The Joy Luck Club Chapter 10, Waverly Jong, Four Directions
Waverly took Lindo out to lunch, and Lindo complained and criticized throughout the meal. Waverly is humiliated, and realizes that there will never be a good time to tell her mother that she is marrying Rich Schields. Waverly's friends don't understand why she should be so afraid of her mother. Waverly just says it has something to do with her mother being Chinese--she knows how to hurt her daughter like no one else, with only a few words. Waverly knows that her mother has avoided meeting Rich, or even talking about him. After their lunch, she took Lindo to her apartment, hoping to let her know there that she and Rich are getting married. She knows that her mother will not be able to ignore the evidence of Rich all over the house. But Lindo does ignore it, saying only, "You are busy. You want to live like mess what can I say?" Chapter 10, pg. 169 She also insults the mink coat Rich gave Waverly. Waverly is hurt, and remembers the first time her mother wounded her this way.
When she was ten, Waverly was a very talented chess player, and she hated that her mother took the credit for it. When she finally told her mother this, her mother didn't speak to her for days. To teach her a lesson, Waverly stopped playing chess. But soon she missed the game, so she tried to act as if she was giving in and told her mother she would play again. Her mother screamed at her that it was not so easy. Confused and hurt, Waverly went to her room and tried to lose herself in the game. That night she had a fever, and got chicken pox. Her mother took care of her, but Waverly saw soon after that Lindo had somehow changed. She no longer cared as much about Waverly's tournaments. And soon Waverly began to lose. She hated herself for losing, so she gave up the game when she was fourteen. No one protested.
Waverly tries to explain to a friend why she cannot argue with her mother. She is afraid of her mother's power to destroy things that Waverly once thought were good. She was completely in love with her first husband, until her mother began to tell her little flaws she noticed. Soon, Waverly began to dislike and then grow bored with him. The only thing that remains of their marriage is their daughter Shoshanna, who Waverly at first didn't want but now loves deeply. She knows that Rich loves her the same way. He is kind and honest and direct, and he makes her feel loved just for being herself. But still, Waverly tries to protect herself and Rich from her mother's critical eye. Finally, she comes up with a plan to get her mother to meet Rich so she will learn how wonderful he is. She takes him to dinner at Suyuan's house, and tells Suyuan that Rich said he had never tasted such good Chinese food. Waverly knows her mother will not be able to resist the competition, and sure enough, the next day she and Rich receive an invitation to dinner at Lindo's house. Waverly makes Rich promise to tell Lindo that her cooking was better than Suyuan's. But the meal is a disaster. Lindo hates the way Rich looks, and Rich doesn't understand Chinese table manners. He takes too much food, and does not compliment Lindo the way he is expected to. He doesn't even see how badly the evening went.
Waverly begins to see all the bad things her mother sees in Rich. She realizes she has to do something, so she abruptly goes to her parents' house the next morning. She breathlessly tells her mother about the engagement. Her mother tells her she already knows. When Waverly tries to ask her mother why she hates Rich so much, Lindo denies having any bad feelings toward him. She says she understands what Waverly is going through: half of her is from her father's side, honest but stingy people, and half from her mother's side, who were great warriors. Waverly begins to think that they are connecting, but then she gets the name of her mother's birthplace wrong. They both sit silently for a while, but then her mother forgives her and they begin to laugh together. "I saw what I had been fighting for: it was for me, a scared child..." Chapter 10, pg. 183 She sees that her mother is, for all her insults, basically harmless.
Waverly and Rich postpone the wedding. He and Lindo are becoming friends, and they take her advice but also keep her at a distance. They are going to China for their honeymoon, and Lindo wants to come along. Waverly partly hates the idea, and partly likes it.