Joy Luck Club Literary Analysis

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Understanding and knowledge of one another is essential yet frustrating when a barrier exists. In Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club, she portrays the story of four mothers and daughters using their points of view. One mother-daughter pair is Jing-mei and Suyuan Woo. When Suyuan dies, Jing-mei has to try and fill her place in the Joy Luck Club that includes Suyuan’s friends: An-mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-ying St. Clair. Amy Tan uses characterization to point out the character’s pride, lack of understanding, and resentment in order to illuminate the heritage lost between Jing-mei and Suyuan Woo. Throughout the book Jing-mei does not understand her mother’s intentions. This leads to animosity. For example, when Suyuan wants Jing-mei to be a…show more content…
Particularly when Jing-mei asks Suyuan what the difference is between Jewish and Chinese Mahjong. Suyuan answers, half in English and half in Chinese. Jing-mei is used to this way of explaining, but is still troubled by it, “These kind of explanations made me feel my mother and I spoke two different languages, which we did. I talked to her in English, she answered back in Chinese” (33-34). Jing-mei and Suyuan do not have the finest insight of each other because neither is willing to meet in the middle. They prefer to speak their own language. Jing-mei comprehends Chinese and Suyuan understands English, but neither will speak the other’s language. They are letting pride block how they truly wish to represent themselves. Jing-mei believes that she does not hear all that her mother wants her to while her mother reads more into what Jing-mei is trying to say. This is due to a separation in culture. Speaking two different languages lends to a loss in translation. Amy Tan displays throughout Joy Luck Club that pridefulness, indignation, and lack of understanding can keep people from being able to communicate. She demonstrates this through characterization of Jing-mei and Suyuan in the text. This causes Jing-mei to pay the price of still wanting to have more knowledge of what her mother thinks and intends after her

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