Amy Tan struggled with many issues caused by her dual cultures, which she expressed thoroughly in her works. Daisy and John Tan were post war immigrants and the parents of Amy Tan (Amy Tan). Tan was given the Chinese name An-Mei, which stands for blessings from America (McCarthy). To them she was the blessing that they had received after their own struggles. Tan’s father came to America after WWII to become a minister (Amy Tan). Even though it seemed like Tan’s life was running smoothly tragedy struck. Both Tan’s father and older brother died of a brain tumor when Tan was only fifteen years old (Wiener 27). In her works, Amy Tan focuses on the struggles that Chinese-American women face in mother-daughter relationships, their struggles to control their cultural identity and the tragedy that accelerates the broken relationship.
Before coming to America, Tan’s mother had been forced into a marriage (Amy Tan). She divorced her first husband and went to America to marry Tan’s father, whom she had met in China during WWII (Martin). When Tan’s mother, Daisy, came to the United States, she had to leave her young children behind with the chance that one day she would be able to go back for them. Daisy’s children from her first marriage stayed in China while Daisy came to America (McCarthy). Tan models the story of her half-sisters being left behind by their mother in The Joy Luck Club. In the story, Suyuan Woo had to give up her daughters when she left China while facing many obstacles trying to find them (Wiener 25-27).Although Daisy did not have any remorse in leaving her family behind including her two daughters (Showalter 789). In The Hundred Secret Senses, Olivia’s father came from China to America seeking a better life but had no choice in leaving his daughter Kwan behind.
Daisy wanted a daughter that would listen to her and follow orders (Showalter 797). To a mother, a daughter is the one thing that shows of her life’s work. The daughters, in return, view their mothers with respect. A mother teaches her daughter the Chinese background in hopes that one day when she is no longer here; her descendants will still remember who she was (Wiener 62-63). Tan shows that daughters do not care about their mother’s past, which causes the daughter to become selfish (Parini 294). In Daisy’s eyes, compliant and non-compliant daughters were the only two kinds of daughters that existed (Showalter 797). From Tan’s rebellious childhood, she was seen as the non-compliant daughter.
The main reason for the huge crack in the mother-daughter relationship is due to the joint culture that they share and their conflicting opinions on their joint cultures (Parini 294). Communication problems with their mothers, in Tan’s writings, are due to the daughters of Chinese mothers wanting to be more American than Chinese (Tan The Opposite of Fate…. 22). Mothers who have immigrated to America face language barriers and feel the pressure of their new culture (Wiener 22). To a...