Mother-Daughter Conflict Illustrated in The Joy Luck Club Essay

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The book The Joy Luck Club is a novel written by Amy Tan, who is very famous in writing about mother-daughter relationships. There are four pairs of mothers and daughters whose stories are told in The Joy Luck Club. All of the mothers were born in China and came to America because of some kind of problem, but their daughters were born in the United States. Due to the fact that the daughters were born in the United States, they are extremely Americanized. Consequently, they do not value the Chinese heritage which their mothers valued dearly. As the daughters are growing up, this conflict between them increases. Suyuan Woo and her daughter, June or Jing-mei, two characters from the book, had major conflicts over the Chinese belief system of…show more content…
This is what Suyuan believed and lived by, whereas Jing-mei believed that she is an independent individual and is capable of making her own choices. Consequently, Jing-mei believed her mother was simply trying to push Jing-mei into someone she was not, and could never be.
Another conflict that arises from Confucianism is when Jing-mei was told to go back to China and tell her half-sisters about their mother. She said “‘what will I say? What can I tell them about my mother? I don’t know anything.’” (Tan 31). In Confucianism, very little of tradition is explicitly told from mothers to daughters in the form of text. Ritual actions are supposed to be observed, absorbed and understood in order to be preserved and handed down for posterity. But Jing-mei, who grew up in America, did not have a sense of following the tradition her mother brought to America, or rather considered the Chinese tradition to be eccentric.
Suyuan had left twin daughters in China when she was fleeing from the Japanese army during the war. They were mentioned many times in the book, but we never knew what happened to them until the very end of the novel. During times of conflict with her mother, Jing-mei would bring up what might have happened with the twin sisters—death. “‘I wish I were dead! Like them!” (Tan 153). However, in the Chinese culture and according to how Suyuan lived, it is taboo to mention the death of anyone,

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