Overview: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan Essay

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Chinese American Literature incorporates the works of the descendants of China. There are a number of talented and gifted writers who, through their works, present before us China, Chinese- American women and their families, the mystery of the mother- daughter relationship in a manner quite novel to us. The cultural conflicts, identity clashes especially amid the Chinese mothers and their American daughters form the leitmotif in the works of the writers such as Sui Sin Far, Frank Chin, Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan. Mother- daughter plot is one of the recurrent themes in Chinese- American women’s writings. The concept of motherhood and daughterhood is reiterated as something substantial across cultures. The mother- daughter bond is best conveyed by female writers as they are at once personal and universal.
Amy tan’s debut novel, The Joy Luck Club is one of the best known Chinese- American texts that extends her fame beyond ethnic and gender labels. It documents the hardships faced by the Chinese immigrants in America and fairly exposes the convolutions of Chinese -American life. The novel is divided into four sections that reveal the episodic nature of the text. The entire text is divided into four sections entitled, “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away,” “The Twenty-six Malignant Gates,” “American Translation,” and “Queen Mother of the Western Skies.”
The prologue to each section announces the running theme that ties all stories together. “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away” details the story of a woman who attempts to bring a swan to America, expecting a new and better life. The immigration officials take her swan away and what remains with her is only a feather which she decides to give to her daughter when she is old enough to...

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...y between the daughters and the mothers.
June’s recognition of herself and her mother is an important moment as it clarifies the long held anxieties and confusions. It entails a long voyage back to her maternal origin, her home land China, to undertake a search for her lost sisters. As the novel ends, the metamorphosis of the daughters is over and they have finished the journey of cultural healing to locate their true selves. Now they are American- born girls with solid Chinese roots. They happen to realise that their legacy lies not in America where they are engulfed in, but in China that inculcates a sense of optimism, valour and pride to the Chinese immigrants in America.

Works Cited

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club, New York: Vintage Books, 1979. Print.
Xu, Yingguo. An Anthology of Chinese American Literature, Tianjin: Nankai University Press, 2004. Print.

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