Cultural Misunderstandings In The Joy Luck Club By Amy Tan

Amazing Essays
Cultural and historical understanding can easily be lost between generations as time goes on. The Joy Luck Club is a novel written by Amy Tan about the stories of Chinese-American mothers and daughters who have many misunderstandings throughout their lives. The mothers having very different childhoods, opportunities and struggles than their daughters, causes this. Changes in language, culture, and lack of communication leads to many misunderstandings between characters in the story. Understanding deteriorates as years pass and situations change.
Changes in language cause major gaps in understanding between a mother and a daughter. Because of language, Waverly accidently insults her mother by not knowing her past.
"I guess we 've evolved to
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She thinks her mother was born in Taiwan, not Taijuan these places are not even in the same country. Lack of communication has caused a very deep misunderstanding about Waverly’s family history and culture. Language can go even deeper than just simple misunderstandings, it can cause great divides between someone and her family. Jing-Mei has a problem with language when she visits her relatives in China. “Aiyi and my father speak the Mandarin dialect from their childhood, but the rest of the family speaks only the Cantoneses of their village. I understand only Mandarin but can’t speak it that well. Language has caused June to not be able to understand most of her family because of different dialects. This loss of understanding changes June 's experiences. Jung-Mei misses out on many things her family says and may kind of feel lost, not being able to understand them. Language is important, but is often lost from generation to generation because of travel, trying to fit in, and many other …show more content…
Jing-Mei, and her mother Suyuan get into a fight that is heavily influenced by the way they were raised and the situations they grew up in. “Only two kinds of daughters,” she shouted in Chinese. “Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind! Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!”(Tan 153) . Because of growing up in very different settings, Jing-Mei and her mother have very different cultures. Because she grew up in China, Jing-Mei’s mother believes that her daughter should be obedient and listen to every word she says, while Jing-Mei, growing up in the United States, thinks she should be able to do what she pleases. These very different cultures cause a divide between the mother and daughter. An-Mei Hsu has a similar problem with her daughter Rose. She does not agree with the way Rose thinks. This is because of the different difficulties each woman had when they were growing up. “I know this, because I was raised the Chinese way: I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people’s misery, to eat my own bitterness”(Tan 241). An-Mei Hsu is talking about how her daughter is too busy complaining instead of trying to fix her marriage. Unlike her mom, Rose hsu was not raised in China and does not have the same values. She doesn’t fully understand how people have to take action to fix their problems, instead of just sitting there and waiting for the inevitable to happen..

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