Complexities of Love Exposed in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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The Complexities of Love Exposed in The Joy Luck Club

 

In the novel "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan, the ignorance, the disregard of, and the necessity of love are all reveled as the characters tell their life stories and memories. The characters in the novel take love for granted. By ignoring love, concentrating more on material possessions, and hiding their true identities, the characters don't realize love's importance.

 

One character that takes love for granted is Harold, Lena St. Clair's husband. This occurs when Lena leans over to him in their car and states "I love you." He responds by asking Lena a question about his car, which seems to be more important to him than his relationship with her. Harold does not realize the importance of love. He only thinks about material possessions. Since Harold does not revealing his true nature, he reveals that he has a lack of love for himself as an individual. The love you have for yourself is a necessity in life because it provides self-respect; if one respects oneself, one will respect and love others.

 

The story of Lindo Jong provides insight into the concept of revealing your true nature. To "keep everything inside" as does Lindo Jong, provides for not being able to experience love to its fullest. Lindo Jong hides "under a red marriage scarf" in attempt to shield herself from the outside world. Her "hiding under the scarf" demonstrates that to be able to love, you must be able to first reveal your true nature. Ying-Ying St. Clair stands as an example of the desire to remain hidden as she says, "All these years I kept my true nature hidden, running along like a small shadow so nobody could catch me." The image of the shadow relates directly to the red marriage scarf. They both attempt to provide the concealment of their true natures, because the result of revealing your true self may be that of "pain".

 

The importance of love goes unnoticed as the characters take love for granted and expect it to naturally come to them. The ceasing of taking love for granted does occur later and has its results and consequences. The characters realize that they are taking love for granted when they feel meaningless and uncomfortable, and stop doing so by either ending the relationship or confronting the problem.

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By not taking love for granted and realizing "there's absolutely nothing left to save" in her marriage, Rose Hsu Jordan recognizes that she must divorce her husband. Rose Hsu Jordan does not feel comfortable with her life and feels that she is living under false pretences. She comprehends that she is not what she continually pretends to be. Therefore, she stops taking love for granted and ignoring it, and instead moves on to a better, more comfortable life with a feeling of being needed.

 

Lindo Jong compares love to a hill and as to heaven. This hill symbolizes the steps that she must take to truly attain love and enter heaven, her comparison to happiness and a comfortable lifestyle. Love proves hard to attain but Lindo Jong learns to embrace it and accept it as best she can. The "pained feeling" at the "beginning of love" provides insight into the revelation of the true nature of the character. This pained feeling, the lifting of the scarf or the shadow, opens the door to the true nature of the character. This love provides better understanding and a better love of your own character. It makes the people more comfortable with themselves and makes them feel important, needed, and loved.


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