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The Joy Luck Club: book-movie project

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Sarah Bryden

on 8 May 2013

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Transcript of The Joy Luck Club: book-movie project

"The Joy Luck Club"
Book and Movie Differences
By: Sarah Bryden The book is divided into chapters, each told by one of the characters. The chapter tells different stories of both present tense and "flashbacks" through the eyes of the mothers and daughters (switching between narrators). The movie opens with a party, at which all characters are together. Stories are revealed as though the character is thinking about them. Each mother and daughter's stories are kept together. After every "back story", we are brought back to the party. From there, narrators change and the next mother-daughter story begins.
For the most part characters are kept the same, no major differences in that regard. The movie allows the story to flow in a less confusing way. The book makes it difficult to remember who is who. The stories are told in no apparent order or correlation between each mother-daughter pair. The film makes it easier to keep the characters straight as well as connecting each mother to her daughter.
The director probably changed this aspect to add more of a dramatic effect. Unfortunately, in today's society, abortion is not considered a crime. It is a common decision made by a lot of women. Without the explanation of the her loathing, this made it easier to help viewers understand the strong hatred she felt towards her husband.While this scene tries to explain her hatred, it portrays that she did it out of carelessness, instead of loathing. The book tells of her guilty feelings and how she looks down on herself for this heinous act. It doesn't quite show the feelings she experienced accurately or allow the audience to feel sympathy for her as the book did. In the book, June and her father go to China by airplane together to meet Suyan’s twin daughters that she abandoned many years ago. Before meeting the girls, they meet and spend some time with other relatives.
The movie shows June visiting China alone, arriving on a ship.
The mode of transportation is a very minute detail, that doesn't affect the story. The movie allows June to encounter this alone, having to get over her worries and fears about the trip. This helps her character to grow and experience a stronger connection to her half sisters. The film focuses more on June meeting the twins, whereas the book explains that finding her lost daughters is Suyan's dream. The book allows her father to be apart of this special moment, having known it meant so much to his wife. It allows both June and her father to complete the Suyan's long-cherished wish, together. In the book, members of the Joy Luck Club send letters to China, trying to find Suyan’s daughters. The twins know nothing about their mother so June must tell them everything.
In the film, Lindo signs the letter from Suyan so the twins believe their mother is alive. June believes at first that her half-sisters know their mother is dead but later finds out they don’t. She must be the one to tell them when she goes to China.

This change impacts the viewers emotionally. I think it was included in the movie to add irony and emotional appeal. The twins in China believe their mother is alive and that they will finally get to see her after so many years. In the book June has to tell them at their mother is dead but at least they don't "know" she's alive. The movie makes June's trip to China even more emotional. Her sisters have been waiting their whole lives to meet their mom but now she has passed away. ***We find out later in the book that the abandoned twin babies were saved by Mei Ching and Mei Han.
From the movie, we learn about the story of Suyan leaving the babies. then someone saving her but never explains how the babies survived.
You can't help but to be curious as to how they are still alive.
Knowing the pain Suyan felt for leaving her daughters behind, the reader/viewer becomes empathetic towards the babies The movie left out many parts of the characters' back stories including how Waverly became such a good chess player, Rose's bother, Bing, drowning at the beach on her watch, and Lindo working in a fortune cookie factory. The book just goes into more depth with each character. Although keeping some of these parts may have better explained a character, it didn't drastically change anyone. With so many small stories within the big picture, my guess is that the director just didn't find them necessary. Overall, the directer did an excellent job at using Amy Tan's writing to develop the movie. Both the characters and theme were consistent throughout the film. Although the story had to be condensed significantly, no changes drastically impacted the story. The book includes stories of many Chinese superstitious beliefs to demonstrate the reasoning behind the Chineses mothers' way of thinking as well as how these tales have affected their lives. These stories help the reader to understand the lives of the mothers and the way they were raised. Having American daughters, these women find it hard to teach them. People often teach the way they were taught. Their daughters don't have respect for the Chinese beliefs as their mothers do. For this reason, the conflict being the differences between mother and daughter is harder to understand. The mothers want them to learn lessons through old Chinese "folk tales" but their daughters don't realize the truth and importance behind them. With the constant change between stories and narrators, it would have been hard to include these scenes into the film. The director probably thought it would confuse the audience. I think this played an important role in comprehending the conflict and therefore should have been incorporated into the movie. VS The book tells the story of Ying-Ying aborting her son because her husband cheated on her with many other women. She comes to hate this man so much she wants to erase all signs of him, even the baby because he is his son.

In the movie...
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