Introductlion to the Joy Luck Club
English and Literature
Submitted By weixiao
“Family features shared by mother and daughter in those Chinese-American families are not something to be proud of, but rather something that causes embarrassment on one side or the other, and often on both sides” (Xu 13). With various interwoven events happening among these four Chinese immigrant families, the conflicts and misunderstandings between mothers and daughters seem to be the guideline throughout the whole novel. Amy Tan uses stories narrated by the mothers and daughters to display their daily contradictions and their inner thoughts, which are the mothers’ strong desire to control their daughters’ fate; contradicting opinions on interracial relationships and identity crises. All these “battles” could be found both in these four daughters’ childhood, and in their adulthood as well. The Chinese mothers try so hard to pass on their culture and instill Chinese character, but their efforts are resisted strongly by their daughters to different degrees. The daughters try to make their mothers accept ways of life ingrained with American features, which is also insufferable to mothers. The greatly different family backgrounds, different ways of thinking and identity crisis between these two generations contribute a lot to their contradictions, as well as generation and cultural gaps. Although the author provides a vivid description of the conflicts between the two generations, “Amy Tan’s special accomplishment in this novel is not her ability to show us how mothers and daughters hurt each other, but how they love and ultimately forgive each other”(Willard 12). The understanding and care mothers and daughters give each other is deeply buried under the cover of their resentment and complains. Facing broken marriages, An-mei Hsu encourages Rose to fight back and Ying-Ying decides to tell Lena her “shameful past” in order to save Lena from that falling-apart...