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Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club".

2892 words - 12 pages

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan explores the different mother-daughter relationships between the characters, and at a lower level, relationships between friends, lovers, and even enemies. The mother-daughter relationships are most likely different aspects of Tan's relationship with her mother, and perhaps a figment of her imagination. In this book, she presents the conflicting views and the stories of both sides, providing the reader and ultimately the characters with an understanding of the mentalities of both mother and daughter, and why each one is the way she is. Amy Tan explores the difficulties in growing up as a Chinese-American and the problems assimilating into modern society. The Chinese-American daughters try their best to become "Americanized," at the same time casting off their heritage while their mothers watch on, troubled. Social pressures to become like everyone else, and not to be different are what motivated the daughters to resent their nationality. They didn't try to comprehend their culture, which was a big part of understanding their traditional Chinese mothers. The swan feather in the beginning of the book was a symbol of all hopes and dreams that the mother wanted to give to her daughter. This woman crossing a vast ocean, with only the company of a swan, she was not scared but yet motivated. She dreams for her daughter, and this dream is the driving force of her actions. She is moved to realize this dream, that she was not even aware of the potential bad outcomes. There was no talk about hoping to have a daughter it was already destined, "I will have a daughter just like me...and she will always be too full to swallow any sorrow", the sorrow that the woman was taught t swallow (3-4). There was no single thought of failure in her mind. Her dreams instilled blind faith in her, and inherent optimism. The swan feather was a symbol of Chinese culture that only brought good intentions; it was not a symbol for failure, but for hope. The swan grew up to be more than it was expected to be and became "too beautiful to eat" (3). But when it was taken away, the only thing that was left was a feather, a symbol of something that was meant to be nothing but became more. It was a symbol for the mothers; it was what they wanted their children to become, more then what they were in China. The attitudes of the daughters changed as the girls matured and came to realize that their mothers weren't so different all. The relationships between the mothers and daughters were very conflictive. They reflected a great deal of the way in which mothers act towards their daughters and vice versa. The book shows a very realistic view of the mother and daughter relationships in our modern world by depicting the mothers living through their daughters. Through the relationship between Suyuan and her daughter, Amy Tan clearly suggests Chinese mothers rely on success to establish status. Suyuan was a strong and willful woman who refused to focus on her...

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