They call their mah jong group the Joy Luck Club. The stories told in this novel revolve around the Joy Luck Club women and their daughters. Structurally, the novel is divided into four major sections, with two sections focusing on the stories of the mothers and two sections on the stories of the daughters.
See also Amy Tan Criticism.
It is regarded as a significant achievement in documenting the hardships and struggles of immigrants in America and in portraying the complexities of modern Chinese-American life.
To escape war and poverty, the four mothers emigrate from China to America. In the United States, they struggle to raise their American-born daughters in a vastly different culture. The novel opens with the death of Suyuan Woo, the matriarch of the Joy Luck Club, a social group of women who play the Chinese tile game mah-jongg and rely on each other for support.
Suyuan founded the club in China and later reformed it in San Francisco. Because Suyuan lost a husband and was forced to abandon her twin daughters during the Japanese invasion of China, she consistently pushed Jing-mei to succeed and make a better life for herself.
Waverly feels that Lindo takes too much credit for her success and, eventually, she accuses her mother of living vicariously through her. This confrontation causes each of them to question their own personal identity and the respect they have for each other. After her husband leaves her, Ying-Ying is forced to move in with some of her poorer relatives.
Her mother eventually commits suicide, giving An-mei a way to escape the life of a concubine. Her aunties give Jing-mei the money she needs to travel to China, affirming the healing effect of storytelling and the very real—if elusive—bond between generations.
Major Themes The major theme of The Joy Luck Club concerns the nature of mother-daughter relationships, which are complicated not only by age difference, but by vastly different upbringings.
Despite these fears, all four of the mothers attempt to give their children the best of both worlds.
The power and importance of storytelling is another significant theme in the novel. One reason the mother-daughter relationships suffer is that neither generation speaks the language of the other—literally and metaphorically.
The mothers try to compensate for this difficulty in communication by relating information through stories. However, most of the stories only frustrate their daughters, who are at a loss to interpret what they really mean.
Issues of self-worth and identity are also central to The Joy Luck Club. All of the women both mothers and daughters wrestle with their past, their present, their ethnicity, their gender, and how they view themselves, as they struggle to construct their own life story and find a place for themselves in the world.
Critical Reception Many critics have asserted that although the characters in The Joy Luck Club are Chinese-American, their struggles have a strong resonance for all people, especially women raised in America. Reviewers have studied the novel from a variety of angles and have generally agreed that the book presents a poignant, insightful examination of not only the generation gap between mothers and daughters, but of the gaps between different cultures as well.
Critics have argued that the book works as an exploration of the issues that are vital to all immigrants in America—including ethnicity, gender, and personal identity. Some reviewers have identified the mother-daughter relationships in the book as part of a growing tradition of matrilineal discourse that is becoming ever more popular in America.
One critic has even analyzed the fable-like qualities of The Joy Luck Club, interpreting it as a modern-day fairy tale. Although several reviewers have argued that the novel presents stereotypical portrayals of China and of Chinese people, many critics feel that it addresses important universal issues and themes—common to all, despite their age, race, or nationality.Mothers and the Chinese Spirit in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club The Joy Luck Club is the telling of a tale of struggle by four mothers and their four daughters trying to understand the issue of gender identity, how they each discover or lose their sense of self and what they mean to one another.
From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes The Joy Luck Club Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.
The Joy Luck Club () was the second, a third of a century later, and the latest was released a quarter century later in , Crazy Rich Asians.   In the s, after the success of the film, Disney Studios contacted Amy Tan to discuss making her second novel, The Kitchen God's Wife, into a film, a spiritual successor/sequel to the.
The Importance of Placement: Feng Shui and The Joy Luck Club Paul Quick The University of Georgia The conflicts between mothers and daughters in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club stem not only from generational differences but also from the clash of Chinese and American cultures.
Essays and criticism on Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club - The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan “Auntie” Ying-Ying grew up in a wealthy family.
Issues of self . Ying-ying St. Clair - Ying-ying is a member of the Joy Luck Club. As a child, Ying-ying was headstrong and independent. As a child, Ying-ying was headstrong and independent. Yet she slowly develops a fatalism and passivity; rarely speaking her mind, she allows her American husband, Clifford St.
Clair, to translate incorrectly her feelings and.