Listen To Your Mother Joy Luck Club

1058 words - 4 pages

No child realizes in youth the unconditional love and feeling of obligation to protect their children that a mother has. As children, and even into adulthood, we tend to fight the lessons our mothers try to teach us and the advice they try to give us w ithout giving any consideration as to what life experiences of theirs may have prompted this advice. Generally we view their attempt to give advice as an intrusion into our lives and our privacy. Occasionally though, we can step back for a moment and see all the good intentions behind our mother's actions. In The Joy Luck Club, author Amy Tan tries to get the reader to take this step back. Through her use of flashbacks and the development of strong-willed characters she brings into perspective how after experiencing her own devastating tragedies, a mother will go to great lengths to teach her children the values that will protect them from their own devastating life tragedies.In the stories told by Jing-Mei, Tan weaves in flashbacks and memories of Jing-Mei's own childhood experiences, including stories she has heard of her mother Suyuan's early life in China. These stories help to explain why she teaches her daughter the v alues of optimism and determination. As the reader encounters these flashbacks, Suyuan's tragic history is revealed. When the war reaches her town, Suyuan loses everything she owns, and in an attempt to save her own life by fleeing from China she is force d to leave her two twin babies behind on the side of the road in hopes they might have a chance at a good life. Jing-Mei recalls that her mother "had come here in 1949 after losing everything in China... but she never looked back with regret. There w ere so many ways for things to get better"(132). As Suyuan's past is revealed, the reader can not help but realize her determination, optimism, and strong will as she perseveres against the odds to establish a better life in America. Suyuan tries to pass on her virtues of determination, optimism, and perseverance to her American born daughter Jing-Mei. Jing-Mei's mother sees American movie stars performing on the television set and believes that with hard work and practice her daughter can aspire to the same stardom. Despite the constant protests of her daughter, Suyuan forces her to practice the piano. Though for Jing-Mei this may seem like pointless torture, her mother only intends for this to help her daughter learn how to be optimistic and determ ined regardless of what. challenges she may face in life. When learning to play the piano Jing-Mei's mother never expected her to become a genius and told her in broken English: "Only ask you be your best. For you sake"(136). By encouraging her to be her best, Suyuan wants to teach her daughter to be the best she can be and never have to regret not trying. The reader is able to recognize that Suyuan's intention was like that of most mothers: not to make her daughter's life miserable, but to help her. By teaching her daughter the values...

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