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Mother And Daughter Relationships Exposed In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

2422 words - 10 pages

Relationships Between Mothers and Daughters Exposed in The Joy Luck Club  

 
    Amy Tan's novel, The Joy Luck Club is one that is truly amazing and a joy to read. There are a number of issues at work in the novel, the most obvious one is the exploration of relationships between mothers and daughters. Unfortunately, for these four sets of mothers and daughters, there is not only a generational gap between them, but a cultural one as well. Tan reveals these rifts, and their love for one another, in much the same way William Faulkner or Toni Morrison let us glimpse their characters lives instead of telling us their stories. This quality, along with the important generational/cultural gap make this somewhat autobiographical work of fiction one that people will be reading for years to come. In the second half of this century, it has become important for people to explore and get back in touch with their culture. We see the result of this in the popularity of writers such as Morrison and Tan. What makes Tan's work important is that it is not just for Asian-American people, but that people of all ethnicities can enjoy it, finding pieces of themselves within. Also, I think this work helps bring a greater understanding of the Chinese culture, for both Asian-Americans and non-Asian people. And what could be better than that?

While Tan is a creative and talented author in her own right, there are writers that have come before who have kind of paved the way for writers such as Tan through their own writing. Faulkner is one such writer, who focused many of his novels such as The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, on the family dynamic and are examples of books that have been written in a "decentered, multiple monologue mode" (Souris 99). What this means is that there is not one narrative voice, but many, ones that are very different and bring a unique perspective to the novel. In some ways, too, these monologues could each stand alone as a story in itself, in fact, "Amy Tan has said that she never intended The Joy Luck Club to be a novel," (Souris 99). However, they are connected through their relationships with one another, just as the mothers and daughters are separate people, yet connected to one another. In The Joy Luck Club, there are seven true voices, with one of the daughters speaking for her dead mother. This is reminiscent of both Faulkner's previously mentioned novels in which the narrators each have a chance to tell the events of the story through there own perspective and the person the story is about has no, or very little, voice of their own. What Tan has created, however, is not exactly the same, which makes her an important writer in her own right. The novel consists of sixteen vignette's from the lives of these mothers and daughters, each getting two sections in which they have a chance to tell their story. While some may find this type of storytelling disjointed, we should "appreciate just how these disjunctions work for,...

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