Power of the Mother and Daughter Relationship Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club
In the novel, The Joy Luck Club, the author, Amy Tan, intricately weaves together the roles and experiences of Chinese mothers with their American born daughters. During a time of war, the mothers flee from China to America, leaving behind a past filled with secrets that unravel as their daughters mature. While sharing their difficulties, these mothers must be able to teach Chinese beliefs and customs to their daughters in a way that relates to American society. However, this is difficult because the daughters seek to identify themselves with their own American culture. A lack of understanding and knowledge amongst these societies exists between the mothers and daughters, making it difficult for the two generations to connect with each other. Nonetheless, these mothers have "a legacy that they wish to bestow on their daughters," ( The Joy Luck Club ). A cultural clash and a generation gap are the roots to the problems the mothers and daughters must overcome in order for their relationship to be stronger. One such example is the relationship between Lindo and Waverly Jong.
While in China, Lindo’s life takes a complete turn around as she escapes a prearranged Chinese marriage. In "The Red Candle," Lindo obeys the typical female role of being obedient at the beginning of her marriage to Tyan-yu, but later goes against these expectations and flees to America. She listens to her mother-in-law by doing household chores and by being a submissive individual. Asian society says their women "value marriage. They do not believe in divorce. They marry for life…in good times and bad," ( China Bride ). However, Lindo manages to outwit her new family and escape the marriage without dishonoring her family. In order to achieve this, she describes herself by saying, "I [am] strong. I [am] pure. I [have] genuine thoughts inside that no one [can] see, that no one [can] ever take away from me. I [am] like the wind," (Tan 53). This makes her invisible, strong, and assertive. As demonstrated throughout the novel, the "strongest wind cannot be seen," (Tan 89). She had escaped without leaving a trace behind her.
As the daughters grow, they portray certain characteristics similar to their mothers. Once Waverly learns how to play chess and competes against former champions, she uses her "wind", which she inherited from her mother, to win all the games. She states: "…I would clasp my hands under my chin… in the delicate manner my mother had shown me for posing for the press. I would…twirl my chosen piece in midair as if undecided, and then firmly plant it in its new threatening place, with a triumphant smile [on my face]," (Tan 100). Here Waverly uses her strong and invisible wind to outsmart her opponents. Although she does not realize it now, Waverly has inherited her mother’s characteristic of being an invisible, yet influential woman.
Because the daughters do not understand what...