Traditions, heritage and culture are three of the most important aspects of Chinese culture. Passed down from mother to daughter, these traditions are expected to carry on for years to come. In Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, daughters Waverly, Lena, Rose and June thoughts about their culture are congested by Americanization while on their quests towards self-actualization. Each daughter struggles to find balance between Chinese heritage and American values through marriage and professional careers.
June’s story dealt with the concepts of superstition and cultural differences. The beginning of the chapter, June is describing a necklace given to her by her mother. The pendant was, “too large, too green, too garishly ornate” (pg. 197. June). Her mother Suyuan entitled it the “life importance” for her daughter, but because June did not appreciate it, the reader can identify the cultural differences between the two, as well as the importance of material items. After the death of Suyuan, June begins to realize that the “life importance” is actually a testimony of love from her mother.
“For a long time, I wanted to give you this necklace. See, I wore this on my skin, so when you put it on your skin, then you know my meaning. This is your life’s importance.” (pg. 208)
By finally giving the life importance to June, Suyuan is finally expressing that she is no longer comparing June to Waverly. She is finally letting her know that she accepts her for who she is, and how great of a person she is.
In “Without Wood”, Rose Jordan was unable to find a balance between herself and her need to please everyone around her, especially her husband, Ted. Her mother believed that Rose was lacking the element Wood, translating into the fact that Rose lacks some sort of backbone and cannot think for herself sometimes. After being asked to sign divorce papers by Ted, he realizes that because she never listened to her mother, she followed a path she shouldn’t have in life.
“If you bend of listen to other people, you will grow crooked and weak…you will be like a weed, growing wild in any direction, running along the ground until someone pulls you out and throws you away.” (p. 191).
Rose is unable to fully accept...