The Joy Luck Club

Literature - The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

In "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan, analyze how Waverly learned "invisible strength" from her mother and how Waverly could recognize when her mom used it on her.

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Waverly remembers how her mother taught her "the art of invisible strength" from a very young age. This means getting what you want without asking for it or being obvious. She grew up with little means in San Francisco's Chinatown. Waverly's mother Lindo named her after the street they lived on; her formal American name is Waverly Place Jong. Lindo expected Waverly to excel at everything.

When Waverly was seven, her brother Vincent got a chess set at the church Christmas party. She became fascinated with the game, and she learned masterful strategies. She learned that the key to winning at chess is having "invisible strength," getting what you want without revealing your secrets. Then her mother started entering her in tournaments. By the time she was nine, she was a national chess champion. All she thought about outside of school was chess; her brothers had to do her chores, and she stopped playing with other children. Waverly hated the facts that her mother watched her practice and showed her off around town. One day, she told her mother not to show her off anymore and then ran off. When she finally returned home that night, her family shunned her. Alone in her room, she imagined herself vanquished by her mother in a giant, symbolic chess game, and she planned what to do next. Her mother ha turned the tables and used her "invisible strength".