Mother Daughter Relationships - The Mother-daughter Relationship in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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The Mother-daughter Relationship in The Joy Luck Club In The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, the characters Suyuan and June have a mother-daughter relationship fraught with conflict, but ultimately rooted in deep love and commitment for one another. Because of drastic differences in the environments in which they were raised and in their life experiences, these two women have many opposing ideas and beliefs. This coupled with their lack of communication are responsible for many of the problems they encounter during the course of their relationship. These conflicts are only resolved when June learns about her mother's past and accepts their respective differences. The manner in which their relationship develops and the conflicts June and Suyuan face reveal some of the themes that Amy Tan intends for the readers to learn. These themes concern such topics as finding life's importance, making choices, and understanding ourselves and our families. Most of the conflicts that June and her mother face are based on misunderstandings and negligence concerning each other's feelings and beliefs. June does not understand or even fully know her mother because she does not know about her tragic past and t he pain she still feels from the memory of it. Because Suyuan lost two daughters in China, and her entire family was killed in the war, she leaves this place behind her and places all of her hopes in America and her family there. She wants the very best for her daughter June. Even her name, Suyuan, meaning "long-cherished wish," speaks of this hope for Jing-Mei, meaning "the pure, essential, best quality younger sister." Suyuan tells her daughter June that she can be anything she wants to be, and that she has great talent. At first June is excited and dreams about what she will become: "In all my imaginings, I was filled with a sense that I would soon become perfect. My mother and father would adore me. I would be beyond reproach. I would never feel the need to sulk for anything." (Tan 143) Suyuan pushes June to be successful in many different areas such as dance, academics, trivia, and piano. After failing to excel at each task set before her, June begins to feel more and more resentment towards her mother. She sees her mother's hopes as expectations, and when she does not live up to these, she feels like a failure.
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