Mother-daughter Relations and Clash of Cultures in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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Amy Tan is an American Born Chinese, daughter of immigrants, and her family shares many features with the families depicted in her novels. Tan's novels offer some glimpses of life in China while developing the themes of mother-daughter relations, cultural adaptation and "women with a past". Tan’s novels share many themes and elements, but this paper will focus mainly on two episodes of the novel The Joy Luck Club: "The Joy Luck Club" and "Waiting Between the Trees"; and will make references to The Kitchen's God Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses. In the first place, mother-daughter relations between Chinese mothers and ABC daughters are not easy ones in Tan's novels. They are always problematic. Mothers want to bring up…show more content…
This education, seen from the other side of the cultural gap, is what makes Lena see her mother as a weak person. Lena has a job, an American husband, she lives an American life, unlike her mother, who is attached to weird old disused Chinese traditions. But she herself is not happy, as her mother can see. Her husband is not as good as he might be: he exploits her, paying her a too low wage, never recognizes her contribution to their success as architects,... On the other hand, Ying- Ying marriage, although imperfect, is based on firmer grounds of respect and goodness towards each other than that of Lena. But the main problem between mothers and daughters in Amy Tan's novels is the lack of communication. As will be discussed below, mothers usually have some terrible hidden secret, something that even her closest relatives ignore. In "The Joy Luck Club" is the fact that Suyuan Woo had been formerly married and had two lost children in China in The Kitchen's God Wife, we have the same again; and, finally, in The Hundred Secret Senses, the father is the one who had a secret past life, but here also the relationship between mother and daughter are somewhat problematic. Olivia is not very close to her mother, who used to care more about finding an exotic partner than for her children. This lack of communication, nevertheless, is not exclusive to Chinese-American families. The "generational gap" can be detected in any

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