East-West Values and the Mother-daughter Relationship in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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East-West Values and the Mother-daughter Relationship in The Joy Luck Club The dominant theme of The Joy Luck Club is the clash between Chinese, American cultures, and how it affects the relationship between mothers and daughters. All of the mothers in the book were born and raised in China. All of their daughters were born and raised in the United States. Because of the differences in family traditions and values between the way the mothers had been raised in China and the way their daughters were growing up in America, there was bound to be a clash between the two generations. Perhaps the most dramatic example of how East-West conflicting traditions and values affected a mother-daughter relationship was that of Suyuan Woo and…show more content…
No singing sound,' complained my mother." June defended the girl against her mother's perfectionism: " "What are you picking on her for?' I said carelessly. "She's pretty good. Maybe she's not the best, but she's trying hard.'" The mother rejoins: " 'Just like you," she said. 'Not the best. Because you not trying.' " (Tan 136) The television show gave Suyuan a model for how June could excel and the mother worked cleaning house for a piano teacher to give June lessons and a second-hand piano for her to practice on. June is aghast at her mother's plans for her. She thought she "had been sent to hell. I whined and then kicked my foot a little when I couldn't stand it anymore." June asks, "Why don't you like me the way I am? I am not a genius! I cannot play the piano. And even if I could, I wouldn't go on TV if you paid me a million dollars!' I cried." Her mother is equally appalled by June's insolence and disobedience. Disrespect for her elders and ingratitude for what her parents were providing in the way of opportunity was unknown in a daughter from the old China. Suyuan preserved and forced June to practice but June soon found ways to subvert the system and refuse to play as well as she might have. The climax came during a talent show in a church hall. The mother invited all of her friends from the Joy Luck Club to witness her daughter's first recital. June started okay but then found that she was playing the

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