication by relating information through stories. However, most of the stories only frustrate their daughters, who are at a loss to interpret what they really mean. When the daughters—particularly Jing-mei—are finally able to see the true meaning behind their mothers' tales, they find that the stories are an important form of instruction and comfort. Issues of self-worth and identity are also central to The Joy Luck Club. All of the women (both mothers and daughters) wrestle with their past, their present, their ethnicity, their gender, and how they view themselves, as they struggle to construct their own life story and find a place for themselves in the world.

Critical Reception

Many critics have asserted that although the characters in The Joy Luck Club are Chinese-American, their struggles have a strong resonance for all people, especially women raised in America. Reviewers have studied the novel from a variety of angles and have generally agreed that the book presents a poignant, insightful examination of not only the generation gap between mothers and daughters, but of the gaps between different cultures as well. Critics have argued that the book works as an exploration of the issues that are vital to all immigrants in America—including ethnicity, gender, and personal identity. Some reviewers have identified the mother-daughter relationships in the book as part of a growing tradition of matrilineal discourse that is becoming ever more popular in America. Others have lauded the multiple perspectives presented in the novel, citing the work's multiple viewpoints as a unique strength that invites analysis on several levels. One critic has even analyzed the fable-like qualities of The Joy Luck Club, interpreting it as a modern-day fairy tale. Although several reviewers have argued that the novel presents stereotypical portrayals of China and of Chinese people, many critics feel that it addresses important universal issues and themes—common to all, despite their age, race, or nationality.

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