The Search for Identity in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club Essay

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The Search for Identity in The Joy Luck Club  

      When Chinese immigrants enter the United States of America, it is evident from the start that they are in a world far different than their homeland. Face to face with a dominant culture that often times acts and thinks in ways contrary to their previous lives, immigrants are on a difficult path of attempting to become an American. Chinese immigrants find themselves often caught between two worlds: the old world of structured, traditional and didactic China and the new world of mobile, young and prosperous America. They nostalgically look back at China longing for a simpler life but look at the United States as a land of opportunity and freedom that they did not know in China. For this is why they came to America in the first place, to provide for their children and themselves what they could not in China. To do this, of course, they are faced with the challenge of assimilating. Learning the language, acquiring education, owning property, etc. are all ways to seize the American Dream. However this poses a problem for the Chinese immigrant for, in the process of assimilation, they lose some of their Chinese culture. This especially rings true for the children of Chinese immigrants: the second-generation Chinese Americans.

Second-generation Chinese Americans are faced with a special challenge. Their parents have endured the struggle to come to this coun...

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... October 19%.: 256,257.

Shear, Walter. "Generational Differences and the Diaspora." Critigue Spring 1993: 193-199.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Vintage Contemporaries. New York: A Division of Random House, Inc., 199 1.

Tsai, Shan-Shan Henry. The Chinese Experience in America. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1986.

Xu, Ben. "Memory and the Ethnic Self. Reading Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club."Meleus. Spring 1994: 3 -16.

Yung, Judy. Chinese Women in America: A Pictorial History. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1989.

(several found in Gale Literary Database t)v-(


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