the joy luck club
the joy luck club
The novel, Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan focuses on the complex relationships between Asian mothers and daughters. There are several daughters that are able to develop a type of empathy with and for their mothers. Most notably is Rose Hsu Jordan, who is Ted's wife and An-mei Hsu's daughter. At the beginning she is miserable and is a victim to both her husband and her own belief that she caused her brother's death. However, she later learns that her mother only wants for her to be happy and strong. This leads to a great deal of understanding about her mother and she is able to find her own voice and stand up to Ted. This brings she and her mother closer. Lena st. Clair (daugher of Ying-ying) often says that she and her mother have the same 'spirit' and though she doesn't always understand her mother, she does empathize with her. Her mother helps her to realize that using her as as role model is damaging and not the way to live happily.
Both Lena, Rose, and to some extent Jing=mei, change over the course of the novel. It is suggested and most likely that Waverly also changes, but it is not as evident as it is with the other girls. Jing-mei realizes how extraordinary her mother really was after her mother's death, unfortunately. But, learning the truth about her trials did change her and give her a new found strength and resolve that she hadn't had before.
All of the daughters at the end of the book have moved away from a place of disharmony and unhappiness to some semblance of personal peace. All of them have to face the question of how to be true to their culture while embracing the ways of the new culture they find themselves assimilating into. In the end, each in their own way, make their peace with being Asian as well as American. Most have come to terms with their mothers and the way they view themselves, and most have found a small amount of peace.