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Mother Daughter Relationships - Family Relations in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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Family Relations in The Joy Luck Club

 
    One passage, from the novel The Joy Luck Club, written by Amy Tan, reveals the complex relations and emotions that are involved in families. This passage concerns the story of four Chinese women and their daughters.  The author leads the reader through the experiences of the mothers as they left China and came to America.  The daughters have been raised in America, as Americans.  This is what the mothers had wanted although it also causes them great distress.  This is illustrated in the passage I have chosen.
  “My daughter wanted to go to China for her second honeymoon, but now  she is afraid.
  “What if I blend in so well they think I’m one of them?”  Waverly asked  me.  “What if they don’t let me come back to the United States?”
  “When you go to China,” I told her, “you don’t even need to open your  mouth.  They already know you are an outsider.”
  “What are you talking about?” she asked.  My daughter likes to speak  back.  She likes to question what I say.
  “Aii-ya”, I said.  “Even if you put on their clothes, even if you take off your  makeup and hide your fancy jewelry, they know.  They know just watching the  way you walk, the way you carry your face.  They know you do not belong.”
  My daughter did not look pleased when I told her this, that she didn’t look  Chinese.  She had a sour American look on her face.  Oh, maybe ten years ago, she  would have clapped her hands - hurray! - as if this were good news.  But now she  wants to be Chinese, it is so fashionable.  And I know it is too late.  All those years  I tried to teach her!  She followed my Chinese ways only until she learned how to  walk out the door by herself and go to school.  So now the only Chinese ...


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...mes, for all members, but it is also a support network that can be beneficial for everyone.  I think that as the daughters got older they realized more and more how important family is, even though it can be a source of frustration at times.

Works Cited and Consulted

Feng, Pin-chia. "Amy Tan." Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 173: American Novelists since World War II. Fifth Series.

 Gale Reseach, 1996: 281 -289.

Heung, Marina. "Daughter-Text/Mother-Text: Matrilineage in Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club." Feminist Studies. Fall 1993: 597 - 613.

Schell, Orville. "Your Mother is in Your Bones." The New York Times Book Review. 19 March 1989: 3,28.

Seaman, Donna, Amy Tan. "The Booklist Interview: Amy Tan."' Booklist. I October 19%.: 256,257.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Vintage Contemporaries. New York: A Division of Random House, Inc., 1991. 


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