Chinese and American Women in Joy Luck Club Novel and Film

Joy Luck Club is a novel written by Amy Tan. The novel mainly highlights on lives of four Chinese women Suyuan Woo, An-Mei Hsu, Lindo Jong and Ying-Yingv ‘Betty’ with their daughters Jing-Mei ‘June’ Woo, Rose Hsu Jordan, Waverly Jong and Lena Saint Clair. They fled from the immense hardships they experienced in China. These Chinese American immigrants start making a livelihood from their Joy Luck Club in California. They introduced a traditional Chinese game called Mahjong. The game is played for money. The mothers represent the Chinese culture and perspective, while the daughters symbolize the American born women.

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The life of the women in the novel can be compared to women in the United States in the following perspectives. First, the mothers and daughters in Joy Luck Club have a bond that seems to join their flesh and spirit nature as one. We see the women taking different roles in society and staying in touch with their daughters. American women are distant from their daughters. American women have a right to divorce, get high profile jobs, unlike the obedient Chinese women who are subservient to their husbands and seldom challenge authority.

We also see how Chinese women differ with American women in the following way. The hopes and dreams of the women in are explicitly told in the story of the swan. It is a metaphorical symbolism of America’s Destiny and Dream. The kind women prefer to offer the best opportunities to their daughters, but it brings confusion and rivalry among them. In page 239 the daughters are given a message hope that they may lose their innocence but not their hope. (Tan 239). We see how the mothers want their daughters to be partly assimilated to American culture, for example, Suyuan wishes her daughter to apes the personality of Shirley Temple. The daughters who are born in the state disconnect themselves from the Chinese cultures that are appraised by the Chinese born women. They both have a problem identifying themselves with a stable culture.

In addition, the Chinese women view love and marriage as a permanent necessity where women are obliged to submit to their husbands. It is not necessary that marriage should be based on love, but a social requirement. This is very contrary to the American brought up women who see marriage as an important aspect that should be based on truth and dear love. A similar challenge they both face is their hungry quest for true love. To find answers, we see Suyan fleeing and divorcing his husband, a similar trend taken by the American women. Despite this trend and misfortunes they encounter with their husbands, the daughters and mothers bond together. This bond stretches into to eternity through special love as they struggle to make their ends meet.

Lastly, the women differ in the way they converse. Language seems to differentiate between the American brought up daughters and the Chinese women. It is a barrier that gives a difference of status. When the Chinese women speak in mispronounced English they seem uneducated.

This becomes a barrier to conveying of messages from them to their daughters. The ideas brought up by the Chinese women in a language that cannot be translated like chihang and chunwang disconnects child and mother. Even we see some important messages which are not conveyed. The comparison is that the English language spoken by the American woman is seen as superior and fine to be used while the Chinese language is for the mothers. Contrary to this Jing-Mei succeeds in her trip by the help of the Chinese language.

In conclusion, the four families move from their home land where there are hostilities and settle in San Francisco to better their lives. The novel Joy Luck Club is a story of self discovery and endurance and the challenges brought by different cultures that compare and contrasts the different lives led by the women.

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Works Cited

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York, NY: Penguin, 2006. Print.

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