Chinese Immigrants In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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For centuries, millions of people have immigrated to the United States of America. America is a colonized country, therefore, unless one is a Native American, all people in America have had ancestors who have immigrated to America in the past few centuries. Most of these immigrants faced challenges on their road to the better life that they thought America would provide for them. The Germans, Irish, Japanese and the Chinese immigrants have all faced challenges in America. Some questions arose about whether one could keep the culture of their past country and still given American opportunities. In the book, “The Joy Luck Club,” by Amy Tan, Lindo Jong, one of the Chinese mothers who immigrated said that it was impossible to have American…show more content…
She had always thought of herself as an American when she thought of herself as “the American kid on the block,” (Source F) until she went to school and she felt outcast and that “Whites think they own the world and the rest of us are just here for them.” (Source F) They felt as though they did not fit into American society. For Kibra, the Americans that she noticed in her school were “VERY white, very wealthy. These kids owned sports cars and went to Rio for the weekend.” (Source F) The truth is that the same way that whites may have made stereotypes about Kibra, she made stereotypes about whites. Whites only make up two-thirds of America. Likewise, roughly 44 million people live below the poverty line. Therefore, Americans are not all white and all rich. The cultures of China and America differed as well. Chinese immigrants coming to America thought that the ford “fun,” was a bad word that just meant “wasting time and money,” (Source A) They thought that the freedom of America was “go wild and bring shame on your family.” (Source A) American culture was too relaxed for them. Americans had fun, doing activities besides work and socializing with one’s friends. In the…show more content…
In her essay “Midlife Confidential” Amy Tan writes that a “bad f-word was ‘freedom’ as in ‘So you want American freedom to go wild and bring shame on your family?’” (Source A) This quote is using the unfortunate side of freedom to make a case for the whole of freedom. “American freedom” is not to go wild and to bring shame upon your family as Tan states. American freedom gives one the opportunity to make the right decisions as well. In any free society, there will always be people who take advantage of the system and do things that are “shameful” but if one does not have freedom themselves, who has your freedom? If you are not the person controlling your destiny, who is? and who gave them the freedom to make decisions for you? This is the guiding principle of America. If Amy Tan, and the Chinese immigrant community as a whole, did not want “American freedom,” then why did she immigrate? In contrast, Maya Lin, understood what it was to be an American and how to have a true balance between Chinese and American. Her parents fled China just before the communist revolution and settled in Athens, Ohio. In just one generation, Maya Lin was designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. She attributes her success to not trying to “fit in” (Source G) She writes: “I probably spent the first 20 years of my
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