Chinese American Literature incorporates the works of the descendants of China. There are a number of talented and gifted writers who, through their works, present before us China, Chinese- American women and their families, the mystery of the mother- daughter relationship in a manner quite novel to us. The cultural conflicts, identity clashes especially amid the Chinese mothers and their American daughters form the leitmotif in the works of the writers such as Sui Sin Far, Frank Chin, Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan. Mother- daughter plot is one of the recurrent themes in Chinese- American women’s writings. The concept of motherhood and daughterhood is reiterated as something substantial across cultures. The mother- daughter bond is best conveyed by female writers as they are at once personal and universal.
Amy tan’s debut novel, The Joy Luck Club is one of the best known Chinese- American texts that extends her fame beyond ethnic and gender labels. It documents the hardships faced by the Chinese immigrants in America and fairly exposes the convolutions of Chinese -American life. The novel is divided into four sections that reveal the episodic nature of the text. The entire text is divided into four sections entitled, “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away,” “The Twenty-six Malignant Gates,” “American Translation,” and “Queen Mother of the Western Skies.”
The prologue to each section announces the running theme that ties all stories together. “Feathers from a Thousand Li Away” details the story of a woman who attempts to bring a swan to America, expecting a new and better life. The immigration officials take her swan away and what remains with her is only a feather which she decides to give to her daughter when she is old enough to be described its importance. Similar to the prologue, the section centres on the mothers who hope to pass on their culture and customs to their daughters. The American circumstances initially hinder all possibilities for a psychological unison. As the daughters realise their mother’s past experiences, they headway towards their mothers and apprehends the significance of their cultural roots. “The Twenty –Six Malignant Gates” attempts to explain the daughter’s difficulties in accepting their mother’s Chinese methods to attempt to teach their children virtues. “American Translation” elaborates the Americanized lifestyles that the daughters lead along with the conversion of their Chinese selves to American and vice versa. The last and the final section, “Queen Mother of the Western Skies”, carries a note of inspiration for the future. This section is significant as it takes the daughters back to their roots.
The text chronicles sixteen interconnected stories, structured as personal narratives, of four mother- daughter pairs, Suyuan Woo and Jing- Mei Woo( June), An- mei Hsu and Rose Hsu Jordan, Lindo Jong and Waverly Jong, and Ying-ying St. Clair and Lena St. Clair. The four mothers, on different occasions, emigrate from...