“Here is how I came to love my mother. How I saw her my own true nature. What was beneath my skin. Inside my bones.” (Tan 40)
The complexitities of any mother-daughter relationship go much deeper then just their physical features that resemble one another. In Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the stories of eight Chinese women are told. Together this group of women forms four sets of mother and daughter pairs. The trials and triumphs, similarities and differences, of each relationship with their daughter are described, exposing the inner makings of four perfectly matched pairs. Three generations of the Hsu family illustrate how both characteristics and values get passed on through generations, even with the obstacles of different cultures and language.
The Joy Luck Club was formed while the four mothers were in Builica during the time of war. “Each week we could forget past wrongs done to us. We weren’t allowed to think a bad thought. We feasted, we laughed, we played games, lost and won, and we told the best stories. And each week, we could hope to be lucky. That hope was our only joy. And that’s how we came to call our little parties Joy Luck.” (Tan 12) These small gatherings consisted only of the same four women, one for each corner of the mah jong table. While bombs were going off outside, these women would keep their happiness alive with this blissful get together once a week. Later, when these women moved with their husbands to America, they naturally continued the tradition.
Each mother had high expectations for their lives as they came towards America, and especially their daughter’s lives. “In America I will have...
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...bowen/314fall/novels/lit.html) Each in their own way has learned a lot from their mothers and can see over the gap that divides them. In the Hsu family especially there is a strong sense of loyalty that is based on through each generation. “You must peel off your skin, and that of your mother, and her mother before her. Until there is nothing. No scar, no skin, no flesh.” (Tan41) It is most important in Chinese culture to remember who you are and where you came from.
* Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York. Ivy Books. 1989.
* Tavernise, Peter. “Fasting of the Heart: Mother-Tradition and Sacred Systems in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.” 23 March 2000. <http://www.mindspring.com/~petert/tan.htm>
* Amanda Matthews. “Structural Analysis…Thanks to Amanda Matthews” 1995.
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