Learning from Mother in The Joy Luck Club
"I have already experienced the worst. After this, there is no worst possible thing" (Amy Tan 121). Throughout The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan tells stories of how mothers use the misfortunes in their lives, to try to teach their daughters about life. Many of the mothers had bad experiences in their pasts and do not want to see their daughters live through the same types of problems. They try to make their daughters' lives as easy and problem free as possible. However, the daughters do not see this as an act of love, but rather as an act of control. In the end, the daughters realize that their mothers tried to use their experiences to teach them not to give up hope, and to look at the good of an experience rather than the bad.
Amy Tan starts The Joy Luck Club with the daughter, Jing-mei, and mother, Suyuan Woo. Suyuan lived through a hard life in Kweilin during the war and teaches her daughter to keep her head up and have faith, even though things may seem hard at the time. When Suyuan lived in Kweilin, she had many things that could depress her, "but to despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable" (11). Suyuan's wishful thinking reveals that she did not want to think of all the bad things happening around her. Rather, she wanted to focus on the fact that she "had luxuries few people could afford" (10). The ability to find the good when others see only bad helped Suyuan center her attention on the superior things that she had, such as the Joy Luck Club and her friends. Later, when Jing-mei goes to meet her sisters in China, she becomes "so nervous [she] can't even feel [her] feet"(331). The uneasy emotion that Jing-mei had illustrates how scared she felt and that she did not think she would be able to satisfy her mother's wish. However, once Jing-mei stepped off the plane and saw her sisters, she was able to embrace them with "all hesitations and expectations forgotten"(331). The rapport between Jing-mei and her sisters demonstrates the capability of Jing-mei to forget her fears and have faith that she can do anything. Both Suyuan and Jing-mei worked through their problems by remaining strong and willful, making their lives much easier in the end.
The Joy Luck Club continues with Lindo and Waverly Jong. As a child, Lindo had a pre-arranged marriage, which turned out poorly. She wants her daughter to be able to have a happy marriage with a husband she chooses herself. Throughout Lindo's unhappy marriage, she often wondered why she should have "an unhappy life so someone else could have a happy one"(53). Lindo's thoughts reveal that she wished to live her own life and have the...