Two Generations; Eight Stories

By: Kelly Palmer

My Favorite Parable

In The Joy Luck Club, the parable "Feathers From a Thousand Li Away" was my favorite because it was an interesting story about the power of sacrifice. The parable paves the way for the rest of the chapter because it connects to each mother-daughter pair since they all make sacrifices for one another. In the parable, the mother had moved to America to give her future daughter the best possible life, but when they were both older, the daughter "grew up speaking only English and swallowing more Coca-Cola than sorrow" (Tan 17). I enjoy this parable the most because it showed how the mother had good intentions in trying to tell her daughter about her sacrifices, but she never was able to because she never learned English.

Mother/Daughter Pair I Would Read

If I could read another mother-daughter pair in The Joy Luck Club, I would choose to read the pair of An-Mei Hsu and Rose Hsu Jordan. I think that their story is interesting because both of them have very different values. An-Mei values honor and respect while Rose chooses to fight for what she wants, rather than what is honorable. I would like to read this pair to learn more about their lives and in anticipation of lessons that they both would teach from their story.

Poignant Quote

In my opinion, the most poignant quote from Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club was "And I want to tell her this: We are lost, she and I, unseen and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others" (Tan 67). This quote relates to the entirety of the book because it shows how all of the mother-daughter pairs, in this case Ying-Ying and Lena St. Clair, have large communication barriers with each other and the people surrounding them. Since I read the St. Clair portion of the book, I enjoy this quote because it displays how both the mother and daughter are unnoticed and ignored by strangers and their loved ones.

Theme Paragraph

In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan presents the idea that communication barriers cause conflict between generations making it difficult to find their own voice. The daughters were all born in the U.S. while their mothers are Chinese immigrants who speak broken English. Because of these language barriers, the mothers and daughters continually misunderstand one another. The daughters cannot grasp what the mothers are trying to say, and the mothers don't understand the daughters. Jing-Mei Woo said, "My mother and I never really understood one another. We translated each other's meanings and I seemed to hear less than what was said, while my mother heard more" (Tan 23). Her powerful words speak to the futility of their situation. The mothers and daughters never truly try to understand one another, which causes many conflicts and unsaid feelings.