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Achieving Understanding in Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club

In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club the daughters are too young and naive to understand their mothers and the hardship they faced. But by the end on the novel the daughters are able to understand where their mothers came from through stories and experiences the mothers tell the daughters their background. This shows that the daughters overall understood the mothers better because through time they were able to experience some of the same conflicts giving them a better understanding.

While Jing-Mei Woo is only one of four young women whose stories integrate the novel, her story makes her seem to be the initial character, especially since her tale not only begins and ends the novel, but also strongly develops the theme and plot of the entire book. Her mother, Suyuan Woo was very concerned with people and things they lacked, "Something was always missing...always needed improvements...not in balance" (19). This reveals that Suyuan is lacking something herself and feels not good enough for her family. We later discover her past and the twin girls she left behind in China. This past life draws readers and makes the story more interesting but a little confusing at the same time. This past comes back to Jing-Mei when her mother dies and Jing-Mei begins to understand how hard it is to let go of the people you love, which makes her become more open, understanding and mature. She lost a mother she got to share her life with, but like her half sisters, they didn't understand their mother until she was gone to share the experience of being reunited. In a sense, her spirit was there to capture their happiness of finally meeting one another.

Although Waverly Jong is perceived in being an intelligent, ambitious, proud, and arrogant, she is constantly struggling with everything that happens in her life. Her unwillingness to adapt to change becomes a major conflict. "Bite back your tongue"(89) her mother's harshness on her while growing up may have caused her lack of self-confidence foiled but assurance. Not only that caused her to resent her mother but the way she introduced her to perfect strangers, "This is my daughter Waver-ly Jong"(101) just to tell people or make reference to the TIME article on Waverly cause her to become upset.
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