Expectations In The Joy Luck Club

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Expectations in The Joy Luck Club
In our lives, there are many times when the people around us expect us to achieve the goals that are set for us. When we try to reach these expectations, sometimes we lose who we were before. In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan conveys the message that the expectations of other characters for the women cause them to change in a way that hinders their ability to express their true selves.
Throughout the novel, society expects girls to be ladylike and poised from a young age. In Ying-ying’s story, “The Moon Lady,” after eating a mooncake, Ying-ying becomes restless. When she sees a dragonfly, she chases after it, but she is stopped by Amah and her mother. “‘A boy can run and chase dragonflies, because that is his nature,’
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The mothers also have expectations for their daughters, which influences and shapes the daughters’ personalities similar to their own. In Waverly’s story, “Rules of the Game,” Waverly starts to competitively play chess, which she excels at. After winning a tournament, she receives a trophy and a plastic chess set. “As [Lindo, Waverly’s mother] wiped down each piece with a soft cloth, she said, ‘Next time win more, lose less.’” (Tan 97). While she is cleaning the gift that Waverly received, Lindo tells her daughter her expectations of Waverly to lose fewer pieces, but Lindo does not take into account Waverly’s opinion on it. Lindo exhibits her proud and competitive side, which influences Waverly in a way that makes her more stubborn and competitive. This can be seen in “Best Quality” when Waverly and Jing-Mei are arguing and trying to humiliate each other. Waverly does not stop until she has gotten the last word. The mothers’ influence on their daughters’ personalities stems from the fact that the mothers’ expectations do not take into account their daughters’ thoughts. In Chinese culture, where children are to be obedient towards their parents, the daughters in the story are not able to communicate their feelings to their mothers about these

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