Mothers, Daughters and Common Ground in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club

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Mothers, Daughters and Common Ground in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club


Here is a journey that not only started "a thousand Li away", but from generations upon generations of tradition. The Joy Luck Club travels over time and continents to present the background and turmoil of eight amazing women. All of these women have had to deal with the issues of culture, gender, and family, each in their own way, yet all similarly. Amy Tan dedicates her novel to her mother with the comment "You asked me once what I would remember… This, and much more." Each of the mothers in Tan's novel wanted to teach their daughters the lessons learned in China while giving them the comforts of America. But language and culture barriers diverge the women until they
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An old Chinese man explained that when a son was born in China it was a "big happiness" but when a baby girl was born it could only be considered a "small happiness"(Small). Suyuan did not want this for her daughter.

Lindo Jong had a different struggle in China but a similar lesson to teach her daughter, Waverly. Lindo was promised to a man before she could speak, and by the time she was 12 was living the life of a Chinese wife. In order to avoid shaming her parents, Lindo had to become silent and subservient with her new family. On her wedding day, however, she recognized her strength.

And then I realized it was the first time I could see the power of the wind…I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see…I was like the wind. I made a promise to myself: I would always remember my parents' wishes, but I would never forget myself (53).

She trusted herself and was able to escape the life that she had been shackled to. She brought this determination with her and tried to instill it in Waverly. "I wanted everything for you to be better. I wanted you to have the best circumstances, the best character. I didn't want you to regret anything" (303).

"I think about our two faces. I think about my intentions. Which one is American? Which one is Chinese? Which one is better"(304)? Both Lindo and…

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