Joy Luck Club Analysis

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In Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, there are multitudes of social occasions on which a character can be changed as a result. One of these social occasions is when An-Mei’s mother commits suicide and dies in front of the household. As a result of her mother’s death, An-Mei realizes that she needs not suppress her sorrows and remain reticent as her culture defines it, but should develop and assert her own convictions. This event reinforces the message that tradition is vital for people to connect with each other, it is just as necessary for individuals to develop free thought. Tradition is vital for the initial growth of objectives and beliefs, but having tradition as a sole perspective will only come to eliminate autonomy and limit the maturity of ideas. When An-Mei was a child, she was taught disciplined shou, a deep respect for her parents, elders, and ancestors. An-Mei’s grandmother, her primary maternal figure, would often tell her parables to cement this traditional Chinese belief early in her life, often concluding with moral-like statements such as, “Your own thoughts are so busy swimming inside that everything else gets pushed out” (43), and “If you are greedy, what is inside you is what makes you always hungry” (43). Not only do these statements reinforce the primary teaching of shou, to have respect for one’s elders, but also instills in An-Mei a fear of thinking and acting for herself. As a result, An-Mei is completely driven by her superego in her early life. In

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