The Joy Luck Club

Mother-Daughter Evolution in The Joy Luck Club

Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club provides a realistic depiction of Chinese mothers and their Chinese-American daughters struggling in relationships strained by tragedy, lack of communication, and unreasonable expectations. Tan criticizes mothers who intend to instill Chinese values while supplying American opportunities. The result is daughters becoming too Americanized and materialistic. Living in America demands a particular way of life that dictates the rules of success socially and professionally. These concerns show in the daughters’ embarrassment of their mothers’ traditional Chinese behavior and appearance. Each relationship progresses, though Jing-Mei and Suyuan show the greatest development. Jing-Mei narrates the mother and daughter chapters and possesses an elevated comprehension of forgiveness even after her mother’s death. She is constantly trying to prove her worth while Suyuan has found that her daughter is endowed with selflessness, considered a “best quality.” Compared to the others, their relationship is most resolved because Jing-Mei meets her half sisters and defines herself in the process.

The first example of improvement is Jing-Mei’s reaction to her mother’s death in terms of participating in the Joy Luck Club. She...

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