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Sexism In The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan

1110 words - 4 pages

In traditional Chinese culture, many judgments were made about a person just by observing their sex. The woman was looked upon as an inferior being and she had little or no status in society. Furthermore, very little was expected from women and they were discriminated against when they tried to stand up for themselves. Chinese culture was customarily male dominated; the male was expected to do most of the work, and the woman was expected to stay at home. Chinese women feel like no one cares and it is much harder for them to live with an optimistic view on life.Although sexism is not a major theme of Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club, it is clear that it does affect the lives of the mothers and daughters.Although sexism is not a major theme in this novel, it runs throughout the whole novel since the story is focused on Chinese women that grew up in China and therefore they have this tradition of sexism inside. The reader of Joy Luck Club can observe the signs of sexism in almost every story of the novel. Each mother or daughter tells two stories in the novel, except for Jing-mei, whose mother already died and so she is telling the story of her mother also.An-Mei & Rose HsuAn-Mei is very much affected by her mother's behavior. An-Mei lives with her grandmother Popo because she disowned An-mei's mother and she doesn't allow her to bring up An-mei. The reason why is An-mei's mother so hated by her own family is, because once when she is invited to a wealthy merchant's house, he rapes her. She is forced to marry him in order to partially preserve her honor but in China, it is considered very shameful to marry another man, when the first one died. Unfortunately, it is perfectly okay for Wu-Tsing to rape her and that way to make An-mei's mother marry him. As his third wife, she maintains a fairly low status in the society.When An-mei's mother once comes back to her family's house, An-mei decides to go with her to Tientsin into Wu-Tsing's house. There she learns about the position of her mother and women in general. Once during the night, An-mei's mother tells An-mei to go to another room because Wu-Tsing came and she has to obey him. This shows that women in China were treated as possessions and it did not matter how they felt. It is interesting that in China, what An-mei's mother has done, is considered bad, and rape is normal. Ironically, An-mei's mother was forced to "do a bad thing" by a man.Rose is very much affected by her mother and she feels the disadvantages of being a woman even though she lives in the US. She doesn't believe in herself and feels that she can't make any decisions and so her husband Ted decides everything - where to go on vacation, what furniture to buy. This is very similar to a traditional Chinese society - husband decides on everything and the wife just listens. Rose's behavior proves her dependence on a male. Later on, An-Mei teaches Rose how to speak for herself and Rose soon after divorces Ted and breaks free from the male...

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