Comparing Chinese Culture in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club and Kitchen God's Wife

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Chinese Culture Exposed in Joy Luck Club and Kitchen God's Wife

Traditional Chinese customs are described in great detail in Amy Tan's books. This rich culture adds interesting and mesmerizing detail to the intricate stories of both The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife.

Traditions are apparent throughout all of the stories in The Joy Luck Club. One of the first instances is in the story from Ying-Ying St. Clair entitled "The Moon Lady." Ying-Ying is describing the Festival of the Moon Lady, a festival dedicated to the lady who lives on the moon and once a year comes down to earth to grant your secret wish--something you want but cannot ask. This excerpt describes proper traditional dress (ornate clothing
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Tyan-yu would be the leftover of his father's spirit. But his father lived and his grandmother became scared that the ghosts would turn their attention to this baby boy and take him instead. So they watched him carefully, made all his decisions, and he became very spoiled (44).

This passage shows that Tyan-yu is a spoiled baby who is selfish. It also shows that an unhappy marriage is in the cards for Lindo. Later, as she approaches the age of twelve, she is sent to live with Huang Taitai and Tyan-yu to become accustomed to their lifestyle and learn to be a good wife. She lives like this, unhappy, for four years until she turns sixteen. When she reaches the proper age, the wedding is planned. Lindo says

Huang Taitai made elaborate plans, but our wedding was very small. She had asked the entire village and friends and family from other cities as well. In those days, you didn't do RSVP. It was not polite not to come...The cook and her helpers prepared hundreds of dishes. My family's old furniture had been shined up into an impressive dowry and placed in the front parlor...Huang Taitai had even commissioned someone to write felicitous messages on red banners...And she had arranged to rent a red palaquin to carry me from her neighbor's house to the ceremony (52).

The last tradition that is described in great detail in this story is that of the red candle. This was a traditional wedding custom. The candle had two ends
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