The Joy Luck Club Food Analysis

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Food imagery plays a significant role in each separate narrative of the novel, linking past and present and future, bonding families and generations, expressing community and providing a linguistic code that facilitates the retrieval of personal histories from oblivion. Food allows mothers to communicate with their daughters in a common language; food is an emotional homeland for both generations. Food in Tan’s three novels performs two basic functions: the realistic and the narrative. Through the realistic function, references to food situate the novel in a specific historical or seasonal time or in an identifiable geographical of physical location. Tan in The Hundred Secret Senses, neatly evokes an early morning market in Guilin by describing baskets of citrus fruit, dried beans, teas, chilies, food vendors frying pancakes in hot oil, live poultry in cages. In The Kitchen God’s wife, accounts of the lavish war-time…show more content…
As Jing-mei readies herself to become a member of the Joy Luck Club, she recalls that her mother had been scheduled to host the meeting that Jing-mei is about to attend. Because Lindo Jong had served red bean soup at a previous club dinner, Suyuan, in the spirit of the culinary rivalry between the club members had intended to prepare black sesame-seed soup for the club members. Although the club’s purpose is to play mah-jong and to discuss the group’s investments, the activity at the center of club meetings is eating, communal dining accompanied by storytelling and good-natured arguing. When at the end of the novel, Jing-mei finally visits the country of her mother’s birth; another symbolic meal brings her father’s family together. For their first meal together, Jing-mei, her father and his ancient aunt and her family dine on hamburgers, French fries and apple pie with ice cream. Jing-mei’s first dinner in china is American fast food, provided by room

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