The Joy Luck Club By: Amy Tan
PowerPoint By: Megan Willis
Plot The Joy Luck Club is a book of vignettes about four families of mother-daughter relationships. These relationships tied in together and explained the importance of family history and passing on the stories of your heritage. Each family goes through trials and tribulations that make them stronger and show how difficult it is to adapt to a Chinese American lifestyle. The mothers tried to teach their daughters how to appreciate where they came from and why it’s important to never let the family spirit die.
Themes Amy Tan uses themes of identity, cultural importance, and cultural assimilation throughout her book. She explains how her characters still had to be their own person, despite what their parents wanted them to do. Many of the characters had mothers who tried to live their own dreams through their daughters. Mrs. Tan influenced the importance of representing your roots and remembering where you came from through the mother’s stories. She also ties together Chinese culture and American life into one aspect because the daughters are all Chinese American.
Personal View My personal view of the book was that it showed the importance of staying true to yourself but always remembering where you came from. I personally enjoyed the book and the vignette style. Each character and story had a deeper meaning and it helped me understand why so man immigrants have a hard time adapting to cultural changes.
Characters » Jing-mei (June) Woo » Suyuan Woo » Lindo Jong
» Waverly Jong » An-mei Hsu » Rose Hsu » Ying-ying St. Clair » Lena St. Clair
The Woo Family Jing-mei was left to discover secrets of her mother, Suyuan’s past after she passed away. She was also left to take her mother’s place at the mahjong table in an organization her mother started.
The Jong Family Waverly and her mother had a difficult relationship throughout most of her young life. Waverly was constantly looking for her independence while her mother kept pushing her own dreams on her. Lindo and Waverly eventually find ways to work around their differences and see each other as two separate people instead of as Waverly being an offspring of Lindo.
The Hsu Family Rose has always thought that her marriage to Ted would be easy. He was always the decision maker and Rose was okay with that. Her mother however, saw fault in Rose’s inability to make decisions for herself and her relationship with her mother and her marriage could be in trouble because of it.
The St. Clair Family Lena married a man her mother thought she would have a difficult marriage with. Ying-ying tried to warn her about trials that could be coming her way but Lena knew her mother was right. Some things just couldn’t be avoided but could her marriage be saved?
Amy Tan Amy Tan was born on February 19, 1952 in Oakland, California. Both of her parents immigrated here from China. Amy lost her brother and father to brain tumors before her mother decided to move the family to Switzerland. Amy finished school in Switzerland and came back to the United States for college. She met her husband, Louis DeMattei while in college and married shortly after. Though she’s dipped into a few different careers, she is most satisfied with fiction writing.
Other Works If you enjoyed The Joy Luck Club, you might want to check out a few other works by Amy Tan such as: » The Kitchen God’s Wife » The Bonesetter’s Daughter » The Hundred Secret Senses
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