Mother Daughter Relationships - Daughter Pushed to the Brink in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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A Daughter Pushed to the Brink in Joy Luck Club

In Amy Tan's novel, Joy Luck Club, the mother of Jing-mei recognizes only two kinds of daughters: those that are obedient and those that follow their own mind. Perhaps the reader of this novel may recognize only two types of mothers: pushy mothers and patient mothers. The two songs, "Pleading Child" and "Perfectly Contented," which the daughter plays, reinforce the underlying tension in the novel. These songs represent the feelings that the daughter, Jing-mei, has had throughout her life.

The mother in this novel is pushy. She wants her daughter to become a child prodigy so badly she can practically taste it. She makes Jing-mei perform tests out of magazines to see if she
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Jing-mei did not want to have anything to do with her mother's plans for her to become a child prodigy, but goes along because she can't quite say no to her mother yet.

Soon after her lessons begin with Mr. Chong, she finds out that he is deaf. This means that he could not hear when she played a wrong note. So during her lessons, she purposely didn't try. And if she hadn't practiced enough, she could get away with it by just keeping a smooth, steady pace. She kept playing the wrong notes and he didn't even realize it: Mr. Chong just kept going on with the lessons.

About a year later, Mr. Chong and Jing-mei's mother wanted her to play in a talent show that was going to be held at the church. Jing-mei was going to play a piece called "Pleading Child." Her parents invited just about everyone they knew to come and watch their daughter in her moment of glory. When Jing-mei's time came to play her piece, she was so proud of the way she looked that she wasn't even worried about how she was going to sound. She walked up to the bench, sat down, and just started playing away. Then it hit her. She didn't know the piece, and just about every note she hit was wrong.

When she was finished, she knew what she had done had been awful. She stood up, did her curtsey, and slowly walked back to her seat. She tried not to cry as she felt every eye in the room fixed upon her, and as she endured the pain from some of the negative comments some people sitting

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