Biculturalism in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club Essay

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Biculturalism Exposed in Joy Luck Club  

     America does not have a culture. The established American society is made up of multicultural peoples that are forced into assimilation by social pressure. Webster's dictionary defines biculturalism as the existence of two distinct cultures in one nation. I am a prime example of biculturalism in America. My mother was born and raised in another country and her daughter was raised far away in the United States. The novel "Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan illustrates biculturalism in America and the profound impact it had on the main character's life and is paralleled, in many ways by my own.


Asian and American cultural ideas and beliefs differ in many ways. The American culture values freedom as an individualistic society. In America you can question authority because everyone is held accountable for his or her own actions and your self-motivation is what will make or break you. In contrast the Chinese / Asian culture is that of a collectivist society. You see yourself as a small part of the whole. The whole is your family or you nation. You trust that others above you know what is best and you have respect for those above you. They value hard work. You work hard and then you work hard some more and when you think you have tried you hardest at what you want you try hard again not just for yourself but for family and nation. Another contrast is the level of respect. In Chinese society you respect everyone older than you especially your parents. In America respect is all relative to your own family and is not an essential part of those relationships.


Biculturalism has consciously effected my life and self-perceptions but for the main character of Amy Tan's novel (Jin...

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... pieces of music and find that they are two halves of one whole piece.


Works Cited and Consulted:

Dorris, Michael. "Mothers and Daughters." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 59. Ed. Roger Matuz. Detroit: Gale, 1990.

Schell, Orville. " 'Your Mother Is In Your Bones'." Contemporary Short Criticism. Vol. 59. Ed. Roger Matuz. Detroit: Gale, 1990.

Tan, Amy. "Joy Luck Club." The Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Tavernise, Peter. "Fasting of the Heart: Mother-Tradition and Sacred Systems in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club." America Online. Online. 15 Mar. 1998.

Willard, Nancy. "Tiger Spirits." Contemporary Short Criticism. Vol. 59. Ed. Roger Matuz. Detroit: Gale, 1990. 97-98.

Wang, Qun. The Joy Luck Club. Masterplots. 2nd ed. Vol. 6. Ed. Frank N. Magill. California: Salem Press, 1996. 3357.


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