Essay on Clash of Cultures Portrayed in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

Essay on Clash of Cultures Portrayed in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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Clash of Cultures Portrayed in The Joy Luck Club


  The environment in which one grows up molds their character and behavior. The four daughters portrayed in The Joy Luck Club are of Chinese descent, yet they are not Chinese. The daughters speak in English, not the language of their mothers, Mandarin. The daughters are addressed by their English names, or they do not have a Chinese name at all. They think as Americans and have little memory of their Chinese thinking, customs or traditions.

 

" In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant, just as unmindful of all the truths and hopes they have bought to America. They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Fractured English. They see that joy and luck do not mean the same to their daughters, that to these closed American-born minds 'joy luck' is not a word, it does not exist. They see daughters who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from one generation to generation"(Tan).

 

Chinese mothers were "taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people's misery, to eat my own bitterness". Yet, the daughters do not have this blind obedience to their mothers. After the piano talent show fiasco, a quarrel broke out between June and Suyuan. June did not have this blind obedience like a Chinese daughter, " I didn't have to do what my mother said anymore. I wasn't her slave. This wasn't China" and refused to be the best, perfect, as what her mother wants her to be. Her mother only hoped and wanted the best for her daughter, which is the Chinese thinking, yet June takes it that her mother wants her to be someone that she is not. When Suyuan tells June, " only one kind of daughter can live in this house, the obedien...


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...he tensions between mothers and daughters that have their source in a clash of cultures. Tan also shows that as the mothers and daughters reconcile, these tensions begin to lessen and the daughters begin to accept their Chinese heritage.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Feng, Pin-chia. "Amy Tan." Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 173: American Novelists since World War II. Fifth Series.

 Gale Reseach, 1996: 281 -289.

Heung, Marina. "Daughter-Text/Mother-Text: Matrilineage in Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club." Feminist Studies. Fall 1993: 597 - 613.

Schell, Orville. "Your Mother is in Your Bones." The New York Times Book Review. 19 March 1989: 3,28.

Seaman, Donna, Amy Tan. "The Booklist Interview: Amy Tan."' Booklist. I October 19%.: 256,257.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Vintage Contemporaries. New York: A Division of Random House, Inc., 1991.

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