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 …show more content…
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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Throughout Jing-mei’s life, though she does not realize it, the people she interacts with and the trials she goes through all help her discover who she is, and help her find her own path in life. Not only does she learn who she is, but she also learns more about her mother; which helps her understand why her mother says and acts the way that she does. This knowledge of her mother helps Jing-mei realize that she needs to compromise with her mother sometimes, and she becomes more willing to embrace her
She was my mother,” (31). Jing-Mei says this to her aunts after her mother had died, and she had to take your position in joy luck. She felt like she never really knew her mother because of their miscommunication. Suyuan Woo, Jing-Mei’s mother, had many hopes and good intentions for her daughter. While Jing-Mei wanted to be herself and still please her mother, Suyuan wanted her daughter to be a child prodigy. Always wanting the best for her daughter, Suyuan hoped Jing-Mei would one day become an extraordinary pianist. Although Jing-Mei played the piano, she never put forth much effort into the music because her best was not good enough for her mother. Nonetheless, she stopped playing the piano. “I could only be me,” (154). She could not be something that she was not; she could not live up to her mother’s expectations. This symbolized one of Jing-Mei’s songs, “Pleading Child.” Suyuan continues to put all the pressure on Jing-Mei so that she will not become like her mother for all the reasons she had come to America; hopes for a better life.
In the Joy Luck Club, the author Amy Tan, focuses on mother-daughter relationships. She examines the lives of four women who emigrated from China, and the lives of four of their American-born daughters. The mothers: Suyuan Woo, An-Mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-Ying St. Clair had all experienced some life-changing horror before coming to America, and this has forever tainted their perspective on how they want their children raised. The four daughters: Waverly, Lena, Rose, and Jing-Mei are all Americans. Even though they absorb some of the traditions of Chinese culture they are raised in America and American ideals and values. This inability to communicate and the clash
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
The complexitities of any mother-daughter relationship go much deeper then just their physical features that resemble one another. In Amy Tan’s novel The Joy Luck Club, the stories of eight Chinese women are told. Together this group of women forms four sets of mother and daughter pairs. The trials and triumphs, similarities and differences, of each relationship with their daughter are described, exposing the inner makings of four perfectly matched pairs. Three generations of the Hsu family illustrate how both characteristics and
Also, their relationship is shaped by the pressure Suyuan puts on her daughter. When Jing-Mei was growing up, her mother had the need for her daughter to be smart, talented, and a respectful Chinese daughter. This pressure put on Jing-Mei resulted in misunderstanding between mother and daughter. Jing-Mei constantly believed, “that she was disappointing her mother,” because she felt as if she failed at everything her mother wanted her to do. She believed she could never be as perfect as her mother was. Therefore she doesn’t think she is worthy enough to take her mother’s place at the Joy Luck Club “They must wonder now how someone like me can take my mother’s place” (Tan, 27). Jing-Mei does not understand that her mother wanted the best for her; Suyuan wanted Jing-Mei to challenge herself because that is how one builds up character. Suyuan thinks her daughter could do anything she proposed to do but never put enough effort into anything “Lazy to rise to expectations” (Tan 31). Furthermore, Suyuan forced Jing-Mei to learn how to play the piano and then perform at a recital. Jing-Mei rebelled against her mother and refused to learn how to play the piano well. So, at the recital she ends up forgetting the music notes. Jing-Mei blames her embarrassment on her mother and states,
In the novel The Joy Luck Club written by Amy Tan, there are several stories that intertwine into one novel. Each of the stories takes place China where the roles and the actions of woman are vastly different compared to American tradition. In the different stories, they all are about different mothers and daughters. Throughout the book, the reader can see the development in each relationship between mother and daughter with their conflicting backgrounds from China to America.
Early in childhood Jing Mei dreamed of finding her prodigy and being a famous Chinese American, mostly because of the views and actions her mother placed on her. Her mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America. (pg 405) Her mother was always pushing new tests and talents on Jing Mei. She even went as far as having her daughter Jing Mei models her physical appearance and actions after a child-star Shirley Temple. Her other was always testing her with many different things trying to discover Jing Mei’s talent. Later Jing Mei started to feel like her mother was just trying to make her into someone she was not and started to just fail and not try to do anything right hoping her mother would give up. When her mother died she had realized what her mother had been trying to do. Her mother had only wanted her to do her best. She had then to realize what her mother had
At the end of the story, Jing Mei switches her narration from that of a child to that of the adult allowing the reader to see the "adult" perspective on her life. No longer is the relationship between Jing Mei and her mother antagonistic. With the offering of the piano, the mother tells her, "You have natural talent. You could have been genius if you want to" (Tan 1). Jing Mei states that she couldn’t. Then her mother states, "You just not trying" (Tan 1). Her mother bore her no anger or sadness when she made these statements and Jing Mei gave no argument in return.
Jing-Mei feels differently though, “Unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to. I could only be me,” (359/80) and she was correct for she had no natural musical talent. Jing-Mei has a desire to please her mother, but an even stronger one to choose her own life. She pacifies her mother by going to piano lessons but puts in no effort. Jing-Mei is “…determined to put a stop to her blind foolishness,” (356/48) but her mother’s desire to create a prodigy to compete with Aunt Lindo’s daughter, keeps her focused on the impossible. That is, until Jing-Mei escalates this conflict to its breaking point in rebellion. Stunning her mother, she shouts “Then I wish I’d never been born! I wish I were dead! Like them,” (359/77) referring to the twin daughters her mother lost in China. Sadly, the mother’s desire to have Jing-Mei conform to her expectations creates a constant battle between mother and daughter, and, in rejecting those expectations, seeing disappointment in her mother’s face all too often causes Jing-Mei to feel, “something inside me began to die” (353/18).
Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club is a novel that deals with many controversial issues. These issues unfold in her stories about four Chinese mothers and their American raised daughters. The novel begins with the mothers talking about their own childhood’s and the relationship that they had with their mothers. Then it focuses on the daughters and how they were raised, then to the daughters current lives, and finally back to the mothers who finish their stories. Tan uses these mother-daughter relationships to describe conflicts of history, culture, and identity and how each of these themes are intertwined with one another through the mothers and
However, her mother sees it as a way for her daughter to be the best. Meanwhile, Jing-mei decides to rebel against her mother’s wishes. During piano lessons with Mr. Chong she realizes easy ways to get out of practicing.
It is hard to let our children to choose their own dreams. When parents show constant disappointment in their children, children can eventually become disappointed in themselves. Seeing her mothers disappointment over and over again starts killing something inside of her. Jing Mei breaks down, “I looked at my reflection, blinking so I could see more clearly. The girls staring back at me was angry, powerful. This girl and I were the same. I had thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with wont’s. I won’t let her change me, I promised myself. I won’t be what I’m not“ (19). Hopes for making your parents proud can shatter after so much pressure as did Jing Mei’s.