Relationships of Waverly Jong and Jing-mei Woo in The Joy Luck Club

699 Words 3 Pages
The Relationships of Waverly Jong and Jing-mei Woo in The Joy Luck Club

Amy Tan in her novel The Joy Luck Club presents us with daughters who are striving to place themselves beyond the control of strong mothers and become individuals. Adrienne Rich in her book Of Woman Born calls this splitting from the mother, "matraphobia" (Rich, 235), and later notes: "The mother stands for the victim in ourselves, the unfree woman, the martyr. Our personalities seem dangerously to blur and overlap with our mothers; and, in a desperate attempt to know where mother ends and daughter begins we perform radical surgery." (Rich, 236) Tan shows us two characters in her novel who consciously split from their mother when they feel unable to claim
…show more content…
Jing-mei also makes an attempt to split from her mother in order to know where she begins and her mother ends. Jing-mei perceives that her mother doesn't like her for who she is and feels her mother is always trying to change her into something she's not. Looking into the mirror one night she makes the break from her mother: "The girl staring back at me was angry, powerful. This girl and I were the same. I had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts fill with lots of won'ts. I won't let her change me, I promised myself. I won't be what I'm not." (Tan 134)

As the novel progresses, Tan shows through the various stories that this separation of mother and daughter is damaging. Because of this splitting and lack of communication between the mother and daughter, the daughters perpetuate some of the harmful gender and cultural constructions from which their mothers had hoped to protect them. An-mei Hsu
Open Document