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Mother-Daughter Relationships in The Joy Luck Club

Amory Mo, Anthonia Okafor, Declan Lane, Victoria Kwong
by

Victoria Kwong

on 18 December 2012

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Transcript of Mother-Daughter Relationships in The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club Suyuan Woo & Jing-mei "June" Woo - Suyuan happily lived in Kweilin until the civil war began. Danger came closer to the city and Suyuan was forced to leave with a few of her belongings and her two daughters. While fleeing from Kweilin, she had to abandon her beautiful mahjong table and eventually her two babies. She came to San Francisco and created the Joy Luck Club. An-mei Hsu - Rose Hsu Jordan met her ex-husband in a politics of ecology class during her second semester at UC Berkeley. Ted and Rose get married, but they eventually get into a divorce because of their differences. West Wind Lindo Jong & Waverly Jong - When Lindo was only two years old, her husband had already been decided for her. Because she loved her parents and because she made a promise to them, she did not ague against her arranged marriage. - Waverly played professional chess for four years until the age of fourteen, when she quit. Throughout her life, she always felt pressured and judged by her mother, and she still feels that way even as an adult. South Wind Ying-ying St. Clair & Lena St. Clair - Ying-ying has always been a little crazy according to the rest of the aunts and even according to her.

- She fears that her relationship with her daughter is diminishing. She believes that she is invisible to her daughter. On the other hand she also believes that she and her daughter are "unseen" to the rest of the world. - Lena does not see herself quite as distant as her mother describes her. East Wind The Mother's Perspective - When An-mei Hsu was just nine years old, she made a decision to follow her mother to Tientsin, but doing so meant that she had to sacrifice being with her younger brother. While she was there, her mother taught her to hide her tears and anger. - An-mei Hsu, through experience, finds that hiding her pain does not make her feel better; it only makes her feel weaker. - She tries to teach her daughter, Rose, to speak up and take action when she needs to, but she feels that her message does not get through to her. - An-mei feels unappreciated when her daughter ignores her advice and she feels disappointed when her daughter fails to give more effort in settling things with her ex-husband, Ted. North Wind The Daughter's Perspective The Mother's perspective The Daughter's Perspective The Mother's Perspective The Daughter's Perspective The Mother's Perspective The Daughter's Perspective - Rose knows that her mother is intelligent, but sometimes, she has trouble understanding what she is trying to say. - Once she was married, Lindo also made a promise to herself that she would be strong and that she would stay true to herself. - Later, she teaches her daughter, Waverly, the art of invisible strength, but she also expects many things from her. - She feels offended when Waverly accuses her of taking all the credit for her successes in chess. She also feels hurt when Waverly tells lies to her friends about where she came from. - However, she blames herself for her daughter's faults. - Ying-ying also seems to blame herself for their relationship being so distant. She says, "And because I remained quiet for so long now my daughter doesn't hear me" (67). It appears that she did not keep in touch with Lena as much, which
she regrets. - When Ying-ying was a child, she learned to keep her mouth closed so selfish desires would not leak out. When she fell into the lake and lost her family, she only silently wished to be found. - One thing that Lena really admires about her mother is her ability to foresee bad things that happen to their family. On the other hand, it annoys her that the only things her mother sees in her relationships are the negative things. - Lena also believes that her mother holds many dark secrets. - Lena is married to Harold, and she thinks that their marriage is going well. When her mother starts to ask her questions about their relationship, Lena starts the realize that she is not content about how her marriage is organized based on money. What makes her even more upset is the fact that she does not know what she wants from Harold. - Waverly also felt annoyed when her mother took too much credit in her successes. - In fear of her mother's harsh judgements, she feels that it is difficult to communicate with her, especially about her engagement to Rich. - She fears that her mother's piercing words will ruin her love for her fiancé, just as her words had ruined her love for her ex-husband, Marvin. & Rose Hsu Jordan - Suyuan thought that Jing-mei’s life was more valuable than her own. - Suyuan also believed that her daughter was a girl of high potential. She told Jing-mei that she could be someone of great talent if she just tried. - Jing-mei became frustrated with her mother's high expectations. Her defiance and her reckless words about her lost twin sisters kept Suyuan quiet until the day she died. - Suyuan constantly felt misunderstood and hurt by Jing-mei. - Jing-mei never met her mother’s expectations and repeatedly disappointed her. She dropped out of college and is now working as a copywriter. After her mother dies, she finally realizes her faults. She feels that the only way she could make her mother happy is to unite with her twin sisters in China. - Jing-mei knows that her relationship with her mother was never really close, but she blames herself for the lack of communication. - She feels that her mother was someone who really cared about the family and everyone in the Joy Luck Club. - She had misunderstood her mother and her mother had misunderstood her. - It is not until she unites with her twin sisters that she feels that she has made her mother happy and proud. - Rose thinks that her mother is too persistent in convincing her to save her marriage because in her eyes, it is hopeless. - Her mother often encouraged her to be the best, but all she wanted to do was to have fun and to enjoy the challenges of the game. - She believes that she has some Chinese heritage in her, but having grown up in America, she is does not follow Chinese traditions. "But I worried for Rich. Because I knew my feelings for him were vulnerable to being felled by my mother's suspicions, passing remarks, and innuendos" (175). "And even though I know it's hopeless - there's absolutely nothing left [of my marriage] to save - I'm afraid if I tell her that, she'll still persuade me to try" (116). "I wish I were dead! Like them! Alakazam! - and her face went blank, her mouth closed, her arms went slack, and she backed out of the room..." (142).
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