She is confronted by many obstacles, which cause problems with not only her mother, but also with her attempt to discover her personal identity. Although the narrator’s assimilation to the American culture causes numerous conflicts with her mother, she is able to overcome adversity and come of age as a Chinese-American with the help of her mother’s stories. In Kingston’s first story, “No Name Woman,” the reader is first introduced to the stories of the narrator’s mother. This particular tale involves an aunt that the narrator never knew, who was shunned from her family for having an affair. It was through this story that the narrator learned how careful a young woman must be when growing up in the Chinese culture.
The Chinese life is strict, more so than the American life, and that was the only way the mother knew how to raise her daughter. The mother seemed to be the villain in the story, but she was only trying to be the caring parent the best way she knew how. She only wanted her daughter to be the best, but a conflict started when the daughter failed to meet her expectations. In the beginning Jing-mei, th... ... middle of paper ... ...he wanted to see her daughter become something better than what she had become. Instead of encouraging her daughter to become someone who she wanted to be, she ends up pushing her in the wrong direction.
Though, things do not turn out exactly as planned for the young woman. Her lovely swan is confiscated by customs officials, and her treasured daughter, now an adult, does indeed speak only English and cannot understand her mother at all. Without a common language, “the expected loving link between mother and daughter is broken. Communication becomes impossible.” (Kim 37) This story sets the stage for conflict between the Chinese mothers and their American daughters. The issue of the language barrier is a constant theme in both The Joy Luck Club and The Woman Warrior.
Tan uses these mother-daughter relationships to describe conflicts of history, culture, and identity and how each of these themes are intertwined with one another through the mothers and daughters. The mothers and daughters not only experience a generation gap, but since the mothers were born in China and the daughters were born in America, they also experience a certain cultural gap. This leads to miscommunication and misunderstanding on both parts. To the mothers, their Chinese heritage is very meaningful to them and the Americanized daughters don’t always understand this. The daughters get embarrassed by their mothers’ broken English.
The mothers tried to tell their daughters the story about the Chinese ancestors but the daughter could not follow them and the daughters thought their mothers were backwards and did not know what they are saying. As much as the mothers tried to show love to their daughters, the daughters usually responded negatively. They often saw their mothers’ attempts to guidance as a failure to understand the American culture. Being Chinese and living in America, both the mothers and the daughters struggle with many issues like identity, language, translation, and others. The mothers try to reconcile their Chinese pasts with their American presents; the daughters try to find a balance between independence and loyalty to their heritage The mothers Visions of America The four mothers in the novel have many opinions about America some are positive, and some are negative.
When Suyuan tells June, " only one kind of daughter can live in this house, the obedien... ... middle of paper ... ...he tensions between mothers and daughters that have their source in a clash of cultures. Tan also shows that as the mothers and daughters reconcile, these tensions begin to lessen and the daughters begin to accept their Chinese heritage. Works Cited and Consulted Feng, Pin-chia. "Amy Tan." Dictionary of Literary Biography.
She describes it using a very harsh tone. Jing Mei assumes that her mother is so mad because the game is not like the Chinese way. Despite her mother's wishes, Jing Mei plays Jewish mah jong with her friends. Another annoying trait is that Suayan constantly tries to keep the Asian tradition in her daughter's lifestyle by Suayan's refusal to speak to her daughter in English. Jing Mei rebells; however by also continuing to speak in English while her mother speaks in Chinese.
In her quest to close the cultural gap between her Chinese heritage and her American upbringing, she questions what it means to be Chinese. Suffering from a disadvantage compared to the other daughters in the story, since her mother is dead, Jing-mei struggles to remember the foods her mother cooked, her relatives' names, and the stories her mother told. However, it is when Jing-mei finally embraces her sisters, and they observe in the polaroid shot how they all look like their mother, that it occurs to Jing-mei that her family is the part of her that is Chinese. Therefore, in order to understand that part of her identity, she must embrace the memory of her dead mother. With the sisters linked by their mother in their family likeness, the photograph symbolically reconciles the two generations, as well as the two cultures.
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.
Mothers and Daughters in The Joy Luck Club Although mothers and daughters are genetically related, sometimes they seem like complete strangers. When immigrants raise their children in America, there is a great concern for these parents that American culture will negatively affect their children. In the novel, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, four mothers try to instill their Asian culture into their daughters' lifestyle; however, these daughters rebel against them, due to their desire to assimilate themselves into American culture. Early in the novel, the Joy Luck Club members discuss the different types of mah jong; it is then that Jing Mei realizes how oppositely she and her mother spoke to one another. While these women are explaining the differences in Chinese and Jewish mah jong, Jing Mei plays back the conversations that she and her mother used to have regarding the same topic.