Of the many stories involving the many characters of "The Joy Luck Club", I believe the central theme connecting them all is the inability of the mothers and their daughters to communicate effectively.
The mothers all have stories of past struggles and hard times yet do not believe their daughters truly appreciate this fact. The mothers of the story all want their daughters to never have to go through the struggles they themselves had to go through, yet they are disappointed when their daughters grow up and do not exhibit the respect or strength of their mothers. This is the ironic paradox of the story.
The Chinese mothers came to the United States to escape the difficult life they led in China and to start fresh in the United States. They did not want their children to grow up as they had. The short story in the beginning of the book describes this feeling. "Then the woman and the swan sailed across an ocean many thousands of li wide, stretching their necks toward America. On her journey she cooed to the swan: "In America I will have a daughter just like me. But over there nobody will say her worth is measured by the loudness of her husband's belch. Over there nobody will look down on her, because I will make her speak only perfect American English. And over there she will always be too full to swallow any sorrow! She will know my meaning, because I will give her this swan - a creature that became more than what was hoped for." Even though this is just a short story before the long one begins and is not actually attributed to any specific character in the story, I believe it accurately describes all the mothers' feelings a...
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Heung, Marina. "Daughter-Text/Mother-Text: Matrilineage in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club." Feminist Studies (Fall 1993): 597-616.
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