The Joy Luck Club

2008 Words9 Pages
Nicholas Petrignani
The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan's novel The Joy Luck Club is a story of a monthly mah-jong gathering whose members consists of four Chinese mothers with American-born daughters. The novel is narrated by the four mothers and their daughters. At these meetings, the mothers share their concern of the growing rift between their daughters and Chinese customs. Each mother shares her story of her life in China and each daughter tells her story about her life in America. In The Joy Luck Club, the consistent conflict is formulated from the cultural and ideological clash between the mothers and daughters. Tensions arise out of the struggle to adapt to the American way of life when old customs are expected to be honored.
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The Joy Luck Club mothers can feel their daughter’s impression on them when they see their daughters growing impatient every time they speak Chinese; they think their daughters perceive them as being stupid because of their incapability of speaking fluent English. The language barrier that existed between them was such that both mother and daughter imperfectly translated each other words and meanings. The mothers attempted to communicate by taking classes, hand gestures and sometimes even asking their daughter to translate on their behalf.
Lena St. Clair's mother has trouble expressing herself in English. She married an English speaking man, but he expected her to learn English, while he himself put no effort in learning Chinese. In her desperate attempt, she would use hand gestures and expressed her emotions through exerting them. Most of the time the husband would not understand her and would assume what she would say but the daughter was capable of translating but could not speak the language. Because of this, Lena defines her mother as a ``displaced person`` who has difficulties expressing herself in English. In this dilemma the mothers were not capable of teaching their daughters why ``Chinese thinking is best``. Stress and frustration would accumulate from the misunderstanding and failure of understanding one another. The mother always expected the daughter to know what she was trying to get across but the mothers could not put

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