Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, takes the viewer on a visual history lesson about the lives of four Chinese women and their relationships with their American daughters. It starts off with Lindo and Waverly. We begin with Lindo’s past. At the age of fifteen, Lindo is to marry the grandson of a woman named, Mrs. Huang.
They were married for four years, those were four loveless years due to the fact that Tyan Hu is pre-pubescent. Eventually, Lindo devised a plan to escape the marriage whilst still maintaining her family’s honor. Fast forward a few years later, Lindo now has a daughter named Waverly who, is a chess prodigy. Lindo eventually ends up pushing young Waverly to the point that she quits chess and never plays again after losing her first game after a long hiatus. When Waverly ages. She marries and divorces a Chinese man then, she starts dating a guy named Rich. Rich is a white guy who’s pretty new to the Chinese culture. His actions around the family are deemed disrespectful and he embarrasses Waverly. Eventually, he learns and earns the respect of Lindo.
The next pair we are introduced to are Ying-Ying and Lena St. Claire. In China, Ying-Ying meets this guys named Lin-Xiao and the hit it off. Eventually, they marry and have a baby boy. One night Lin-Xiao comes home with a opera singer and completely dismisses and abandons her. Overcome with stress and depression, she drowns her baby.
Years later she moves to America and bares a girl named Lena. Lena ends up marrying her boss. Her boss is so mundane and they choose to split the cost of all of the property in the house fairly. One night Ying-Ying, knocks a table over to draw Lena’s attention. She tells Lena she should leave and not come back until Harold pleases her and gives her what she wants. Lena leaves and eventually finds a guy that does the job right.
The next pair we meet are, An-Mei and Rose Hsu. An-Mei was separated from her mother at the age of nine because of an affair with a wealthy older man. She is reunited with her when she comes to see her mother on her deathbed. Before her mother leaves again, An-Mei goes with her. An-Mei learns that her mother is the fourth wife of Wu-Tsing. She also learns that her mother was tricked into being raped by Wu-Tsing by his second wife but, when An-Mei’s mother told her family no one believed her. Having no where else to go, she continued living with him.
When An-Mei’s mother gave birth to a baby boy, Wu-Tsing’s second wife took the baby and claimed it to be her’s. An-Mei’s mother commits suicide by eating sticky rice laced with opium. She planned out her death so that it would scare Wu-Tsing into believing she would come back to haunt him. He then raises An-Mei and her half brother with honor. Years later, An-Mei has a kid named Rose. When Rose grows up, she meets a guy named Ted Jordan in college. They stick together and face adversity from Ted’s family and work. They marry but, their marriage becomes stale when Rose becomes too submissive plus, Ted cheats on her. An-Mei pays a visit and tells Rose about her mother. She then tells Rose to stand up for herself. This results in Ted taking her seriously and their marriage is saved.
The last mother daughter pair is Suyuan And June Woo. Suyuan’s story starts during WWII when Japan invaded China. Whilst she is on the run, she becomes ill and leaves her twin daughter along with a picture of herself and other belongings. Suyuan later remarries and has a daughter named June. Throughout most of June’s life she constantly misses her mother’s expectations in life.
June bombed a piano recital and Suyuan kept on pushing her causing June to wish she was dead like her twin sisters. June and Waverly have been rivals all of their lives. June believes that Suyuan has been disappointed in June because she dropped out of college and has an unsuccessful career. Suyuan assures her that while Waverly has style but, June has heart and she will always be proud of her for that.
My favorite story/relationship was An-Mei and Rose’s. An-Mei’s mother experienced some of the same things as Rose. Not being assertive and being too submissive. Their relationship didn’t seem as strained a the other relationships. It seems as though they were quite close. An-Mei passes the attitude that a woman should have onto Rose. Rose’s marriage became strained because of her overly submissive attitude. It seems as though, An-Mei passed love onto Rose through her advice and care. She only wanted for Rose to not make the same mistakes her mother made. An-Mei treats her daughter like the average parent.
I don’t sense the same tension shown by the other daughters and their mothers. This was special to me because my mother expresses love by giving me life advice. Sometimes all a person needs in life is good advice and, that’s what An-Mei gives to Rose, the, know your worth., advice. This correlates with the self-esteem portion of Amy Chua’s article. She believes that way your child perceives themselves shape their entire lives so, it is important to keep their self-esteem up. The film also demonstrates the true strictness and determination of a Chinese mother. An example is Lindo constantly pushing and supporting her daughters chess aspirations.
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