Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club

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Throughout The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan inserts various conflicts betweens mothers and daughters. Most of these relationships, already very fragile, become distanced through heritage, history and expectations. These differences cause reoccurring clashes between two specific mother-daughter bonds. The first relationship exists between Waverly Jong and her mother, Lindo. Lindo tries to instill Chinese qualities in her daughter while Waverly refuses to recognize her heritage and concentrates on American culture. The second bond is that of Jing-Mei Woo and her mother, Suyuan. In the beginning of the book Jing-Mei speaks of confusion in her recently deceased mother's actions. The language and cultural barrier presented between Jing-Mei and Suyuan is strong enough to cause constant separation and misunderstanding.

The first and most important conflict in the novel is heritage. Both mothers, Suyuan and Lindo, come from a Chinese background and try to instill their knowledge and strengths into their children. However, their children are being raised in America with new ideals and a powerful freedom that both mothers never experienced. The two contrasting cultures present a scenario in which both influences cause great confusion and separation in relationships.

"How can she thing she can blend in? Only her skin and her hair are Chinese. Inside—she is all American-made. It's my fault she is this way. I wanted my children to have the best combination: American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I know these two things do not mix?" (288).

Lindo Jong faces her difficulty of getting her children to understand her Chinese heritage in the face of pressing American principles. Lindo's main difficulty is that through her daughter's c...

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...specific conflicts cause a rift between the mother-daughter relationships in this novel. The first of heritage separates the mother from the daughters through characteristics inherited by their cultures. The second conflict of history splits the relationship through differing life experiences and childhood conditions and opportunities. The third and final conflict is the expectations held by the mother's for their children. Both Lindo and Suyuan expect their children to be the model of their Chinese ancestors while living in the United States. However their rivalry pushes both mothers to thrust their daughters out of their trust, a mistake that costs them dearly. The daughters also fail to recognize their parents past and their current motivations. These three differences force the conflict seen in the novel between these two pairs and cause their lifelong separation.
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