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

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

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


Here is a journey that not only started "a thousand Li away", but from generations upon generations of tradition. The Joy Luck Club travels over time and continents to present the background and turmoil of eight amazing women. All of these women have had to deal with the issues of culture, gender, and family, each in their own way, yet all similarly. Amy Tan dedicates her novel to her mother with the comment "You asked me once what I would remember… This, and much more." Each of the mothers in Tan's novel wanted to teach their daughters the lessons learned in China while giving them the comforts of America. But language and culture barriers diverge the women until they were almost lost to each other. Each character had to take their own journey to finally understand what drove them apart and find their common ground.

Each Mother brought baggage with her across the pacific. They wanted to teach their daughters from all of their pain and suffering, but were never able to communicate the complexities of their life. Suyuan Woo struggles to explain herself to her daughter "'This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions.' And she waited, year after year, for the day she could tell her daughter this in perfect American English"(3). The journey that brought Suyuan to America was long and full of hardship. From the Japanese invasion of Kweilin were she lost her husband and had to leave her daughters, to her assimilation in America. Suyuan wanted to teach her daughter about these hardships so that she could understand the extent of her potential. " My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in Ameri...


... middle of paper ...


... finding her sisters and in doing this fulfilling her own.

Just as Jing-Mei found what made her Chinese, Lindo discovered what made her American. "I was so much like my mother. She did not see how my face changed over the years. How my eyes began following the American way"(293). She is a mixture, no longer one hundred percent Chinese, yet she has held her culture with her throughout her life in America. "Not only traditional and not only modern, not just Chinese and not just American, but Chinese-American"(Reece). This is the same discovery that Waverly and Jing-Mei come to, they finally understand were their mother's have come from and the history brought with them from far away. And the mother's best intentions are no longer like the illusive mountains covered in fog, left in China.

Works Cited

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Random House, 1989.

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