The Joy Luck Club

I found Joy Luck Club particularly interesting because the book is divided into four parts and sixteen stories in total. There are also four mothers and four daughters in total, so they each tell two stories, with the exception of Suyuan Woo, whose stories are told by Jing-mei Woo.

The main message that stood out for me is the strong difference between the Chinese culture and the American culture, where Chinese culture is represented by the mothers, and the American culture is represented by the daughters. Although each mother tells a completely different story, the similarities between these mothers are shown clearly. Their stories are full of sorrow and each is full of difficulties, in their stories, they seem full of experience and knowledgable. This contrasts immensely with the daughters’ views of their mothers. In the daughters’ stories,  they completely uses the American values to judge the world, especially their moms. They all portray their mothers as some kind of strange Chinese women with strange Chinese traditional values. The mothers’ limited English also makes them seem a little bit stupid, and it makes it seem like they do not really blend into this American lifestyle at all.

However, as the story progress, we can start to see traits of daughters starting to understand some of these values. For example, for Jing-mei Woo, through the letters and her becoming one of the members of the group; she learns more and more about her mother. This builds up her inner Chinese feelings, and in the end, it is apparent that she has found her ‘true selve’, which is hidden in China all along, and ‘inside her bones’. It is also true for Lena, at first, she finds her mother’s theory of the house being imbalance slightly ridiculous. However as the story develops, Lena starts to understand more and more about this ability, and actually see how things fall apart according to what her mother says.

Overall, I do find this book very interesting. Even though some of the Chinese values from my family is nothing comparable to what this book says, I can find traits of it in some of the older generations.

The Joy Luck Club

“The Joy luck club” by Amy Tan was a very interesting and entertaining novel, it talks about the life of four mothers and four daughters and how the Chinese culture influenced them. “The Joy luck club”talks about the relationship and bond between the mothers and daughters, how the way and where they are brought up will influence their thoughts and judgement.

“The Joy luck club” has a very complex structure, although its composed of 16 stories and each character (mother or daughter) is the narrator for 2 stories because the novel jumps from the present to the past, sometimes it was hard to follow. However, overall this book was really easy to read, it was written in a very logical way. Also, I think that Amy Tan made such a simple structure somehow so complicated was to make the readers connect the links in the novel. Since, the life of all four mothers influenced and affected the 2nd generations (their daughter). Moreover, in the novel The joy luck club was a club for playing mahjong which required 4 people. Hence, when Suyuan past away her daughter Jing-Mei replaces her could be a metaphor for the loss of traditional Chinese culture.

It is interesting how the character Jing-Mei starts the book and also ends it. Through the structure suspense is built up, since at the beginning of the novel its about Jing-Mei finding out the truth of how she has 2 sisters and how her mother was looking for them and attempting to reunite with them. Thus, the character Jing-Mei was going to fulfil the wish of her mother and through this journey she realised she is simliar with her mother, Suyuan, and became closer to her. Furthermore, the mothers in “The Joy Luck club” were portrayed as the stereotypical ‘Chinese mother’ how they force their children to achieve the best and how they like to compare the children like there’s a competition.  For example: In ‘Best Quality’ we understand how much Suyuan loves her daughter from the crab situation. Where Jing-Mei was going to take the damaged crab instead of the healthy one, because she wants the best for her mother. However her mother told her to take the undamaged one because she wants her daughter to get the best so from here we can see how they are alike.

 

Personal response to Joy Luck Club

When reading this book i did not enjoy it immensely. What i thought was interesting about the book was the way it was written, a series of short stories all intertwined in the form of a novel. There were points in the book where i found myself very immersed in the story. These were mainly only the mother’s stories that i really found interesting. I thought the book was a very easy read.

Although i didn’t particularly enjoy this book all that much, i can understand why someone would and i have talked to several people who have said that they loved the book. I think that a lot of people can relate to the book, especially here where we live, where theres such a culturally diverse population. Some people may be able to have more of an emotional connection to these stories that i did. I found it interesting how Tan’s portrayal of the Chinese mothers were so stereotypical and this is why i think a lot of people here can relate to it, but this may also cause some people to dislike the book as they do not see themselves as a part of that stereotype.

I especially enjoyed Waverly and her mother’s stories and i think this is because out of all the stories Waverly’s is the one i can connect with the most. I enjoyed ‘The rules of the game’ the most. I liked her story and the progression as of how she become a chess prodigy. I’ve always enjoyed chess and i think this is why i enjoyed her story and was able to relate to it more than the other storys just like how a Chinese American person would relate to the other stories.

Joy Luck Club

“Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan is about four Chinese families in America with a huge cultural difference between generations. It’s interesting to follow the bond between daughters and mothers, since all the daughters had a struggle to understand their mothers. Throughout the novel we are looking at the point of view from the mothers and daughters, which can cause confusion. The confusion is all about who is telling what story. The stories have a different background, and the most important thing to remember while reading this novel is the cultural issue between America and China.

 

The daughters don’t know a lot about their mothers and their culture, since they didn’t want to learn it, but they want their mother to see who they “really” are, and not “ignoring” them. In the daughters points of view it is interesting, since they have grown up with the American- and Chinese culture, but the mothers still treating them as Chinese daughters, which makes the daughters being distanced from them.

 

Amy Tan, however, let all the daughters realize at the end of their own story, what they have to do to be seen and respected by their mothers. When the mothers tell the story its how they came to America from China, and all the things that happened to them, which is a significant proclamation of China during the Japan invasion. Also it’s significant, since the mothers lived in China at that time.

 

When the mothers speak throughout the daughter’s stories, they don’t pronounce things well, but when they tell their own story in Chinese it is fluent and understandable. This is a significant and humoristic aspect, which is true when people learn a new language, but also it characterizes the mothers as being old and dumb. When they tell their own stories in Chinese it characterizes them as being wise, clever, elegant, etc. It’s interesting how Amy Tan shifts the focus on the mothers throughout the book and the way they talk as well.

Joy Luck Club

Recently my class and I have been reading Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. To be honest I found this book boring and uninteresting at first because I yet again had nothing to relate to or could escape from. The book was pretty much about culture which is something that I find interesting if they consist of logical things or have good traditions… Which was not the case no, one tradition consisted of a daughter having to cut her skin off to make a blood soup of some sort to save her mother which didn’t work. I know i’m a tough critic but finally I found the end of the book interesting, especially magpies which was soo touching and full of detail. The book was lengthened out which made it tiring to read however the context and details were interesting in the end and in the chapter Scar. This book may be good for people who haven’t been in china for long and are interested in learning about their culture or maybe people who can relate, however the book was not for me considering i’m tired of china because I have been here for soo long. I liked that it compared two countries that I have lived in except it didn’t say much about america except locations and some people.

 

Queen Mother of the Western Skies

I felt that the main theme of this section was reunion.  In “Queen Mother of the Western Skies” we see a number of different reunions – most notably the reunions of the daughters with their mothers (in a sense) and the reunion of American ways with the traditional Chinese ways.
In Magpies, finally learn about the rest of An Mei’s life in China and how her mother gave her life to better the life of her daughter – parallels could be drawn to what An Mei has done for her daughter.
In Waiting Between the Trees, Ying Ying lets us now about how she is going to tell her daughter of her life – so that she may finally, fully understand her life.
In Double Face, Lindo and her daughter go a hair saloon together and while their differences are highlighted – in the end they find common qualities.
In A Pair of Tickets, Jing Mei meets up with her mother’s lost children in China.  This represents Jing Mei living up to the life of her mother and also connecting with her traditional Chinese roots.

Joy Luck Club- Chapter 16

Jing-Mei Woo: a Pair of Tickets

It was very interesting how Joy Luck Club begins with and ends with the story of Su Yuan’s two lost daughters. In America, Jing-Mei thought that she was very Chinese, but on the train to China she realizes that until then she didn’t really know what it was like being a Chinese. However, when she meets her two lost sisters she notices that her inner ‘Chinese’ was her family. Also, by saying that even though Su Yuan died, her lifelong wish came true and is witnessed by her three daughters with similar features of hers, it made me feel like Jing-Mei genuinely began to feel her mom’s trace, or life in China and began to understand her more after her mom died.

Joy Luck Club- Chapter 15

Lindo Jong: Double Face

As Lindo is taken to hair salon by her daughter, she realizes that Waverly is not proud of her when she is proud of Waverly. She looks back into the past, when she moved to America the first time. When she met her husband who was Cantonese, they had problem speaking different dialect so they communicated with simple English. I thought it was funny how Lindo found the piece that encourages her husband to ask her for marriage, and how he misunderstood the word ‘spouse’ as ‘marry’. In the end, Lindo thinks that something inside her has changed because when she went back to China, people noticed that she is different from normal Chinese. I think Lindo, with so many experiences of clashing culture: Cantonese, American and Chinese, finds it difficult to merge different cultures together: not only personally but also with her Americanized daughter Waverly as well.

Joy Luck Club- Chapter 14

An-Mei Hsu: Magpies

An-Mei’s story links to her daughter, Rose’s story. An Mei reveals what happened after she followed her mother: she brought An-Mei to Wu Tsing (husband)’s house, and learnt that the Second wife had a bad nature: she looked very caring on the outside, but actually she tries to buy others with cheap things- or just did what benefits her. Ultimately, An-Mei’s mother dies of poisoned food which is suspected to be second wife’s fault. An-Mei ends the story by saying that her daughter, unlike her in China, has so many choices which gives her so many opportunities. This shows how viewing the ‘choice’ differs according to the background: when Rose feels it’s too confusing to have too many choices, An-Mei thinks it’s better than having no choice like her mother.

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 13

An-Mei Hsu: Magpies

An-Mei’s story links to her daughter, Rose’s story. An Mei reveals what happened after she followed her mother: she brought An-Mei to Wu Tsing (husband)’s house, and learnt that the Second wife had a bad nature: she looked very caring on the outside, but actually she tries to buy others with cheap things- or just did what benefits her. Ultimately, An-Mei’s mother dies of poisoned food which is suspected to be second wife’s fault. An-Mei ends the story by saying that her daughter, unlike her in China, has so many choices which gives her so many opportunities. This shows how viewing the ‘choice’ differs according to the background: when Rose feels it’s too confusing to have too many choices, An-Mei thinks it’s better than having no choice like her mother.

Joy Luck Club- Chapter 12

Jing-Mei Woo: Best Quality

Jing-Mei’s story was quite confusing to me: I still cannot get the meaning of jade necklace her mom gave her, but I’m guessing that it can have various meanings as Jing-Mei surmised. It can be Su Yuan’s wish to tell Jing-Mei how her life felt like, and all the lessons that she’s learnt until then. Also, looking at the New Year celebration dinner in different perspective was interesting: I could feel the tension between Waverly and Jing-Mei, and other things that happened during the dinner. By seeing which part of the dinner that people focused on, it gave me more idea of their characters and aspects that they prioritize. To Waverly, making her mom see Rich was more important: to Jing-Mei, the annoyance that she felt was more noticeable.

Joy Luck Club- Chapter 11

Rose Hsu-Jordan: Without wood

The story begins with Rose and how An-Mei advises her not to listen to others too much and get herself confused. Rose later on explains that she had always thought that American way is better than Chinese way of life, but then there are so many choices which lead her to confusion as well. In this story, the end was the most memorable part, when Rose dreams of her mom and Old Mr. Chou, calling her over to see the weeds on the ground. Seeing that weed represents neglect of Rose’s husband Ted, I thought this signifies An-Mei’s acceptance of Rose’s choice to divorce with Ted (she was initially encouraging her not to break the marriage), and also the symbol of how more independent Rose became: not afraid of Mr. Chou who brought darkness and uncertainty to her in dreams.

Joy Luck Club- Chapter 10

Waverly Jong: Four Directions

In the beginning of this story, I was shocked to find out that Waverly had quit chess. Also, it was quite perplexing to me when Waverly said that her mother makes her see the faults in herself and also others, such as her ex-husband. I wondered how this can happen, but after the dinner in which Waverly and Rich first met Lindo together, I’ve realized that this was partly due to cultural difference and partly due to Waverly’s misunderstanding. She thought that her mother sullies her love towards others, but by visiting Lindo’s house again she realizes that she has been wrong: by Lindo saying that “She thinks I am this bad” and by talking with her about ancestors and Lindo’s hometown Taiyuan, Waverly finally sees that her mother just “waited patiently for her daughter to invite her in.”

Joy Luck Club- Chapter 9

Lena St. Clair: Rice Husband

I was intrigued to see how Ying-Ying predicted things such as Lena meeting a bad husband, new baby dying, and closing of the bank just by seeing the feng shui. This might be probably due to one’s faith: when one believes that something can happen, that can actually happen. It seemed as if Lena had similar experience with the death of Arnold: even though leaving food cannot lead others to die, with previous incidents that came true, it was not hard to understand why Lena felt guilty about her act. Also, the part in which Ying-Ying says: “Then why you don’t stop it?” was particularly striking: logically, people will attempt to prevent anything bad that can happen to them. However, both Lena and Ying-Ying cannot do it even though “it’s such a simple question”. I thought that this indicates the nature of fate: people cannot avoid their fates even though they know about them.

Queen Mother Of The Western Skies (JLC)

Magpies of An-Mei Hsu writes about a turtle that lays eggs, which grabbed my interest.   Maybe it was just random, but why a turtle? Does it have a special meaning in Chinese?

Ying-Ying St. Clair’s story of  Waiting Between the Trees is interesting to me since I find out how the mother broke the vase on purpose. This part kind of makes me feel bad for the mother, as she doesn’t even seem to defend herself, and just accepts the ‘bad’ situation and lives with it.

Double Face about Lindo Jong is kind of sad at the end as well as there is a disconnection between the mother and daughter. They are obviously thinking about different things.

The book finishes with A Pair of Tickets about Jing-Mei Woo. I thought this was a good ending to the book as it is also how it started off. It’s as if the whole book finally ends happily. This is pretty different to the rest of the stories in Queen Mother of The Western Skies, as the others seem to have a little untold part at the end which makes us think about things. Where-as Jing-Mei Woo’s story gives a good and satis factional ending to the book.

I find this chapter of the book interesting because it’s like you can understand why all the mothers did what they did. Except that you find out from the mother’s point of view. You can finally see both character’s ideas.

American Translation (JLC)

Rice Husband (Lena St. Clair) is about Lena and her husband Harold. I found the last sentences terse but attention grabbing. “It doesn’t matter”, I say… “I knew it would happen.” “Then why don’t you stop it?” asks my mother. And it’s such a simple question.    It is as if the mother breaks the vase on purpose, which she actually does (In the later section of the book).

Waverly Jong’s story of Four Directions is about what Waverly’s mother thinks of Rich. This section made me realize about the different cultures between Chinese and Westerners. Also about how people do not express their true feelings, and why people can get confused and misunderstood sometimes.

Without Blood is about Rose Hsu Jordan and Ted. In the end, the mother was right, as she taught Rose about how to be strong and say what she wants.

Jing-Mei Woo’s section called Best Quality  is about eat ting crab. I thought it was sad that Jing-Mei always lost arguments against Waverly.

This whole chapter writes about these 4 women and their lives. I thought these stories were not that interesting, just describing normal lives, and so were not that dramatic. However each part seems to end up well, giving some type of support between mother and daughter.

American Translation

I felt that the purpose of this section was to resolve the problems that each of the four girls had been experiencing in their lives.  This gives the readers that feel-good notion that everything is going to work out for the best.
In Rice Husband we see this in the way that Lena realizes that she has the ‘gift’ of foresight that she always admired in her mother.  It is hinted at the end that Lena has realized what she must do to right her life.
In Four Directions Waverly feels that she has gained approval from her mother to marry Rich and her future looks bright.
In Without Wood Rose begins to get over her failed marriage with Ted and stands up for herself.
In Best Quality Jing-Mei experiences yet more turbulence in what she sees as a horribly embarrassing dinner at her mother’s.  However, all is resolved at the end when her mother gives her her prized locket and highlighted her ‘best quality’ of independence.  Also Jing-Mei feels closure when encountering the cat that her mother didn’t kill which could symbolize overall closure for her mother’s death.
This chapter does not just resolve the problems in all of the girl’s lives but, perhaps more importantly, sees them growing even closer to the mothers – reaching a greater understanding of their ways.

the joy luck club-chapter 14

In this chapter ying ying tells the story of her childhood to her daughter about the times she had been let down through relationships. She does this because she thinks that her daughter’s relationship isn’t stable and will soon fall to pieces, just like her first marriage did. Ever since then ying ying was unable to feel the full potential of love anymore.

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates (JLC)

I found Waverly’s story of chess not too interesting, but a more calm type of reading. (Rules of the Game.) I found “Is new American rules, Mei Mei play, squeeze all her brains out for win chess. You play, worth squeeze towel” funny. What did she mean by it being American rules anyway?

The Voice from the Wall about Lena St. Clair was a pretty interesting. I felt like a was feeling was Lena felt and there were things to think about. I learnt that every family has different situations and that they deal with them differently. At the start I thought the girl next door – Teresa’s family wasn’t so good. However, at the end of the section, I just felt that they were a normal family.

Half and Half written about Rose Hsu Jordan describes her life with Ted and about Bing’s death.  I found it interesting how her mother’s belief in the Bible is written from Rose’s perspective, not the mother herself. This shows how she actually pays attention to her mother.

Jing-Mei Woo’s story Two Kinds made me think about effort and chance. I think Jing-Mei would have been able to be more successful at these things if she put more effort into them.

In this chapter I felt that I could really see the way of life more. I’m not sure if this is Chinese life, or just lives of different people, but I could see 4 different lives. About how people see waigoren, or about how parents have the power over their children.

Joy luck club-chapter 12

In this chapter Jing mei relates to a dinner party in the past that they had that turned out to be a big mess. The argument started through a misunderstanding of Chinese culture and the reasoning why they do things, but towards the end of the chapter the argument is resolved as she finally understands her mother’s way and why she does certain things that usually irritates Jing Mei.

Joy luck club-chapter 11

In this chapter rose tells us about her and ted’s miserable relationship in the future. She is unable to speak to her mother about it because she thinks her mother will make her feel worse about the situation and wont listen to her, like she does all the time. In the end of the chapter we find out that rose has been misinterpreting the message her mother has been trying to portray through all these stories, and hasn’t been thinking of them as lessons in life that will help her guide her way through but instead as being cruel.

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

In Rules of the Game Waverly Jong details how she came to be a great chess player in her childhood.  She also shows how she became more independent and rebellious against her mother.  I think that she shows this to convey how she was becoming more ‘americanized’ and also how she regretted being ungrateful to her mother.
In The Voice from the Wall Lena demonstrates how she failed to understand her mother as a child.  From her mother’s wish to shelter Lena to her mother’s miscarriage, Lena always seemed out of touch with her mother’s feelings.  It was only at the end of the chapter that we see Lena beginning to understand her mother’s broken state.
In Half and Half  I felt that the emphasis was on the Chinese quality of nengkan.  Rose never had the belief in her own ability and this was shown through her failing marriage and her lack of faith when searching for Bing.  Once again this daughter shows ho she is out of touch with the Chinese ways of her mother.
In Two Kinds Jing-Mei says how her mother believed anything was possible in America if you tried.  This relates to Half and Half because Jing-Mei lacks the belief in herself that her mother has just as Rose lacked faith in herself.  I think that this chapter is about Jing-Mei acknowledging that she was a complacent child and realizing that she can now relax and enjoy things in the world for what they are.

Feathers From a Thousand Li Away

I though that the Feathers From a Thousand Li Away stories were an effective opening to “Joy Luck Club” because it offered a background into the formation of the club and of each of the women who were part of the club.  Each of the 4 chapters tells a story of an important event in one of the clubs members lives in China.  I felt that the stories themselves revealed just how similar each of the women of the Joy Luck Club were.  In their stories each of them demonstrated independence and a strong will.  They used these qualities to persevere through the event that they described though I am sure that these qualities also played a role in them ending up in America.

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 8

Jing-Mei woo: Two kinds

Jing-Mei is believed to be a prodigy by her mother. She tries various things like playing piano, but she doesn’t think it was for her own sake but was for her mother’s benefit. She failed the music recital, and after arguing with her mom she didn’t have to take piano lessons. After she grew up, her mom offered the piano as a present. Jing-Mei started playing the piano, and discovered that two pieces, pleading child and perfectly contented, are from the same song. I could sympathize with Jing-Mei’s childhood: I’ve often seen children who went to university at age of 15, children who could memorize all the countries and capitals and a lot more; my mom used to compare me with those kids and ask me to improve like them. Also, the part in which Jing-Mei thought her inner talent will help her to play piano during recital was very interesting- her mom tries to encourage her hidden talents, but contrastingly Jing-Mei doesn’t try hard, believing that her hidden talent will help her. However, I am confused about the last part in which Jing-Mei found out that two songs were actually different parts of a one song (the significance it has).

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 7

Rose Hsu Jordan: Half and Half

Rose is about to get divorced with her husband Ted, but her mom will not approve it. They had been living together well, but after Ted was involved in sue he became more dependent on Rose’s decisions, causing misunderstandings. Rose then recalls her childhood when she was responsible for her brother Bing. However, he goes into the ocean and becomes lost. An-Mei then realizes that faith of hers didn’t bring back Bing, and begins to accept the reality. For me, the part in which mom puts the bible under the table, and how Bing’s name was written in ‘erasable pencil’ at the ‘Death’ section was particularly striking. I think that An-Mei’s pretending to ignore the existence of bible is showing her attempt to ignore bitter memories, but also the fact that bible is placed in noticeable place and how Bing’s name is erasable shows her altering attitude to face the reality.

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 6

Lena St.Clair: The voice from the wall

Lena’s mom, Ying-Ying doesn’t talk about her life in China, and even though Lena can speak Chinese fluently she cannot fully understand the connotations of her mom’s speech. When her father gets promotion, they move into the new house and Lena hears fight of mom and daughter from the next door. But after daughter visits her house and tells Lena about fight, and hearing the laughter and sobbing later on, Lena realizes that this is also a way of communication and love. I didn’t really understand the Ying-Ying’s thoughts due to her language barrier and narration from Lena’s perspective. I think it’s quite ironic how growing up in different culture causes difficulty in understanding each other. Also, this made me wonder how Ying-Ying’s husband came to love her despite of difficulty in understanding her fully, and what kind of confusion would Lena have encountered in life other than cultural conflict between her and her mother.

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 5

Waverly Jong: Rules of the game

Waverly is Lindo’s daughter, and this chapter shows how she became successful nationally as a chess player. I personally thought this chapter linked Lindo’s and Waverly’s life very well: Lindo escaped from her marriage and found her own ‘value’, and Waverly discovered her strength through chess. I found the fact that her brothers are doing her part of the chore instead interesting: in ancient culture, not many men did since it was considered as women’s job. But Waverly, by becoming a chess champion, became ‘superior’ to men in home and gained independence. This shows the cultural difference between America and China: if Waverly was born in China, and if Lindo wasn’t affected to certain extent by American culture, this might not have happened.

Queen Mother of the Western Skies

This last section was the most touching out of all of them in my opinion because we could really see how the mother’s had suffered in their past and how their stories make them who they are today and it shows us why they want the best for their daughters. The last chapter where Jing Mei finds her half sisters are very touching especially at the end where she says that she has finally fulfilled her mother’s long cherished wish, I think this applies to the other girls too. The mother’s all wish for their daughters to have a different life from them and too have a happily ever after as well as make all their dreams come true. But, in this instance, Jing Mei, fulfills her dream and finds her sisters.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 16 Summary

The last chapter is again written by Jing Mei because her mother had died. In this chapter, she talks about how she boarded a plane to China and found her relatives and eventually her long lost half sisters. She tries to find similarities between them and she doesn’t immediately see any and thinks that the twins look like her mother. However, when they take a picture together, she realizes that all three girls added together makes up her mother. When she visits her relatives, she realizes that she’s very different from the others and even though she tries to talk to them, it is still awkward. She fulfills her mother’s wish by finding her half sisters.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 15 Summary

Chinese culture believes that certain placement or size of facial features determines whether a person will have good fortune later in life and Lindo Jong says that as a girl she was told that she would have good fortune, however, she thinks that since she came to America, her face has changed and she no longer believes she is lucky. She has “lost” her Chinese face. She married a man she couldn’t even easily converse in the same language with, though she doesn’t regret it. Near the end of the chapter, the story goes back to present times and her daughter, Waverly, tells her mother that she looks beautiful after the haircut. She says that people can only choose one face, Chinese or American and you cannot have both. She wonders which is better.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 14 Summary

In this chapter, Ying Ying talks about her childhood and how wealthy she was. She talks about her first marriage to a man who didn’t love her and soon after they got married, he became unfaithful. She had seen that her baby would be a boy but she decided to abort the baby after she hated her husband. Ten years later, when she became a shop girl, she met Clifford St. Clair who became her second husband. She claims that she does love her second husband but cannot love fully because of her past experiences.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 13 Summary

In this chapter, An Mei talks about the time during her childhood where she lived with her mother at the house of her second husband as the third concubine to a wealthy man in the merchant industry. She is the mother to his only heir however, the second wife is much more cunning that she is so she gets all the privileges. When An Mei’s mother decides to follow the second wife’s advice and pretends to commit suicide, it doesn’t work in her favor and she dies unexpectedly. She learnt from her mother that she should just accept her fate because people can’t escape from predestined fate.

American Translation

The third section of the book is called American Translation and I really think that the title suited this section because there was a lot of examples where the daughters couldn’t understand the mothers. It is similar to translation because when one language is translated to another, some meanings and connotations are lost and so the meaning turns out to be very different from what it was and because the words aren’t in the same context and some of the cultural background is lost nobody really understands the true value of it. So, the daughters are just the same. I don’t think they are ungrateful or bad, they just don’t really understand why their mother’s talk about such things that seem to have no relevance.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 12 Summary

Jing Mei talks about how a few months ago, her family had a dinner party at their house. Her mother took her grocery shopping for some crabs and Jing Mei tries to help by picking out one but it has a defect and the leg gone and her mother doesn’t want to buy it but the shopkeeper makes them buy it. When they have dinner, each of the mother’s give their children the best and Jing Mei’s mother doesn’t eat hers because it was dead before she cooked it so she thinks it’s bad. Jing Mei doesn’t see the difference and offers to switch with her mother but her mother insists she eat the good one. She doesn’t really understand her mother and in the end, she learns that her mother did this because this is the way Chinese mothers show their love towards their children.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 11 Summary

Rose Hsu thinks that her mother is trying to make her obedient and listen to her but her mother is actually just trying the teach her the stories and lessons that her mother taught her before. Her mother thinks that she understands her daughter better than any psychiatrist would ever understand her. But, Rose doesn’t want to tell her mother her problems because she thinks that her mother might not understand or criticize her. She feels insecure especially when it comes to her doomed marriage because she can’t stand up to her husband. At the end of the chapter, she finally understands her mother’s stories and is able to stand up to her husband and for the first time see fear in his eyes.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 10 Summary

This chapter slightly differed from the last because it starts out with a memory from more recent times after she has grown up. In this story, we can see how the mother and daughter doesn’t understand each other and because of some misunderstandings they do not get along. Waverly thinks that her mother doesn’t approve of her fiance and is constantly trying to find ways to make him look bad but she isn’t and Waverly is just misunderstanding her. Rich, her fiance, makes some mistakes that are considered not very polite in Chinese culture and so Waverly immediately thinks her mother thinks the worst of Rich but her mother isn’t. In the end, she finally talks to her mother and they come to an understanding.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 9 Summary

This chapter really emphasized some aspects of Chinese culture that even I find hard to understand sometimes as a 100% Taiwanese person. For example, most people believe in feng shui and if something is not in balance then something will go wrong in the future. When Lena was younger, she believed in the symbolism that her mother created, for example, if you don’t finish all the food on your plate then your future husband or wife would suffer. She also talked about how in her marriage, they split the bills very evenly and fairly and how her mother thinks that it is a bad idea but does not say as much as she would like to because she knows that it will not help.

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

This section was all narrated by the daughters of the members of the Joy Luck Club and they all told of stories of their childhood. They were most likely the one that impacted them the most and morals that came out of that particular experience. The anecdote before the section “officially” starts seems to be placed there in order to show readers, the way the girls were rebellious and completely different from the mothers whom we had learnt previously were very obedient. For example, Lindo Jong married a man she didn’t even know that her parents arranged for her whereas, the girl in the anecdote doesn’t even want to listen to her mother about riding her bike round the corner. When it says that she falls before she can get to the corner, the story seems to tell us that there is punishment for disobedience and rudeness. The narrators of this section seem to tell us that their mothers each seem to have something special about them that the girls don’t quite understand. The mothers sometimes know that something will happen before it does and makes a very vague and odd comment about it that the girls generally disregard.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 8 Summary

In this story, Jing Mei talks about her childhood memory of how her mother wanted her to be a child prodigy and constantly told her to try to do something after seeing it on the television. Jing Mei at first tried to tell her mother that she wasn’t a child prodigy and to stop having such unreasonable dreams, however, when it stopped working she soon got caught in the glory of it all. However, the dreams all stopped when she tried to perform piano on stage and failed. This was one of my favorite chapters in the book because I could really relate to what Jing Mei was feeling and I’m pretty sure its not just me when I say that most parents have big dreams for their children and most of the time the child’s dream doesn’t go hand in hand with the parents. Because this chapter was so easy to relate to, it is definitely one of my favorite chapters.

The Joy Luck Club (13-16)

Queen Mother Of The Western Skies

Chapter 13: Magpies ( An-Mei Hsu)

An-Mei thinks about her daughter’s marriage on the rocks and recalls what happened to her own mother years ago. Her mother was a widow after her father died. One night, she was raped bt his rich man, Wu Tsing. After which, she bore him a son. Because of this shameful act. she was disowned by her family. One day when An-Mei is 9 and her grandmother dies, her mother asks her if she wants to follow her, and this is how An-Mei began living in Wu-Tsing’s house. There is family politics in Wu-Tsing’s household with second wife as the most powerful. After a few months, An-Mei’s mother cannot take it and choose to commit suicide 3 days before the lunar new year. She did this to give her daughter a stronger spirit, she did this so that her spirit would come back 3 days after on lunar new year to settle old scores, and Wu-Tsing would repent and treat An-Mei and her younger brother well, in order to apease her spirit.

 

Chapter 14: Waiting between the trees ( Ying-Ying St.Clair) 

Here, Ying ying talks about how she visits her daughter’s new house. She sees signs that the house will shatter into pieces. Ying-ying recalls her own childhood, and youth. Of how she married a bad man whom she grew to hate. She hated him so much that she killed their son. This is something she never forgave herself for and regretted it all her life. She also talked about how she found Mr St. Clair and got married with him after hearing news that her first husband died. Ying ying thinks about how she does not love her husband and that she had no spirit to pass on to her daughter. This is about to change as she will tell her daughter everything, giving her daughter strength.

 

Chapter 15: Double Face (Lindo Jong)

Lindo talks about her daughter wanting to look like a Chinese because it’s fashionable. She narrates a scene of her and her daughter in the hair stylist, cutting hair, where she feels that her daughter is translating english for her. She puts on her poker face. Lindo then recalls what her own mother told her when she was younger, looking at her facial features and predicting what kind of character she would have. However, her nose got twisted one day, changing it from it’s original straight orientation, meaning that she would follow have misfortune. She was so much like her mother, and Waverly was so much like her. She also recalls how she met her husband, and how she named her daughter. Now, she realises that Waverly, her daughter has a crocked nose, supersticiously indicating that she would follow the wrong paths. Lindo starts thinking about the issue of their American Identity vs. their Chinese Identity.

 

Chapter 16: A pair of Tickets (Jing-Mei Woo)

In this last and final chapter of The Joy Luck Club, June and her father go to china together, first to visit his aunt, then to visit her sisters. The babies her mother left on the roadside during the war. She thinks about her sister’s do not know that their mother has died (because Aunty Lindo wrote to them and signed off in her mother’s name). Despite all her worries and fears, she goes to see her grand-aunt and sisters. During a night with her great-aunt, her father narrates the story of how June’s mum left the babies on the roadside, how she woke up in the hospital, and how the two babies were saved. June’s mum tried very hard to look for the babies all her life, and finally after her death, got a reply. Finally when June arrives and sees her sisters, they embrace and stand together, crying but happy, feeling their mother’s presence among them, knowing that they were fulfilling her long cherished wish.

The Joy Luck Club (9-12)

American translation

Chapter 9: Rice Husband (Lena St.Clair)

In this chapter, Lena tells us about how her mother can predict bad things that would befall their family. She also talks about her love life- her marriage with Harold. Their marriage was based on fairness, especially when it comes to money. When Lena’s mother visits their house for the first time, Lena sees her mother’s expression and knows that her mother sees what is below the surface of her and Harolds marriage. Lena recalls an incident when she was younger when her mother predicts that she will marry a bad man, and a short incident with her neighbour Arnold. Now that her marriage with Harold is a little shaky because she feels like the core of their marriage is wrong, her mother is there for her, reminding her about what she can do. This is shown in the last part where Ying-ying breaks the flower vase and doesnt apologize, asking Lena why she didnt stop it from happening when she knew it would.

 

Chapter 10: Four Directions ( Waverly Jong)

Waverly tells us about her basic relationship with her mother, how her mother has always had a strange power over her. She is going to get married to the love of her life, Rich, and has no idea how to break the news to her mother. Waverly recalls the time when she was young and a chess champion and she had stopped playing chess out of spite against her mother. Because of this, she lost her ability to play chess and win all the time. Now, Waverly is afraid that her mother does not like Rich. She finally confronts her mother and her mother explains her point of view. This shows us that her mother loves her very much, but shows it in a very different way. Through their conversation, we see both sides of the story, and get a warm feeling as Rich is so comfortable with Waverly’s mother, Waverly get’s a new understanding of her mother.

 

Chapter 11: Without Wood (Rose Hsu Jordan)

Here, Rose talks about her failing marriage with her husband Ted, and shows us how her mother tries to talk to her. She tells us about how she slowly gains courage and speaks up for herself, getting over her failed marriage and looking to the future with hope.

 

Chapter 12: Best Quality (Jing-Mei Woo)

Here, June illustrates the scene of dinner her family had with the Jong’s. Her mother prepared her best quality crab for the occassion. During dinner, June and Waverly start talking about work and business and an arugement persues. Waverly accuses June of not having sophisticated style. June feels humiliated and slighted, especially when her own mother said that June did not have Waverly’s sophisticated style. Later, June’s mother gives her a jade pendant and explains that June had her own style, her own strengths.

The Joy Luck Club (5-8)

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

Chapter 5: Rules of the Game (Waverly Jong)

In this chapter, Waverly tells us about her mother’s influence on her while she was growing up. From a young age, Waverly tries to outsmart her mother, but her mother always triumpths. We see Waverly’s impression of her mum- out to torture her kids, full of pride and self confidence. She tells us about the chess set her brother got as a Christmas present from church one year, and how she learnt to play chess. Waverly was a chess champion, and her mother was so proud of her, telling everyone that Waverly was her daughter. One day after Waverly throws a tantrum and runs away, she comes back and refuses to play chess anymore. After that incident, she found herself unable to see any more chess stratergies nor win anymore chess tornaments.

 

Chapter 6: The Voice from the Wall (Lena St. Clair)

Here, Lena tells a little about the stories her mother tells her as a kid. She talks about her scary childhood memories of her mother and a room in the basement of the house. Also, she talks about her chinese eyes– how she can see scary scenes and has a sort of third eye. She talked about hos she sees her mother miscarries and how her mother acts like she knew it would happen. Lena also talks about her old room and how she would hear weird sounds coming from her neighbour’s bedroom, and how one night her neighbour came knocking on the door asking to climb throught the window back to her own house. Lena tells us about how her own mother went into spaces of time where she stared into space and was lost in her own thoughts, and how she wished to save her mother.

 

Chapter 7: Half and Half (Rose Hsu Jordan)

Rose tells us about how her mother used to carry a bible around. She also talks about how she fell in love with Ted, and how their parents disapproved. She talks about how over the years, Ted made all the decisions in the household until one day he decides that she needs to take half the responsibility. They fall out. Rose then goes on to tells us about how her brother died at a beach outing their family had one day, and that’s how her mother lost her faith and started believing in fate instead.

 

Chapter 8: Two Kinds (Jing-Mei Woo)

June talks about how her mother had high hopes for her from young, and how her mother tried to groom her into different kinds of prodigies but failed. Partially becuase June thought that she was absolutely normal and ordinary. June talks about how she failed at being a piano genious and all. In her life, June always disappointed her mother, but her mother always believed in her.

Feathers From A Thousand Li Away (JLC)

This section of the book is basically narrated by the mothers. Except for Jing-Mei Woo, who narrates instead of her mother. However, she recalls her mother saying a story, so it ends up being the mother telling the story anyway. The stories are all set in China, and written about things that happened when these characters were children. (Except for Jing-Mei Woo’s version, which is written at her current age.)

I enjoyed the story of the marriage and Huang Tai Tai. I don’t know but I like these types of more dramatic or, exciting story where something unhappy happens… -_-  However, I also found it interesting how each chapter or story ends with sentences which mean something, and can change the whole thought about the story. It’s like you have to read to the end to understand it all.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 7 Summary

The narrator, Rose Hsu Jordan, talks about a traumatic childhood memory in which her brother, Bing, is lost in the ocean under her watch and the guilt she feels after it even though everyone in the family is blaming it on herself. Her mother tries to find her lost son by making sacrifices to her God and when it doesn’t work she is vastly disappointed. I think that the message of this chapter is to show how a mother loves her children constantly and unconditionally and even though she knows that her son has died she writes his name under the deaths collumn in pencil in case of a miracle.

The Joy Luck Club (1-4)

Feathers From A Thousand Li Away

Chapter 1: The Joy Luck Club (Jing-Mei Woo)

We learn that Jing-Mei’s mother, Suyuan, died two months ago. Jing-Mei/June narrates this section of the book, telling us about the back ground of the Joy Luck Club- how it was formed and how it worked. She is narrating the story at the setting of a Joy Luck meeting, and we see how she thinks of her mother by looking at her mother’s friends, remembering what her mother told her about each one of them. June also narrates her mother’s Kuilin story and tells us how her mother had twin daughters she left on the road side during the war. From how June used to think of this story as a chinese fairytale, and how she described her relationship with her mother, it is obvious that she did not understand her mother much, and regrets not finding out her mtoher’s meaning and message before her mother dies. Now, the aunties in the Joy Luck Club have found her long lost sisters and she is tasked with telling her sisters about their mother, she is apprehensive. The older ladies see their own daughters in her and are worried about how their own daughters do not know them.

 

Chapter 2: Scar (An-Mei Hsu)

An-Mei begins the story of her childhood. We learn that An-Mei’s mother was disowened by her grandmother, and she grew up under the care of her grandmother in her uncle’s house. She tells us about the time her grandmother dies and her disgraced mother comes back to perform her last act of filial piety. She cuts up her flesh to cook a traditional ‘remedy’ for aged dying parents. She also tells us about a time before that when she was four, when her mother came back while they were eating, An-Mei’s grandmother and uncle got angry. In the commotion, the bowl of boiling soup tipped over and spilled all over her (An-Mei’s) face. This is how she got her scar. Here, she learnt that scars heal and memories fade. ‘The wound begins to close in on itself, to protect what is hurting so much. And once it is closed, you no longer see what is underneath, what started the pain’ basically describes An-Mei’s life as a child.

 

Chapter 3: The Red Candle (Lindo Jong)

In this chapter, Lindo tells the story of her childhood and youth. As a young girl, she was match made to the Huang family. She described how filial she was in respecting her parents decision and how she tried her best not to disgrace her family. She lived with the Huang family for a few years, working like a servant, before finally marrying Tyan-Yu. After their marriage ceremoney, the ceremonial red candle is lit at both ends. The candle has to remain lighted till the morning when the candle has blown out, indicating that the marriage would last for eternity. However in the middle of the night, Lindo blows her husband’s end of the candle out. After a few years, her husband still refused to consumate their marriage, causing Lindo to be unable to bear children for the Huang family. She was blamed for this misfortune. Later, she cooked up a scheme to make Huang tai tai send her away with money without disgracing her (Lindo’s) family. She feels like she found herself again.

 

Chapter 4: The Moon Lady (Ying-Ying St. Clair)

Here, Ying-Ying narrates the story of how she began to lose herself. It begins when she was a child visiting the Moon Lady. Ying-Ying came from a relatively well to do family and was quite spoit. As she and her family celebrated the Moon Festival on Taihu lake, she got her clothes dirtied and is left on a corner of the boat to sit alone as she is no longer dressed appropriately. She later falls into the river and is found by a fishing boat. They leave her on shore where she watches a performance the moon lady. She honestly believes that the moon lady is Chang-o, the immortal living on the moon, and is thus disilusioned when she sees the ‘moon lady’ remove her cosutume and become a man. To this day, Ying-Ying cannot remember how she was found or what she wished. In her old age, she sees her past more clearly. She now remembers what she wished for- to be found.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 6 Summary

This chapter starts with a summary that links to the problems later mentioned. Lena St Clair tells readers of the time when her mother started to decline mentally until the point when simple house tasks become difficult. After her mother’s second baby was born dead, Lena’s mother began to see signs in the house that told her that sometihng bad was gougn to happen and she became suspicious of everything. Lena recalls that at the time se would always try to explain things differently to her Caucasian father so he wouldn’t suspect a thing and how she would try to understand her mother but found it difficult. In the end, she has a dream similar to the one mentioned in the beginning with the grandfather but instead of a man and a begger it is a girl and her mother.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 5 Summary

Waverly Jong, one of the daughters, shares her story of her childhood and how she came to become a chess champion. She started playing with an old set that her brother got as a Christmas present from their church and soon began playing with the old men in the park. In this chapter, we also start to see the theme of respect towards parents when Waverly asks her mother to stop showing off her daughter. I can understand both their points of view but at the same time I think they don’t really understand each other so that is why they end up arguing. Her mother seems to be seeing a statement that she thinks Waverly made that isn’t there and is a bit of a stretch while Waverly doesn’t udnerstand that her mother is just really proud of her but doesn’t know how to show it in any other way.

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 4

Feathers from a Thousand Li away

Ying-ying St.Clair: The Moon Lady

Her first statement “we are lost.” was very striking as it contrasted with her innocent, vivacious infancy that comes up later. The part when Ying-ying found out that her attempt to meet and tell the Moon Lady her wish was shattered after her seeing that Moon Lady was actually a dressed-up man, and when she dropped into the water and was lost, temporarily hinted at shattering of child’s innocence and discovery of reality- that she is lost and is solitary. This chapter made me wonder what impact this event had upon her as an adult, and also on her daughter as well.

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 3

Feathers from a Thousand Li Away

Lindo Jong: The Red Candle

Lindo Jong’s story shows how she was betrothed to a guy even before she grew up. The Chinese culture is again revealed in this chapter: how her mother treats her like she already belongs to other family, how promise was considered very important, and how women are very submissive and naïve in the past. The recurring theme of China/Japan war came up again, showing that it affected a lot of Chinese inhabitants including women in the Joy Luck Club. Furthermore, Lindo Jong’s brave act of blowing the part of her husband’s candle, and making up a story to free herself from her husband’s family was very inspiring. It was against the stereotypical image of Asian women during those times, and also hinted at independent character of Lindo Jong.

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 2

Feathers from a Thousand Li away

An-mei Hsu: Scar

The story of the ‘mother’, An-mei Hsu, was quite different from that of Jing-mei, who’s more affected by the American culture. Firstly, the hostility that Popo showed towards An-mei’s mother was confusing: it made me wonder what caused her to even call her own daughter ‘ghost’ and forbid it. This became clear when An-mei’s mother reappeared, and Popo said she became a concubine after becoming a widow. Later on, the contrasting reaction of mother, who even dared to cut off a piece of her own meat to make Popo get getter, stood out. This shows that no matter how mother-daughter relationship is damaged by the hostility of mother (due to violation of custom, or certain actions that disgraces the ancestors), in the heart daughter always loves and respects her own mother.

Joy Luck Club-Chapter 1

Feathers from a Thousand Li away

Jing-mei Woo: The Joy Luck Club

It was quite shocking to me that the story Joy Luck Club started with one of the member’s daughter, and also the news about that member’s death. The first chapter explained the origin of Joy Luck Club, the way it works and how it changed over time. Also, there was a background of Jing Mei’s mother, Suyuan Woo; that she lived in Kweilin, started the Joy Luck Club, and has 2 more daughters other than Jing-mei. Furthermore, several themes such as the China/Japan war, difference in Chinese and American culture has been revealed as well. It was quite interesting to see the contradictory name “Joy Luck club”: it started during wartime, when everyone was suffering from famine and harsh condition, but its name is so promising and optimistic. The implication of the ‘east- where things begin’ grabbed my attention as well, which not only reminds readers of Suyuan Woo but also reveals the Chinese culture and implies the change that’s happening to Jing-mei’s life.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 2 Summary

An Mei Hsu, one of the mother’s in the book, tells her story of how her estranged mother left her and her brother to be raised by her grandmother while she went off to marry another man who already had 3 wives. Her grandmother teaches her to not mention or even think about her mother because it would be a disgrace to her family. When the grandmother, Popo, becomes ill in her old age, the estranged mother comes back to try and nurse her back to health. She tries to do this by cutting a piece of her flesh and cooking it and feeding it to her. An mei says that this is respect of a daughter to her mother so that even pain is not important.

Feathers From A Thousand Li Away

This section mainly consisted of telling the stories of the mothers. The first one was narrated by the daughter of Su Yuan Woo because her mother had died, however, the rest were narrated by the mother’s themselves. It tells of their past and it shows a great difference from the casual and not so serious atmosphere at the beginning when it was describing the joy luck club meeting. Because the first chapter was set in modern day, the atmosphere and mood was much more casual whereas the next three chapters were more intense because of the tragic stories from the mothers’ pasts. I think that each one showed a different way of living in China during the 1940’s to 1950’s and it clearly depicts their culture and the difference in their ways of thinking compared to now. The mother’s seem to be able to form this group because they can understand and emphasize with each other and their hard lives and how they had a long journey to arrive at this day into their relatively easy life in America.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 4 Summary

Ying Ying St Clair, tells the story of her childhood as the daughter of a first wife of a wealthy man. She remembers her first celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival and going to see the Moon Lady. She falls off the boat at some point and is rescued by some fisherman. She remembers this memory vividly because it was the day she claims her childhood innocence was ruined after seeing that the Moon Lady was in fact an actor that wasn’t even female. In the end, her family finds her but she claims that they may have found a different girl than she was just a few hours ago.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 3 Summary

Lindo Jong was promised as a bride to a wealthy family’s only son at the young age of 2. In this chapter, she describes how she grew up knowing that she belonged to another family because her mother constantly told her so, not to hurt her feelings but so she wouldn’t feel so sad when the time for separation came. Jong tells her story of how she went to her new family’s house at the age of 12 and when she couldn’t take it anymore, how she devised a plan and got away from the family into her new life in America.

Joy Luck Club – Chapter 1 Summary

The first chapter is narrated by June (Jing Mei Woo), who is the late Su Yuan Woo’s daughter. It starts when Jing Mei walks into one of their friend’s house for their usual Joy Luck Club meeting which she is now head of following the death of her mother. She tries to quickly learn their routines and replace her mother’s spot at the mahjong table. She remembers the many times her mother tells her of her tragic life story that becomes worse and worse with each retelling. We find out that Jing Mei thinks it is all just a story but soon finds out that it is in fact truth and that she has two half sisters lost in China. We clearly see the differences in the perspective of the mothers versus the daughters and how they live their lives.