Model Minorities And The Joy Luck Club

1019 words - 5 pages

By 1980, the majority of immigrants in America came from Asia and Latin America, with over 30,000 immigrating from China (Tindall 1344). Many of these Chinese immigrants arrived to experience a democracy immediately following the Communist victory in 1949, while others simply came to seek higher education for subjects they could not pursue in a developing country, each reason fueled by a desire to achieve the American Dream (Liu). Despite the promise of the American Dream, children of Chinese immigrants suffer from many problems arising from the many stereotypes and their misrepresentation as a “model minority” by native-born Americans. Amy Tan exemplifies this discrepancy between Chinese ...view middle of the document...

Asian Americans are generalized as being only good for scholastic achievement and, according to a study by Princeton University in 2009, Asian-Americans score on average 140 points higher than White people on any kind of standardized test (Keith). Grace Liu, whose parents have spent the majority of their lives in America after coming for their college education, explains that self motivation has influenced her to achieve success in school (Liu). Liu’s self motivation, as well as the Princeton study, starkly contrast with Jing-Mei who is viewed as a failure for being a college drop-out and “[failing] to become a concert pianist, or even an accompanist for the church youth choir” (Tan 49). This dissimilarity of American and Chinese views on education can explain why “immigrant Chinese students [are] significantly less happy than both American born Chinese and early immigrant Chinese” (Wong). Those who immigrate early or are 2nd generation immigrants are happier and have a more optimistic view on education than those who immigrate later, explaining why Jing-Mei’s mother pressures her to be successful.

Displays of affection and sexuality of adolescents conflict entirely between Chinese and Americans culture. Americans develop feelings for the other sex early while in general Chinese adults have little to none experience dating (Wong). Only 500,000 of Asian descent married outside their race in 2009, characterizing their precaution towards non-Chinese people (Keith). Chinese men in America are generally characterized as platonic and inferior to white men, this is illustrated by the fact that none of the daughters in The Joy Luck Club marry into their race (Tan). Chinese women are characterized as submissive beings that need saved by white men. Lindo Jong in Joy Luck Club came to America to escape her flawed marriage and save their future daughters the grasp of male chauvinism even though the daughters still gave into the standards set for them by the American media.

Filial piety and respect for authority are integral concepts in...

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