The Power of Love in Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club
In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, Four pairs of mothers and daughters embark on the journey that is life. Each young woman comes to realize how valuable the relationships with their mothers are. As each daughter learns from her mother, she goes through the sometimes-painful process of trying to understand her enigmatic mother. To finally unravel the mystery surrounding their mothers is to understand who they, themselves, really are.
Suyuan Woo started the "Joy Luck Club" the year she left China. She began the club as a relief from the heartache that she and her friends experienced "My mother could sense that the women of these families also had unspeakable tragedies they had left behind in China and hopes they couldn't begin to express in their fragile English" (1Tan 6). Jing-Mei Woo, the daughter of Suyuan, recalls a story told by her mother, "Over the years she told me the same story, except for the ending, which grew darker, casting long shadows into her life, and eventually into mine"(1Tan 7). Jing-Mei comes to realize that the story she thought was a fairy tale was actually an event in her mother's life. As she learned more about her mother's past by her stories of China:" There were things so strange and beautiful you can't possibly imagine them...We were a city of leftovers mixed together"(1Tan 8) she comes to respect her mother. When she faces trials of her own she is able to take her mother's advice. When Jing-Mei is thirty-six her mother dies of a brain aneurysm, her memory of her mother gives her strength, she realizes that her mother felt the same during her life. Suyuan's voice echoes in her head "Can you imagine how it is, to want to be neither inside nor outside, to want to be nowhere and disappear. But you can't stay in the dark for so long. Something inside you starts to fade and you become like a starving person, crazy-hungry for light"(1T 9). When Jing-Mei must go and tell her sisters of their mother's death "She would cry one minute then act cheerful (3Tan 4), the strength of her mother guides her. She is able to say, "sisters, I am sorry, I have come alone"(1Tan 310). She had become a strong and capable woman thanks to her mother.
Rose Hsu Jordan also learns life lessons from her mother An-Mei. An-Mei was a church going faithful woman "My mother believed in God's will for many years. It was as if she had turned on a celestial faucet and goodness kept pouring out"(1Tan 128). In her life, Rose must deal with two very difficult obstacles, the death of her baby brother Bing, and a very arduous divorce. "My mother had a superstition, in fact, that children were predisposed to certain dangers..."(1T 131). Rose's mother An-Mei was right on this occasion, little Bing had been lost "I sank to my knees watching that spot where he disappeared, not moving, not saying anything"(1Tan 134). ...