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The Joy Luck Club
Transcript of The Joy Luck Club
About the Author
Time Period & Multi-Cultural Issues
She is Chinese and of the middle class( used to be in high class when she was younger and with her mother)
One of the members of Joy Luck club and best friend of Suyuan(deceased). Her personality is a strong as she believes in her "nengkan" in order to do things. However, from Suyuan's description of An-Mei, she lacks wood and tends to listen to the opinions of other more than her own intuition.
Example:"Too little wood and you bend too quickly to listen to other people's ideas, unable to stand on your own"
Her age changes from four to nine depending on how far the flashbacks go but in the present she is between the ages of 60-70
The Joy Luck Club
Born on February 19, 1952 in Oakland California
Was fifteen when she lost both her father and older brother to brain tumors
Moved to Switzerland with her mother and younger brother
Returned to the United States to attend numerous colleges - Linfield College, San Jose City college, San Jose State University, University of California in Santa Cruz, and University of California at Berkeley.
Worked as a language development consultant and freelance writer
Wrote "Rules of the Game" in 1985, which was the basis for "The Joy Luck Club"
Received numerous awards for "The Joy Luck Club" that has been translated in 25 languages and made into a major motion picture
Wrote two other New York times bestsellers"The Kitchen God's Wife" and "The Hundred Secret Senses"
Has been married with Lou DeMattei for over twenty years
The time period in which the novel is set in is the 1980s however, because of the flashbacks that occur throughout the novel, it be said that the time period for the whole novel is between the 1920s - 1980s.
Example: "In fact, it's becoming fashionable for American-born Chinese to use their Chinese names"
The present time period shows more diversity and is more open to the diversity of different cultures. However,though this diversity and openness is some what seen in the present, the present time period also reflects the multi- cultural issues in the book by describing the older women in the novel to have to change themselves in order to fit in to what society sees as correct.
Example: "But when she arrived, the immigration officials pulled her swan away from her... and then she had to fill out so many forms she forgot why she had come and what she had left behind"
Though there is diversity and openness in the present period, the demands that society has placed before immigrants to change themselves in order to suit society better has caused the people to forget why they have come to a land of freedom if freedom means being changed to suit society.
The Effect of Author's Style
Amy Tan uses a personal style of disjointed yet euphoniously connected
phrases that overall allow readers to resonate with the characters presented within the story. After a couple of lines, readers are able to grow accustomed to her occasional fragmented sentences that do not necessarily deviate from what she means to convey.
It becomes quite an easy work to read, and Tan's way of listing details does not create a conglomeration of information too difficult to process but rather a quick relay of things readers can absorb with ease.
This overall allows Tan to connect with her readers not by what is mentioned in the stories but by the way these are told.
"My mother, she still pays attention to it. That Bible under the table, I know she sees it. I remember seeing her write in it before she wedged it under."
Among many themes, one found within Joy Luck Club deals with identity. In every account shown, the characters go through struggles in order to end with a clear understanding of who they really are, what they have always been. One will not be able to define their own identity until one lets go of all the expectations thrown onto ourselves by individuals who believe their ideals is what's best for us. In all moments possible, someone will come by and tell a person what they should and should not do, and as humans we will unconsciously conform to the invisible structures and norms strewn about since childhood times that, with no resistance at all, come to define us. Sociologically, this is common and widely accepted. Yet if there never is a point of rebellion, one's identity will always be masked the product of society that we have become.
"That is the way it is with a wound. The wound begins close in on itself, to protect what is hurting so much. And once it is closed, you no longer see what is underneath, what started the pain."
"The pain you must forget. Because sometimes that is the only way to remember what is in your bones. You must peel off your skin, and that of your mother, and her mother before her. Until there is nothing. No scar, no skin, no flesh."
"What is true about a person? Would I change in the same way the river changes color but still be the same person?"
"This is a great novel in the sense that it is able to be interpreted not only by readers of similar ethnic origin but with anyone that has experienced a struggle in defining themselves and setting their individuality into a concrete belief. I would recommend it to those that may resonate with the cultural dilemma and anyone that is struggling to fill in that faint silhouette of individuality."
The Effect of Point of View
The Influence of Cultural Aspects
"I believe that this novel represents the beauty of belonging to two cultures and the struggle to identify with both as well as themselves. I would recommend this book for its ability to show the struggle that it takes in order to find individuality and freedom as well as the ability to accept that ultimately, your cultures are a part of you and that they make you who you are."
" I learned that the Chinese culture, like other cultures, was strict towards having proper manners and behaving as one should in order to not shame their family. The women as well were restricted from acting out and speaking what they please as they grew older whereas the men in the family had more freedom to do what they wished. However, the traditions and festivities that they hold are exquisite as well as their strong belief that they can do anything that they put their mind to. Overall, I find this culture to be very beautiful and unique with all its traditions and beliefs."
Though it is commonly known that immigrating and attempting to adapt to a new location and its traditions is no easy task, I believe one does not fully comprehend this struggle unless one goes through it or reads accounts like those mentioned in this novel. I found it much more revealing and quite satisfying as it was able to convey the struggles faced by many who become displaced, divulging into the lives of Chinese origins and not only showing struggles but also the peculiar and quite interesting aspects of the Chinese culture."
"I have learned the limitations the Chinese culture has placed on children, especially daughters, are the same limitations in my culture as well as others. As a result, the children suffer from the gender roles and lack of individuality, which is passed onto their children creating a never-ending cycle. This novel shows a broken cycle to not break traditions nor beliefs, rather create understanding and growth as a parent and child and as women.
"The Joy Luck Club"
Key points of "Joy Luck Club"
Revolves around the lives of four women (Suyuan, An-Mei, Ying-ying, and Lindo) and their daughters ( Jing-Mei, Rose, Lena, and Waverly)
Raises the question of how well the daughters know their mothers
Series of flashbacks that all point out key points in the mother's lives that change them forever (Some for the better and some for the worse)
While the mothers want their daughters to know more about themselves and their struggle to gain their freedom and come to America, the daughters tend to focus more on their perspectives as Americans including the struggles that they face
Talk about the point in their life where they each find self identity and overall, become stronger people
She is Chinese and of the middle class(used to be of high class only because of an arranged marriage)
Has a tricky and devious personality that is able to manipulate people in order to get what she wants. She has a strong sense of self
Example" She is too balanced" Meaning that she is too balanced in all of the elements unlike most people who usually lack one or more elements
Member of the Joy Luck Club
During flashbacks she is two years old, twelve, and sixteen. In the present she is between 60-70
She is Chinese-American and is the daughter of Suyuan Woo, founding member of the Joy Luck Club
In her early or mid thirties
Her personality tends to be indecisive and she tends to wander of in different direction, often leading her to never finish the things she starts and settle for easy things instead
She is a middle-class worker
Ying-Ying St. Clair
She is Chinese and is one of the members of the Joy Luck Club
In the flashbacks she is four and sixteen. In the present she is between the ages of 60-70
Ying- Ying's personality is one of a ghost, she wanders around aimlessly, being a mother and a wife, but she never really feels anything( goes with the flow) However, in her past she used to be a strong-willed energetic child with a strong spirit
She is of the middle-class but in her past she used to be immensely wealthy
"She says the slant of the floor makes her feel as if she is 'running down.' She thinks the guest room...she sees spiders in high corners...She can see all this."
"My mother and father would adore me. I would be beyond reproach. I would never feel the need to sulk for anything"
"I thought this book really high-lighted the dynamic relationship between American-born children and their immigrant born parents. It also emphasizes the struggle of these children especially among minority women."
"I thought the variety of mother-daughter relationships greatly accentuates the difficulty in balancing one's ethnicity and nationality. I recommend this book for its applicability to those who are or whose parents are immigrants and for the recognition of the struggling life an immigrant must face within themselves and their new surroundings.
Thank you Shifu
The story is told by seven different women.The novel is split into four sections. Each section begins with a short third person point of view story and has four first person point of view stories The novel revolves around four different mothers and their daughters.
Amy and her mother did not speak for six months after Amy Tan left the Baptist college her mother had chosen for her in order to leave with her boyfriend to San Jose City College.
Example: "I know my mother probably told her I was going back to school to finish my degree, because somewhere back, maybe just six months ago, we were again having this argument about my being a failure, a “college drop-off,” about my going back to finish."
Amy Tan's mother expected her daughter to take the pre-med course to purse the study of English and linguistics.
Example: "At first my mother tried to cultivate some hidden genius in me. She did housework for an old retired piano teacher down the hall who gave me lessons and free use of a piano to practice on in exchange."
The Moon Lady
The effect of the short stories show the connection between the four different mother-daughter relationship. These stories are allegorical because they show a moral or teaching that the four stories share.
The effect of the first person point of view stories makes the audience feel sympathetic towards the individual struggle each character holds.
The Black Vase on the End Table
Under the section titled
, there is a chapter told in the point of view of Lena called
the marble end table collapsed on top of its spindly legs
Feathers From A Thousand Li Away
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates
Queen Mother of The Western Skies
cooking was how my mother expressed her love, her pride, her power, her proof that she knew more than Auntie Su
The acceptance of lost and identity
Ying-ying compares herself and Lena to the moon lady. The experience of loss due to not speaking to each other
A woman recalls buying a swan that had been a duck. She wanted to take the swan with her to America to show her daughter but couldn't. The woman keeps a feather from the swan and plans to tell her about it in perfect English which she never got to do.
The Twenty-six Malignant Gates is a chinese book that shows all the dangers that could happen to a child. Ying-ying reads this book and becomes very paranoid.
A mother is shocked to see a mirror hanging at the foot of the bed of her daughter's bedroom, saying that the mirror will take away all happiness from the marriage. The mother puts up a new mirror which will reverse the bad luck and create such luck that will promise grandchildren.
A grand-mother wonders what to teach her granddaughter as she was once innocent just like her, but had to throw it away to protect herself. She want to teach her daughter not to lose hope so that the baby's mother is able to laugh just like her.
Food is frequently mentioned throughout the novel as a connection between people. It helped connect the four mothers and these mothers to their daughters
" I have learned the struggle of immigrant mothers and their American-born children. All mothers want the best for their children and want to teach them based off of their experience and to make sure their children do not suffer as much as they do. These four chinese mother sacrificed a lot for their daughters and hope that they remember them, so they can teach their daughters too."