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Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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Joy Luck Club

The stories of Suyuan and Jing-Mei Woo reveal some of Amy Tan's main themes in the novel. One important theme is that we must get to know and understand our parents in order to fully understand ourselves. June spends the first half of her life believing that she is a disappointment to her mother and has been unsuccessful in life. However, when she learns more about her mother's past and discovers that her mother is proud of her good heart and concern for others, she realizes that she has accomplished something by doing small things to the best of her ability. She learns that one does not have to be famous, or a genius, or greatly wealthy in order to be successful. Another important theme is that we need to make our own choices in life and find our own life's importance. When June was a child, her mother was constantly pushing her to try different things that she had no interest in. Because she did not care about any of these things, she did not really try to be successful, and therefore, would never accomplish anything great. We build our own importance in life by deeply caring about something that we choose and putting all of our effort into developing or accomplishing this.

The relationship between June and her mother, Suyuan, is far from flawless, yet has the foundation of love that can never be destroyed. There are many misunderstandings between these two women that are unfortunately left unresolved until after Suyuan's death. Amy Tan uses this relationship and all of its complications to teach the readers important themes about life. Ultimately, love between this mother and daughter prevails through all conflict, and even beyond Suyuan's death, when her long-cherished wish of uniting her daughters is fulfilled.

The Joy Luck Club: Cutural Differences Between Daughters and Mothers

There are numerous conditions in human life that mold people into who they presently are. A person's identity and way of thinking are influenced greatly due to their family's surroundings, and relationships they are involved in. In the novel, The Joy Luck Club, the characters are generic, in the sense that, although they are from different families, the problems and emotions experienced are similar. The daughters are in an on-going search to discover themselves, who they are and what they represent. With their precious mother-daughter bonds, four immig...

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...listic needs are not worth pursuing but finding yourself is: "With all these things, I did not care. I had no spirit" (Tan 286).

Other times,in trying to instill what is left of the Chinese heritage, the American way of life is blended in, but alas, "I wanted my children to have the best combination: American circumstances and Chinese character. How could I know these two do not mix?" (Tan 289). The characters of the novel, The Joy Luck Club, unravel the intricacies of combining a Chinese heritage with American circumstances and tell of the relationships between mothers and daughters. The strong bond, that is present amongst the characters, will infinitely outlast all obstacles. From each generation, all of the women "are like stairs, one step after another, going up and down, but all going the same way" (Tan 241). There are advantages and disadvantages to growing up with American circumstances, as well as learning and obtaining Chinese character, but one must be chosen over the other to be free. "I think about two faces. I think about my intentions. Which one is American? Which one is Chinese? Which one is better? If you show one, you must always sacrifice the other" (Tan 304).
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