The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, illustrates what life is like for many foreigners in America who are trying to give their child the opportunities they most likely did not have themselves as children. The story touches on a very common struggle in America, that between mother and daughter, in which the daughter never feels good enough for her mother. Also present is the struggle Jing-Mei has with herself.
Jing-Mei's mother has her mind set on making her daughter a prodigy of some kind. She constantly presses Jing-Mei to do better and be better at whatever activity she participates, but why is she doing this? There are a couple of reasons, one of which is because she wants Jing-Mei to have opportunities she herself did not have growing up in China. She came to America after losing nearly everything, in hope of having a better life for herself and her family. To many immigrants, America is the land of opportunity. You can do anything or be anything if you put your mind to it. Well, Jing-Mei certainly wasn't putting her mind to much of anything, so her mother took it upon herself to get her started on something.
First, there was Shirley Temple. Jing-Mei's mother thought she could be the next Shirley Temple. Together, they'd " . . . watch Shirley's old movies on TV as though they were training films."(Tan 491). Jing-Mei, with her mother's help, was really trying to emulate this child star, but it still was not good enough.
Jing-Mei needed to be more than a prodigy. She needed to be better than any other American child because her mother had given her all of these opportunities. She could have been a ...
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Schell, Orville. Critical Extract. Asian-American Women Writers. Ed. Harold Bloom. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1997. 82-3.
Shear, Walter. "Generational differences and the diaspora in The Joy Luck Club." Women Writers. 34.3 (Tan Spring 1993): 193. Expanded Academic Index.
Souris, Stephen. "'Only Two Kinds of Daughters:'" Inter-Monologue Dialogicity in The Joy Luck Club." Melus 19.2 (Summer 1994):99-123.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Ivy Books, 1989.
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