American Chance, Chinese Nature

Elise Cathcart

My favorite parable was "The Twenty-six Malignant Gates". This parable reflects how the communication between a mother and daughter is not always strong. The mother does not translate the dangers in the story and the daughter does not trust her enough to just listen to her. This parable beautifully parallels the daughters in The Joy Luck Club. Each mother-daughter pair has some sort of communication difficulty which creates conflict between each other as it did in the parable.
An alternate mother-daughter pair that I would choose to read would be Ying-ying and Lena St. Clair. This mother-daughter pair seemed like the had both lived interesting lives, and had a dynamic between each other that was unlike the other mother-daughter pairs. Their relationship, and story out of the four pairs seemed like it would be the most entertaining to read.
A quote from The Joy Luck Club which appealed to me was, "I immediately shivered with fear. I thought a knife would appear and cut me down dead. Or the sky would open up and blow me away. But nothing happened" (Tan 61). This quote shows how much Lindo Jong hated being forced into an arranged marriage, and would do anything to get out of it. Her blowing out the candle was significant in the fact that is was a promise to herself that she would someday get out of the marriage. She blows out the candle without knowing what was going to happen, but it was almost as though it was a boost that she needed to get through the hardships of her marriage.
In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that familial connection is important to a person's identity. Lindo and Waverly Jong tend to not get along with each other, as they came from two different places. They both understand this, and see that their faces have "the same happiness, the same sadness, thee same good fortune, the same faults" (Tan 256). Lindo and Waverly are able to connect because of how similar they look alike. They have both helped to shape each others identities. Waverly was given "American circumstance and Chinese character" from her mother, and Lindo was given hope by Waverly. By making the connection that they are alike it allowed Lindo and Waverly to shape the other.