Throughout the novel, The Joy Luck Club, author Amy Tan explores the issues of tradition and change and the impact they have on the bond between mothers and daughters. The theme is developed through eight women that tell their separate stories, which meld into four pairs of mother-daughter relationships.
The Chinese mothers, so concentrated on the cultures of their own, don't want to realize what is going on around them. They don't want to accept the fact that their daughters are growing up in a culture so different from their own. Lindo Jong, says to her daughter, Waverly- "I once sacrificed my life to keep my parents' promise. This means nothing to you because to you, promises mean nothing. A daughter can promise to come to dinner, but if she has a headache, a traffic jam, if she wants to watch a favorite movie on T.V., she no longer has a promise."(Tan 42) Ying Ying St.Clair remarks- "...because I remained quiet for so long, now my daughter does not hear me. She sits by her fancy swimming pool and hears only her Sony Walkman, her cordless phone, her big, important husband asking her why they have charcoal and no lighter fluid."(Tan 64)
The American daughters, on the other hand, the other half of the inseparable pair, tell stories of how their mothers tradition, culture, and beliefs, helped them come to many realizations about themselves. These realizations are both positive and negative. Jing-Mei Woo tells the story of how her mother wanted her to be the next Shirley Temple. "My mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America. You could open a restaurant...You could become instantly famous.
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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.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Ivy Books, 1989.
Huntley, E. D. Amy Tan: A Critical Companion. Westport: Greenwood P, 1998.
Ling, Amy. Between Worlds: Women Writers of Chinese Ancestry. New York: Pergamon, 1990.
Maynard, Joyce. "The Almost All-American Girls." Rev. of The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan and The Temple of my Familiar, by Alice Walker. Mademoiselle July 1989: 70, 72, 180.
Miner, Valerie. "The Joy Luck Club" The-Nation. Apr. 24 '89 p. 566-9
Schell, Orville. "Your Mother is in Your Bones." Rev. of The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan. The New York Times Book Review. Mar. 19 1989: 3, 28.
Wang, Dorothy. "A Game of Show and Not Tell." Rev of The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan. Newsweek April 17, 1989: 68-69.
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