Mothers and Daughters in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club Essay

Mothers and Daughters in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club Essay

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Mothers and Daughters in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club


Throughout Amy Tan’s novel, The Joy Luck Club, the reader can see the difficulites in the mother-daughter relationships.  The mothers came to America from China hoping to give their daughters better lives than what they had.  In China, women were “to be obedient, to honor one’s parents, one’s husband, and to try to please him and his family,” (Chinese-American Women in American Culture).  They were not expected to have their own will and to make their own way through life.  These mothers did not want this for their children so they thought that in America “nobody [would] say her worth [was] measured by the loudness of her husband’s belch…nobody [would] look down on her…” (3).  To represent everything that was hoped for in their daughters, the mothers wanted them to have a “swan- a creature that became more than what was hoped for,” (3).  This swan was all of the mothers’ good intentions.  However, when they got to America, the swan was taken away and all she had left was one feather.

America was not everything the mothers had expected for their daughters.  The mothers always wanted to give their daughters the feather to tell of their hardships, but they never could.  They wanted to wait until the day that they could speak perfect American English.  However, they never learned to speak their language, which prevented them from communicating with their daughters.  All the mothers in The Joy Luck Club had so much hope for their daughters in America, but instead their lives ended up mirroring their mother’s life in China.  All the relationships had many hardships because of miscommunication from their different cultures.  As they grew older the children realized that their ...


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... and in her hurry to get away, she (falls) before she even reach(s) the corner,” (87).  This foreshadows the relationship between the mothers and daughters in The Joy Luck Club.  The daughters can not understand the reasoning behind their mothers’ decisions.  However, the mothers realize their daughters are so much like them and they do not want this to happen.  The daughters grow up being “Americanized,” but as they grow older they begin to want to understand their Chinese culture.  All of the characters learned many valuable lessons that will be passed on to their own children.

Work Cited

Chinese-American Women in American Culture.  http://www.ics.uci.edu/~tdo/ea/chinese.html

Roella. http://members.tripod.com/~Roella/AmyTan/

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

Tavernise, Peter.  http://www.mindspring.com/~petert/tan.htm

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