The Complexity of Mother and Daughter Relationships in Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club

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The Complexity of Mother and Daughter Relationships in Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club

Since the beginning of time the mother and daughter relationship has been complex. The book The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan is a great example of the mother and daughter relationship. In the book Amy Tan writes about four women who migrate to America from China. All of the women were in search of a better life since the lives they had in China were not what they wanted for themselves. Even though all of the women did not know each other until they met in America, they all share the same horrible memories of their past. The book mainly focuses on the expectations, hopes, and dreams that the women and their daughters have for themselves. Even though at the beginning the mothers and the daughters do not always see eye to eye at the end the daughters start to realize that their mothers just wanted the best for them and not the worst, "The mothers see themselves in the daughters."(Matthews).

The relationship between Suyuan and Jing-mei is somewhat difficult because they are both coming from two different cultures that are completely opposite of one another. Suyuan is trying to teach Jing-mei the Chinese culture when all Jing-mei sees is the American culture, that is on television and all around her. Jing-mei's friends do not even think that she is a true Chinese person. Suyuan wants her daughter to obey her and make her proud even if it means making Jing-mei do something that she does not want to do. As a Chinese women Suyuan knew her role to be a good wife and mother and to always stand by her husband's side. On the other hand Jing-mei does not want this, she wants to be independent, and to be able to make her own decisions because...

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... to teach her about her culture and where she was from, "And now I see"(Tan 331). Jing-mei finally learns the answers to all of the questions that her mother left unanswered when she passed away.

Although Jing-mei fought so hard to not do anything Suyuan said, it was not because she did not like her mother. It was because she did not understand where she was coming from. It is always hard to understand someone when you do not understand any of the hardships that one has been through.


Matthews, Amanda. Structural Analysis...Thanks to Amanda Matthews. <>.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York, 1989.

Tavernise, Peter. Fasting of the Heart: Mother-Tradition and Sacred Systems in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. <>. 12 March 1992
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