An Ocean Away

By: Berkley Hays

Thematic Paragraph

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that identity is staying true to one's self no matter the circumstance. An example of this is when Lindo Jong looks in the mirror the day of the wedding. She realizes that in trying to please her mother's wishes, she has lost who she was. But in that same instant, she promises herself that she will still obey her mother, but above all else Lindo will stay true to herself no matter what. In Jing-mei Woo's story, says that when she looks in the mirror she see a "girl staring back at [her] was angry, powerful. This girl and [her] were the same. [She] had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lots of won’ts. [She] won’t let [her mother] change [her], [she] promised to [herself]. [She] won't be what [she's] not" (Tan 134). In this quote, Jing- Mei tells herself that no matter what her mother says and forces her to do, she is going to stay true to her identity. She makes a promise to herself that she will never let her mother change who she truly is.

The Twenty-Six Malignant Gates

My favorite parable is the twenty-six malignant gates because I like how it shows the relationship between the mother and the daughter. The mother just wants what's best for her daughter, even though the daughter thinks she's right. I think this represents most mother-daughter relationships because daughters just want to be free and make their own decisions even though their mothers are standing there telling them that it's the wrong one. The daughter in the realizes this when she jumps "on her bicycle, and in her hurry to get away, she falls before she even reached the corner" (Tan 87). This parable relates very well to The Joy Luck Club because in the novel the mothers have experienced many situations that their daughters haven't. Because of this, the mothers use those situations to help their daughters and to protect them.
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I chose this picture because in the parable, the girl thinks that she can protect herself, but in reality, she needs the help of her mother to shield her and guide her in life. I thought that the mother in the story was acting as a literal shield to the girl, trying to protect her and keep her from getting hurt.

The Hsu Family

I chose this family because I like the message the story was trying to get across. Both the mother and daughter learned that you have to stand up for yourself and that you can't let people walk all over you. An- Mei Hsu learned that being passive and never standing up for yourself won't get you anywhere in life, but sadly An- Mei passed on the passive introvert gene to her daughter, Rose. Rose is just as introverted as her mother, even though in the beginning of the story she is strong and says that she is going to get married to Ted whether the world likes it or not. But as the story goes on, Rose becomes more passive and lets Ted make all the decisions for the marriage. The mother and daughter in the story learned/ need to learn that you need to voice your opinion or else people will walk on you like a welcome mat.
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I chose this picture because it symbolizes what Rose and An- Mei were going through. They were letting people walk all over them and had to learn to stand up for themselves. The doormat represents what the daughter and mother were feeling when they chose to be passive in a situation rather than be strong.

"I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me" (Tan 58).

This quote stuck out to me because it was the main turning point in Lindo Jong's life. Up until this point in the story, Lindo didn't see her self worth because she had people like Huang Taitai push around and tell her that she is nothing. But in the quote, Lindo realizes that people can make her do whatever they want, but only she can think for herself. I think this quote also relates back to the rest of the book, because in many of the mother- daughter stories, the women let others think for them. For example, Rose lets her husband, Ted, make all the decisions in their marriage. Or Waverly, letting her mom dictate how her relationship with Rich goes. This quote is a lesson that should be taught to many of the women in the story. Finally, this quote relates back to real life because people can do what to you physically, but they can never hurt you mentally if you don't let them.
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I chose this picture because it illustrates how Lindo imagined her thoughts. Before she had her epiphany, she let others dictate how she acted and what she thought. She never really had a mind of her own because the circumstance she was in never allowed her to. But after she realized how strong she was, she knew that her thoughts were her thoughts and no one could take them away from her again. The locks represent the fact that her thoughts were now under lock and key, and she was the only one with the key.