Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

772 Words4 Pages
Traditions, heritage and culture are three of the most important aspects of Chinese culture. Passed down from mother to daughter, these traditions are expected to carry on for years to come. In Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, daughters Waverly, Lena, Rose and June thoughts about their culture are congested by Americanization while on their quests towards self-actualization. Each daughter struggles to find balance between Chinese heritage and American values through marriage and professional careers.

June’s story dealt with the concepts of superstition and cultural differences. The beginning of the chapter, June is describing a necklace given to her by her mother. The pendant was, “too large, too green, too garishly ornate” (pg. 197. June). Her mother Suyuan entitled it the “life importance” for her daughter, but because June did not appreciate it, the reader can identify the cultural differences between the two, as well as the importance of material items. After the death of Suyuan, June begins to realize that the “life importance” is actually a testimony of love from her mother.

“For a long time, I wanted to give you this necklace. See, I wore this on my skin, so when you put it on your skin, then you know my meaning. This is your life’s importance.” (pg. 208)

By finally giving the life importance to June, Suyuan is finally expressing that she is no longer comparing June to Waverly. She is finally letting her know that she accepts her for who she is, and how great of a person she is.

In “Without Wood”, Rose Jordan was unable to find a balance between herself and her need to please everyone around her, especially her husband, Ted. Her mother believed that Rose was lacking the element Wood, translating into the fact that Rose ...

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...nts, Ying-Ying predicts that Lena will be unable to control her future life if she does not “finish her rice”. Snowballing into a need for control over her environment, Lena fails to accomplish what she has worked so hard to fight for, and marries a man named Harold, who controls their marriage by demanding equality between everything they do and own. Unable to see the unbalance is her marriage, Ying-Ying is forced to show Lena by comparing it to a table created by Harold.

“Fallen down,’ she says simply. She doesn’t apologize.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ I say, and I start to pick up the broken glass shards. ‘I knew it would happen.’

‘Then why you don’t stop it?’ asks my mother. And it was such a simple question” (p.165)

After the table breaks that day, Lena finally comes to the realization about her marriage and what her mother had been talking about the whole time.
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