East-West Values and the Mother-daughter Relationship in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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East-West Values and the Mother-daughter Relationship in The Joy Luck Club The dominant theme of The Joy Luck Club is the clash between Chinese, American cultures, and how it affects the relationship between mothers and daughters. All of the mothers in the book were born and raised in China. All of their daughters were born and raised in the United States. Because of the differences in family traditions and values between the way the mothers had been raised in China and the way their daughters were growing up in America, there was bound to be a clash between the two generations. Perhaps the most dramatic example of how East-West conflicting traditions and values affected a mother-daughter relationship was that of Suyuan Woo and her daughter, Jing-mei. When the book opens, Suyuan has been dead for two months. Her daughter, who prefers to call herself by the American name of "June" rather than her Chinese name, has been asked by her father to take her dead mother's place. She was to take Suyuan's place in a club Suyuan started when she moved to America. June was to be the fourth member of this club, which was hosted at one of the member's homes each session and the group played mahjong and provided strength for each other in their transition to becoming Americanized. Over the course of the next few months, through the conversations and stories told by her mother's old friends at the mahjong table, June learns a great deal about her mother, and, ultimately, about herself as well. One of the conflicts between East and West is clash between the hard work ethic of Asian parents and the easier-going standards that Western parents have for their children. Watching a little Chinese girl playing the p... ... middle of paper ... ...5. Heung, Marina. "Daughter-Text/Mother-Text: Matrilineage in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club." Feminist Studies (Fall 1993): 597-616. Hagedorn, Jessica. "Asian Women in Film: No Joy, No Luck." Signs of Life in the USA. 2nd. ed. Ed. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon. New York: Bedford, 1997. 306-14. Huntley, E. D. Amy Tan: A Critical Companion. Westport: Greenwood P, 1998. Ling, Amy. Between Worlds: Women Writers of Chinese Ancestry. New York: Pergamon, 1990. Shear, Walter. "Generational differences and the diaspora in The Joy Luck Club." Women Writers. 34.3 (Spring 1993): 193 Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Vintage Contemporaries. New York: A Division of Random House, Inc., 1991.. Wong, Sau-ling Cynthia. Reading Asian American Literature: From Necessity to Extravagance. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993

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