Joy Luck Club Character Analysis

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Suyuan is a strong-minded woman, who finds and creates her own happiness even during the hardest times. The very first Joy Luck Club was founded by her in Kweilin, China in 1944. Suyuan and three other women used to gather once a week to play mahjong and to share food in order to cope with the Japanese invasion of China. Unfortunately, the circumstances get worse and worse as the Chinese army loses the war. When the Japanese army marches into the city, Suyun is forced to leave for her and her twins’ safety. On her way to Chongqing where she believes her husband is, Suyuan becomes very sick. Before she collapses, she puts her home address and some jewelry in the twins’ clothes and leaves them by the side of the road in the hope of them being …show more content…
By the age of nine, she is called the “Great American Hope” (97). Her mother Lindo is very proud of her daughter’s achievement in chess and she wants everyone to know that this chess genius is her daughter. She takes Waverly to visit many shops without buying anything, only so that she can tell people that “This is my daughter Wave-ly Jong” (99). Waverly is irritated by these actions and she thinks that Lindo is using her achievements to show off. She says to Lindo: “Why do you have to use me to show off? If you want to show off, then why don’t you learn to play chess” (170). Lindo is surprised and hurt because she thinks her own daughter is embarrassed by her and wants to shut her out. Lindo considers Waverly’s triumph as a group success and a family honor and, therefore, not only does she expect “to be heeded”, but also “to be allowed to share in whatever glory devolves from accomplishments” (Huntley 63). For Lindo, Waverly’s protests are nothing but a selfish act. She says to Waverly’s brothers: “We not concerning this girl. This girl not have concerning for us” (100). At the same time, Waverly is upset as well for being “used” and angry with her mother for taking credit for her achievements: “I hated the way she tried to take all the credit” (170). As E.D. Huntley convincingly argues, because Waverly is schooled in the American tradition of individuality, she rejects her mother’s attempt to “live through …show more content…
In China’s collectivistic culture, it is important to maintain harmony; thus direct confrontation should be avoided. However, it is the opposite in the US’s individualistic culture, where speaking one’s mind is a characteristic of an honest person and individuals are expected to have learned to take direct feedback constructively (Hofstede, 229-236). These different ways of communicating cause cultural misunderstandings and this can be clearly seen in The Joy Luck Club. One example is when Waverly’s boyfriend Rich meets her family for the first time. At dinner, Lindo serves a “steamed pork and preserved vegetable dish” which is her specialty and she always serves it “with special pride” (178). At the table, Lindo says “Ai! This dish not salty enough, no flavor” (178). It sounds like Lindo is not satisfied with the dish, but the truth is that she is very proud of her cooking and she is only being modest. Rich is used to speaking directly so he is not aware of the hidden message. Instead of giving a compliment, he replies “You know, all it needs is a little soy sauce” and then he pours “a riverful of the salty black stuff on the platter”, right in front of Lindo’s “horrified eyes” (178). Rich and Lindo fail to understand each other as a result of different ways of

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