Americanization in The Joy Luck Club

Best Essays
Americanization in The Joy Luck Club

Oftentimes the children of immigrants to the United States lose the sense of cultural background in which their parents had tried so desperately to instill within them. According to Walter Shear, “It is an unseen terror that runs through both the distinct social spectrum experienced by the mothers in China and the lack of such social definition in the daughters’ lives.” This “unseen terror” is portrayed in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club as four Chinese women and their American-born daughters struggle to understand one another’s culture and values. The second-generation women in The Joy Luck Club prove to lose their sense of Chinese values, becoming Americanized.

The Joy Luck Club daughters incontestably become Americanized as they continue to grow up. They lose their sense of Chinese values, or Chinese tradition in which their mothers tried to drill into their minds. The four young women adopt the American culture and way of life, and they think differently than their traditional Chinese mothers do, upsetting the mothers greatly. The daughters do not even understand the culture of their mothers, and vice versa. They find that the American way of thinking is very different from that of the Chinese.

Amy Tan is a Chinese-American author. She had become Americanized, according to her mother, who still held traditional Chinese values. They fought sometimes, just as the women and daughters of The Joy Luck Club, over who was right and who was wrong regarding many problems they encountered. Tan most likely modeled The Joy Luck Club after her relationship with her mother. She even dedicated the novel “To my mother and the memory of her mother. You asked me once what I wo...

... middle of paper ...

...1995). 1995. Women and Language.

Dedmon, Emmett. China Journal. Printed in U.S.A. Rand McNally and Company, 1973. Ch. 12.

Ho, Wendy. Swan-Feather Mothers and Coca-Cola Daughters: Teaching Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club. An excerpt from Teaching American Ethnic Literatures/ Nineteen Essays, ed. By John R. Maitino and David R. Peck. 1996. University of New Mexico Press.

Shear, Walter. Generational Differences and the Diaspora in The Joy Luck Club. An excerpt from Critique, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Spring 1993). 1993. Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Published by Penguin Books 1989. New York, New York, U.S.A.

Xu, Ben. Memory and the Ethnic Self: Reading Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. An excerpt from MELEUS, Vol. 19, No.1 (Spring 1994). 1994. The Society for Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S. 5 May 2010.
Get Access