Mother-Daughter Conflict in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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We live in a mobile and global world with the development of the technology. Still America continues to be the symbol of the land of freedom and of opportunity. Arriving to America, the Chinese immigrants who come from a traditional, structured, old world struggle to find a balance in a modern and dynamic new world. In order to realize the American dream, the first generation of immigrants have to learn the language, acquire education, and assimilate into the dominant culture. They courageously leave the past behind except what they carry in their memory. Thus, immigrants often experience shock and resistance in dealing with the new world culture. This is especially true for the second generation Chinese-Americans who resist and are ashamed of their heritage. Amy Tan in The Joy Luck Club dramatizes this conflict which arises between the first and the second generations through sixteen stories of four mothers and four American-born daughters. Tan succeeds in showing the strength of the mother-daughter bond from China to America despite the cultural and linguistic differences between Chinese mothers and Chinese-Americans daughther through the immigrant narrative. The Chinese culture is based on Confucius, whose teachings are more practical and ethical than religious. Confucius’ virtues include righteousness, propriety, integrity, and filial piety toward parents, living and dead. His teachings also emphasize obedience to the father figure, to the husband, and to the eldest son after the passing of the husband. Thus, the role of women is one of subordination to men. In a family the male figure maintains an absolute power over his familial matters. Whereas in America, gender does not have the same bearing on the cultural trad... ... middle of paper ... ...ily but also to her motherland China. She is fulfilling her mother’s dream of coming home when she said "I am going to China" (Tan 307). Works Cited Liu Wu-Chi. "A Short History of Confucian Philosophy" Hyperion Press, 1955. Edwards, Jami. Rev of "The Joy Luck Club," by Amy Tan. The Book Report, Inc. 1999. Shear, Walter. "Generational Differences and the Diaspora." Critique Spring 1993: 193-199. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. Standley, Anne P. "Maxine Hong Kingston." Notable Asian Americans. Ed. Helen Zia and Susan B. Gall. New York: Gale Research Inc., 1995: 164-6. Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Vintage Contemporaries. New York: A Division of Random House, Inc. 1993. Xu, Ben. "Memory and the Ethnic Self: Reading Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club." Melus. V19. Spring 1994: 3-18.
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