Chinese and American Cultures In the Joy Luck Club
American and Chinese cultural differences are brought to perspective in Amy Tan’s novel, The Joy Luck Club. The book follows the lives of eight women, 4 American born daughters and 4 Chinese immigrant mothers as their lives intertwine with each other in America. As the daughters clash with the mothers, they are faced to embrace the American culture, to comply with their mothers and accept the mothers deep Chinese cultural heritage or to combine of the two cultures together.
The Chinese follow strict guidelines towards reputation making it a strict priority in the society while humiliation is to be avoided at all costs. “I once sacrificed my life to keep my parents’ promise” (Tan 42). The character Lindo Jong was indictating towards her arranged marriage back in China. She wanted to escape the marriage but was unable to without humiliating her parents in the process. American’s however possess reputations that come and go overnight and humiliation can can go away over a period of time.
When the character, Rose informs her mother An-Mie that her husband and her are getting a divorce, An Mie immediately disagrees with her daughter informing her to fix it. “I was raised the Chinese way: I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other peoples misery, to eat my own bitterness. And even though I tought my daughter the opposite, still she came out the same way!” (241). An-mei learns how to speak up and assert herself, but Rose becomes more and more passive in the novel. An-Mie then fears that she may of handed down a certain compliancy trait in a negative a way to Rose.
In the JLC, the character June is forced by her mother to do various tasks such as piano lessons, or completing various trivia question in attempt to become the next American prodigy. June then starts to purposely fail and not to try, “I might have become a good pianist at that young age. But I was so determined not to try”...
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