Error In Translation In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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Error in Translation When people of different cultures and languages come together, certain aspects of one’s actions may be misconstrued simply due to the barriers that cultures provide. In Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club,” this idea is delved into further with four families consisting of Chinese mothers and American daughters as the focal point. Throughout the novel, the daughters misinterpret the actions and words of their mothers simply because they were raised very differently in terms of culture and language, among others.
The first story told is about Jing-Mei Woo and her memories of her departed mother, Suyuan. In them, Jing-Mei (often referred to as June) talks about the issues she faced with her mother, saying “I can never remember things I didn’t understand in the first place.” (Tan 19) The most common problem addressed was her perception of her mother’s persistence on her success in a field, which to her seemed very pushy. She did not realize what Suyuan …show more content…

The concept is similar, with the mother pushing the daughter very hard to succeed, with the latter demonizing the former as a result. Lindo left her life as an arranged wife to a wealthy (albeit not the nicest) family on her move to America, and like Suyuan she only wanted the best for her child. However, Waverly’s talents were realized early in comparison to June, so rather than have a story of a mother pressuring her child to try new things we have one of a mother pushing her daughter towards what she excels at (in Waverly’s case, this would be chess.) Waverly took this very differently from the intended message, and saw Lindo living vicariously through her, showing off her daughter to passerby like a trophy that she had worked on. Lindo did not know anything about chess, so while Waverly saw this as an insult to her talents and more as bragging rights for her mother, in actuality Lindo was just very excited and proud of her

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