Essay On Gender Roles In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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Women have had a breathtaking journey of progress throughout the history of time. In every culture or country, women’s role has been constantly adapting to the modern world, especially regarding women’s interaction with the male gender. This constant adaptation is the reason why there is a huge gap between the ideals of different generations. For example, a mother’s perspective tends to strongly differ their daughters’ modern mindset regarding relationships. However, there are different types of mothers, thus every woman has had her own experiences, which shape her ideals when it comes to marriage. Amy Tan portrays this thought in her book, The Joy Luck Club, by writing about the different experiences of four Chinese mothers. Their distinct …show more content…
Amy Tan, in the chapter named “Scar”, portrays how the Chinese culture allows men to have many wives, or concubines, while a woman should stay loyal and devoted to her husband even if he dies. This chapter talks about how one of the main characters, An- Mei Hsu, used to have a very distant relationship with her mother. An- Mei lives with her aunt Popo, who does not even let her mention her mothers’ name. An- Mei tells the reader how Popo refers to An-Mei’s mother as a ghost, which “was anything we were forbidden to talk about”(42). This is because after An- Mei’s father died, her mother decides to be the fourth wife of another man named Wu Tsing. Popo speaks horribly about An-Mei’s mother and says she “has so little respect she has become a ni, a traitor to our ancestors. She is so beneath others that even the devil must look down to see her”(46). These strong words help the reader reflect on the fact that in the late Chinese culture, women were not allowed to move on and were considered devilish and greedy if their way of thinking differed to those of their ancestors. Nowadays, if a man dies, his wife is allowed to continue with her life. The story never points out that An- Mei’s mother did not grieve for her late husband, thus the fact that she wants to move on with another man is not a valid excuse to separate her from her own daughter. An- Mei explains that she learns …show more content…
Amy Tan portrays how women did not have freedom of choice, especially regarding whom they want to marry. This is clearly stated in the chapter “ The Moon Lady”, in which Ying- Ying St. Clair, one of the protagonists, tells the reader how she was only two years old when a matchmaker had already decided whom she was going to marry. Huang Taitai, the mother of Ying- Ying’s future husband Tyan-yu, is pleased when the matchmaker tells her that Ying-Ying “will grow up to be a hard worker who serves you well in your old age”(50). Little did Ying- Ying know that this meant she was going to be working her whole life. After a flood, the St. Clairs are forced to move out, but since Ying- Ying is now older she will stay with Tyan-yu’s family. This moment of the story highlights how late marriages revolved around the husband’s convenience, while the wife was only an object. Ying- Ying explains, “ I came to think of Tyan-yu as a god, someone whose opinions were worth much more than my own life” (56). Thus Tyan- yu is a spoiled brat and Ying- Ying is forced to learn how to sew, clean, cook and become an “obedient wife” (56), just to please him and his family. After some time, the ceremony of their marriage takes place. By this point, Ying- Ying is tired and refuses to continue living like this. Before the

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