Summary Of The Joy Luck Club, By Amy Tan

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Amy Tan was born on February 19, 1952, in Oakland, California. Tan grew up in the San Francisco Bay area with her family. Additionally, Tan was the only daughter of her immigrant parents. Eventually, disaster struck in 1967 and 1968. Tan’s father and 16 year-old brother, Peter, both died of brain tumors simultaneously within six months of each other. Furthermore, she found out that she had two siblings living in China. Such information that would not have been revealed if it was not for her father and brother’s deaths. Alternatively, after the incidents, she and her family moved to Europe for three years when she was 15. They moved to the Netherlands and then to Montreux, Switzerland afterward. While she was in Switzerland, she went through…show more content…
So, one can infer that Tan’s uses their family’s personal experiences in her books as a way of therapeutic closure for her own struggles. The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife incorporate the conflict of Asian and American cultures and the mother-daughter relationship, which is a huge theme in Asian cultures. (Mohanram, 1). What is more, in the story Magpies from The Joy Luck Club, the inspiration for a character came from Tan’s grandmother. Her grandmother accidentally died two months after giving birth to her son. The cause of death is from having too much fun while eating large amounts of opium. According to Tan in her 2003 self-biographical book, The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings, she “changed the details a bit … she [the character] dies, not accidentally while having fun, but with vengeance of suicide.” (Tan, 35). The connections to Tan’s own life aids the readers to understand the complexity of the characters she wrote and make their own inferences based on her own…show more content…
Since she is a participant narrator, it is easy for the readers to infer ideas from her implications. To begin with, Jing-Mei is a nine-year-old Chinese girl. Since she was born in the United States, she has adapted American values and individualistic beliefs. Just like the author, Amy Tan, Jing-Mei’s parents are both Chinese immigrants. It can be inferred that they both feel the pressure of two conflicting cultures. In fact, at the beginning of the story, she is as excited as her mother at the idea of being a prodigy. Actually, in the third paragraph of the story, Jing-Mei talks about her new-found enthusiasm: “In all of 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, or to clamor for anything.” (Tan, 223). Based on this quote, it can be inferred that her eagerness to tend to her mother’s wishes is to make her parents proud. However, according to Kate Bernheimer in her 1989 article, Overview of ‘Two Kinds,’ “she [Jing-Mei] must abandon her sense of her own unique identity, which is itself inchoate and unstable” (Bernheimer, 1). As this quote shows, Jing-Mei’s two cultures are conflicting. Specifically, Chinese cultures are more collectivistic in comparison to American cultures; which are individualistic. In other words, to be able to become a savant or a prodigy for her

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