The Joy Luck Club Hero's Journey

1533 Words 7 Pages
Joseph Campbell, the author of the novel, A Hero with a Thousand Faces, is most famous for discovering the repetitive cycle heros undergo -- referred to as the hero’s journey. The hero’s journey is separated into three overall sections, Departure, Fulfillment, and Return. Suyuan Woo, one of the main characters in the Joy Luck Club, undergoes a series of life events that Campbell has defined as the aspects of the hero’s journey. The departure stage of Suyuan’s life closely resembles Campbell’s depiction of the hero’s journey because the character undergoes a major loss and attempts to fill this void by achieving her long-cherished wish. However, the unexpected death of Suyuan forces her daughter, Jing - Mei Woo, to complete the fulfillment and …show more content…
Suyuan’s call to adventure is rather devastating and automatically sets the rest of her story to a disheartening tone. As she was forced to escape the attacks of the Japanese during World War II, “Her shoulders ached from the two babies swinging from scarf slings. Blisters grew on her palms from holding two leather suitcases...she...kept walking like this for many miles...until she was delirious with pain and fever” (Tan 282). Suyuan is conflicted as she battles fatigue while relentlessly carrying her twin daughters to safety and this quote exemplifies these challenges she faces. Her devotion to her daughters represents the love of any mother but is specifically mentioned in the quote to later refer back to when she ultimately loses her children. Her struggles are used to describe the sacrifices she made for her daughters but are also expressed as a form of irony as she eventually sacrifices their lives for her own. Suyuan abandons her daughters to refrain them from seeing their mother die, however after Suyuan leaves and loses consciousness, “...she was in the back of a bouncing truck with several other sick people, all moaning...She had been saved for no good reason…” (Tan 283). She then realizes that her most courageous moment was also the moment she greatly …show more content…
After being forced to start a brand new life in America, Suyuan’s guilt of leaving both her daughters follows her everywhere. The major challenge she faces is her overwhelming guilt and she attempts to redeem herself as a good mother through her daughter, Jing- Mei. Jing- Mei remembers her mother as someone who always hoped for her to be the best and this is displayed through this quote, “‘Who ask you be genius?’ she shouted. ‘Only ask you be your best. For you sake...So ungrateful…’’ (Tan 136). This quote is significant as the reason behind Suyuan’s anger towards Jing- Mei is due to her guilty conscience. Suyuan feels obligated to raise Jing-Mei to be this talented and successful woman because Suyuan lost the opportunity to do that with her first two daughters. Suyuan’s guilt consumes her and attempts to fill the void in her life by pressuring Jing-Mei to be a prodigy. Jing- Mei represents a second chance for Suyuan to get it right and correct her past mistakes. However instead of assuaging her guilt Suyuan feels more remorse as Jing- Mei reminds her of the two daughters she once lost. Suyuan never gave up on finding her two lost daughters as every year, she wrote to different people from China with strong ambitions of finding them. “‘She had searched for years, written letter

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