Jing Mei Woo In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

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In the Joy Luck Club, Jing Mei Woo attempts to find a balance between Chinese and American cultures after their initial rejection of the former, showing the difficulty and complexity of forming an identity as an individual coming from two backgrounds.
Jing Mei Woo feels that her mother, Suyuan, is controlling every aspect of her life; her childhood is full of resentment for her mother, who believed that “you could be anything you wanted to be in America” (Tan 143), the mantra that her mother lived by to make Jing Mei a child prodigy. Because of her lack of autonomy, Jing Mei wants to break from the grasp that her mother has on her, in hopes that her principles, beliefs, and most importantly, her independence, will define who she is. Suyuan
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In this case, Jing Mei submits to her mother unwillingly until the argument she has with her mother two days after the talent show, which Jing Mei then falls into a limbo and “asserted… my right to fall short of expectations… I did not believe anything I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me” (153, 154). Even though Jing Mei is finally released from her mother’s restricting grasp and allowed to be whoever she finally wants, she feels inadequate and the disappointment her mother felt in her. Quitting piano ended her misery and despair, and also liberated her, but she effectively alienates herself and severs the ties she has with her mother. The negligible amount of conversation Jing Mei and her mother had is replaced with tension and silence, which prevents her from asking Suyuan about her heritage and through that, knowing her identity. Because Jing Mei has a broken relationship with her mom, she feels that she cannot replace her mother at the Joy Luck Club meeting: “How can I be my mother at Joy Luck?” (15). She questions her own ability and is weighed down by the responsibility of taking her mother’s position, which reflect the little connection Jing Mei and her mother have. Even when they had conversation, Jing Mei says that “I seemed to hear less than what was said, while my
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